Saturday, November 19, 2005

Hospital Robot Brings in the Cash

Investors line up to aid hospital robot firm
Robinson-based Aethon lands $11 million from investors
By Corilyn Shropshire, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It may be tough going for some technology firms braving today's difficult investing climate, but Aethon Inc. Chief Executive Officer Aldo Zini has been turning away investors.

His Robinson-based robotics company landed $11 million this week from venture capital firms led by Palo Alto, Calif.-based Trident Capital and Downtown-based Draper Triangle Ventures to boost its national sales team and fuel research and development.

But Mr. Zini also rejected other potential investors offering even more funds. "I could've raised more but didn't need to," he said, explaining that he did not want to dilute the holdings of investors who have backed the company since its start in 2001.

What is attracting investors is Aethon's Tug robot, a suitcase-sized machine saddled with a cart on top that traverses hospitals delivering meals, medicines and supplies to patients and doctors. The robot helps save hospitals time and money and is promising to do even more.

With the latest infusion of capital, Mr. Zini will try to persuade hospitals in several major metropolitan areas, including the major health centers of Dallas and Atlanta, of Tug's utility.

To do that, Aethon will hire up to 14 more salespeople by early next year, Mr. Zini said, and plans to boost its overall staff to 100 by 2007. "A lot of that will be here in Pittsburgh," he added.

Investors line up to aid hospital robot firm

Hospital Helper Sales Grow



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