Vän Robotics Receives SC Launch, Inc. Investment

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

SCRA announces a $200,000 SC Launch, Inc. investment in Vän Robotics. The Columbia-based company was accepted into SCRA’s entrepreneurial program, SC Launch, in 2017.

Vän Robotics is revolutionizing student learning by combining artificial intelligence and proven teaching techniques into desktop-sized robots that delight and educate kids. The company’s initial robot, ABii, supports teachers in the classroom and can also be used to facilitate learning at home. ABii is the first artificial intelligence tutor. It was created by Laura Boccanfuso, Ph.D., based on ten years of research at University of South Carolina and Yale University, and her passion for leveling the academic playing field for all students.

Laura Boccanfuso, Vän Robotics' Founder and CEO, says the company will use the additional funding to build 700 robots for a newly formed partnership with the Department of Education, which will bring Abii to classrooms across the state.

SCRA Investment Manager Lee Macllwinen added, "From our initial grant funding in 2017 leading to an investment this year, we have witnessed Vän Robotics scale at an impressive rate. There are numerous applications for their technologies, and they haven't scratched the surface of what can be accomplished."

SCRA typically sees companies through four developmental stages: Learn, Launch, Scale and Grow. With the additional investment, Vän Robotics firmly enters the growth stage of the process. In addition to increasing production of ABii, they will create new high-paying job opportunities that fuel the economy and attract top-level talent to South Carolina.