Cambridge, MA-based Heartland Robotics, the manufacturing robotics company founded by Australian Rod Brooks, is moving into a larger office space in Boston’s Fort Point district next week.
The company is nearly tripling its real estate footprint, moving from a 7,000 square-foot office space in Cambridge’s Central Square to 18,400 square feet of raw loft in a former factory. CEO Scott Eckert said the company is hiring fast and, nearing 30 employees, needs more space. The move will take place Monday.
Heartland needed 15,000 to 20,000 square feet to accommodate its growth, and just couldn’t find it in Cambridge, according to Brooks. Heartland is working on a new kind of robot designed to work hand-in-hand with humans in a manufacturing setting. The company has been secretive about its technology still in the pipeline, but their efforts look similar to products developed through robotics projects that Brooks directed at MIT, dubbed Obrero and Edsinger Domo, he said. The new facility will accommodate all engineering, product development, operations and marketing personnel, Eckert said – but not manufacturing. Heartland is still in a product development phase and is pre-revenue.
Heartland raised $20 million in a Series B round of venture capital, led by new investors Highland Capital Partners. Highland joined A-round investors Charles River Ventures and Bezos Expeditions, the venture investing vehicle of Amazon.com Inc. co-founder Jeff Bezos.
The company chose Fort Point because of tech companies and night life burgeoning there. “The workforce that we have and that we’re trying to attract is an engineering- and tech-oriented and sophisticated sort of person that wants to be in and work in a dynamic part of the city,” Eckert said.
The new facility is in Tower Point, on Wormwood Street, off A Street behind Summer. Eckert said it was one of the first electrified factories, and that was appealing too. “If you think about what we’re trying to do, it’s something in the future of manufacturing,” he said. “The building we’re in was the future of manufacturing 100 years ago.” He opined. It is located in a neighbourhood of what Mayor Thomas M. Menino has designated the city’s “Innovation District.”