Giant robot startup MegaBots Inc. just raised $2.4 million in seed funding to make the glorious spectacle of giant robot fighting to the death into reality. Indeed, they want to make it into an actual league sport.
According to founders Gui Cavalcanti, Matt Oehrlein, and Brinkley Warren, the goal of the startup is to bring together robot pilots and teams from around the world, and then hosting epic live-action sporting events à la Formula 1 or UFC.
For this, they partnered with law firm Latham Watkins to help set up and roll out the league internationally, taking an approach similar to the Olympics. Under the Latham Watkins banner is one of their Partners, Christopher D. Brearton, who represents the International Olympic Committee, and has helped organized leagues and governing bodies in sports including the NBA, MLB, NFL and others.
And it seems that the world is ready for this newest sport.
In 2015, something amazing happened. After the Megabots team unveiled their MkII giant robot in Maker Faire 2015, they challenged the only other known human-piloted giant robot in existence, Suidobashi Heavy Industries‘ Kuratas robot, in a duel to the death. Suidobashi CEO Kogoro Kurata’s response? “Bring it on.”
Megabots then started looking for funds to upgrade its robot, starting with a Kickstarter campaign that generated $550,000 for the company. Live appearances and selling of merchandise. like shirts, generated around $1 million.
Megabots Inc. will be fielding a modified version of the MkII robot that they unveiled last year. The original MkII MegaBot is a 4.5 meter (15-foot) tall, 5500 kg (12,000lb) robot capable of hurling 3lb projectiles at speeds over 130 MPH.
Meanwhile, the Kuratas is a 4 meter (13-foot), 4500 kg (10,000 lb) machine, with 6,000 round-per-minute BB gatling guns (that activate when the pilot smiles), a water bottle/fireworks launcher, and a powered humanoid hand called the “iron crow.”
The two bots will be facing off at a date, time, and place Megabots is yet to determine. At Suidobashi’s insistence, Megabots will be setting up the event.