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Dallas-based robotic lawn mower company Robin Autopilot has been acquired by an Ohio-based holdings group.
The company will also move its headquarters from Dallas to Cleveland, where buyer Fahey Group is based. Terms weren't disclosed.
Robin has more than 1,000 customers using its robotic mowing technology, with machines in the United States under its franchised service and 15 locations in 12 states.
Fahey Group founder Logan Fahey will become the CEO of Robin. Its founders, Justin Crandall and Bart Lomont, will remain with the company as advisers.
The move also puts Robin closer to its manufacturer, MTD Products Inc., in suburban Cleveland.
Robin sells subscription-based services to customers starting at $19 a week for the mowing service, which includes lawn care, maintenance, repairs and theft protection. The machines, which look similar to Roombas, are programmed to operate independently to trim a lawn daily, guided by an invisible wire system.
The startup was founded in 2015, initially with the idea to help people find someone to cut their lawn, before pivoting into robotic mowers. When compared with traditional mowers, robotic mowers keep grass healthier, reduce pollution and offer cost savings for providers, according to a statement from Fahey Group.
While robotic mowers have yet to take off widely in the United States, the products are already widespread in Europe, where about 1 in 7 mowers are robotic, Fahey said. Cleveland has the highest number of robot mowers in the United States, with 150.
Fredonia, a Cleveland-based industrial research company, predicted the market potential for lawn care and garden robotics could reach $95 million by 2022. Big-name companies are already eyeing the market. Honda Motor and Husqvarna now sell robot mowers. John Deere has a European product and iRobot plans to launch its own in Germany.
Fahey said industry signs point to the lawn care market flipping in favor of robotics within the next one to three years.
“We’re positioning Robin to be the global leader in robotics deployment,” Fahey said.
The acquisition is a natural fit for Fahey Group, which focuses on the lawn sector. The company already owns mowing technology company Landmark Automation, and two-location supply store Landmark Lawn & Garden Supply.
Fahey said the company's focus is split between “traditional” lawn care products and what it sees as the future of lawn care, companies like Robin. He’s been watching the startup since its founding.
Under the Landmark Automation name, Fahey Group ws an early franchise owner for Robin in Cleveland and Tampa, Fla. Fahley said the company franchised with Robin as a
“proof of concept.”
In the next year, Fahey said, Robin will focus on its current franchises and growing them to scale.
In a statement, Crandall said Robin is fortunate to have an investor with Fahey’s enthusiasm.
“His long-term vision for the company matches our belief in the exciting future of robotic mowing," Crandall said.