A well-known VC has invested tens of millions in his sole investment: 3 years specializing in window

2021-03-16

Reporter | Classical

Edit|Wu Jinna

Window cleaning robots, sweeping robots, and floor scrubbers have become the "three-piece set of new year goods" that young people are keen on during the Spring Festival this year. Compared with cleaning the floor, wiping the outer glass is a big problem when cleaning at home. It is dangerous to wipe it by yourself, even with the help of tools, it is difficult to take care of the corners.

Song Hongchao, who once worked for a vacuum cleaner brand (Formart), began to think about whether he could make a window cleaning robot to free workers from this high-risk work. In 2017, he founded "Hutt Wisdom" to develop window cleaning robots. He has three requirements for the product: it can be stabilized on the window without falling off, wiped cleanly, and the body is lighter.

In order to achieve these three points, Song Hongchao's research and development road has gone two years. In order for the robot to maintain stability on the window, it must be able to adapt to complex temperature and humidity changes, and friction increase and decrease, which requires algorithms to learn a lot of data to run through. "Engineers are in a 7*24 state, optimizing algorithms day and night."

At present, Hutt Wisdom has launched three window cleaning robots, which can adjust the adsorption force according to environmental changes, and the maximum adsorption force can reach 3800pa. The product can be wiped with a wet cloth or automatic water spray, and it can wipe 1 square meter of glass in 2 minutes at the fastest. The thickness of the robot is 7.6cm-8.5cm, which is about 25%-30% thinner than similar competitors.

Song Hongchao revealed that Hutt Wisdom’s revenue in 2020 will reach tens of millions, of which 70% will come from overseas markets. Recently, Hutt Wisdom received tens of millions of yuan in Pre-A round of financing, which was exclusively invested by the Huai Ze Zhong Zhao Angel Fund of Qianhai Fund of Funds, and Transyue Capital served as the exclusive financial adviser.

Note: Song Hongchao promises that the data in the article is correct and is responsible for the authenticity of the content. The pencil track is used for objective and true recording, and the fast recording sound has been backed up.

Let robots do high-risk labor

Before founding Hutt Wisdom, Song Hongchao served as the co-founder of the sweeping robot brand "Fomat". In 2017, he left Formart and established "Hutt Wisdom". At that time, he considered several entrepreneurial directions: sweeping robots, window cleaning robots, industrial robots...Finally, he chose window cleaning robots.

In his view, window cleaning robots are a "hidden market demand." On the one hand, wiping windows is a rigid need for household cleaning; on the other hand, wiping exterior glass is a job with a high risk factor. Therefore, Song Hongchao wants to make a robot product to replace humans to do such high-risk cleaning tasks.

At that time, there were already some window cleaning robot products on the market, but there were still some inconveniences to use.

First, the product is not smart enough. At that time, the window cleaning robots on the market adopted the "single frequency mode", which did not adjust the adsorption force according to the temperature, humidity and the smoothness of the glass surface, and the robot might fall when walking.

Secondly, the robot can only be wiped with a dry cloth, and cannot be wet wiped, and the cleaning effect is not satisfactory.

In addition, most robots have a thick body, and if windows are installed in the user’s home, normal operations may not be possible.

Aiming at the pain points of traditional window cleaning robots, Song Hongchao wants to make the robot more intelligent, realize wet cleaning, and make the body thinner. After clarifying the goal, he and the team embarked on a two-year research and development road.

More powerful algorithm

It is not easy to break through the "single frequency mode" of existing products.

Song Hongchao introduced that window cleaning robots have different requirements for adsorption capacity when placed in different environments. "The daily humidity in Shenzhen is 80%, and Xinjiang may not even have 10%. If you debug the machine in Shenzhen, you will not be able to use it in Xinjiang."

Not only the humidity, but also changes in temperature will affect the work of the window cleaning robot. He gave an example. If a machine is debugged indoors in Harbin in winter and placed outside at -40°C, problems will occur during operation.

In order to cope with complex environmental changes and realize the "frequency conversion mode", the window cleaning robot needs a powerful algorithm to drive. To this end, Song Hongchao built two R&D laboratories. One is the physics laboratory, which simulates various temperature and humidity conditions to allow the robot to adapt to a more complex working environment; the other is the algorithm laboratory, which controls the stability of the robot's motion through algorithms.

"When the robot is slipping, it cannot determine whether it is caused by temperature changes or humidity changes, but the algorithm can tell it whether to increase the motor speed or increase the suction. This can realize that no matter what environment it is working in, it will not Will fall from the window." Song Hongchao explained.

The algorithm must not only be accurate, but also fast, especially when the robot is walking faster on the glass surface. However, the robot's walking speed and safety are contradictory points. The walking speed is faster, the cleaning efficiency is higher, and the possibility of the robot falling is also increased.

"During walking, the robot will perceive the change in friction on the window surface. We have to ensure that the algorithm is faster than the robot's perceiving speed, so as to ensure that the robot is safe." This is the focus of Song Hongchao and his team.

Breaking through the bottleneck of the algorithm, but also to allow the robot to achieve wet wipe. Motors are afraid of water and humidity, and Hutt's intelligent team has done a lot of work on waterproofing. They will simulate the most extreme humidity conditions to ensure that the robot can also operate in such an environment.

At that time, the engineers of Song Hongchao's team were on standby "7*24 hours", optimizing the product day and night. Even if a little breakthrough is made, the team will cheer for joy. Song Hongchao spent two years with the team on such a day.

After finally polishing the product, it encountered twists and turns in the supply chain. In order to make the products have better quality, Song Hongchao set his sights on the leading domestic consumer electronic product suppliers. "They are all supplied for Xiaomi, Huawei, and Dyson, and the output is stable, and the quality of the motor is good." But facing the top suppliers, new brands like Hutt Wisdom don't have much say.

The communication of product proofing is very laborious. Song Hongchao introduced that a mature brand wants to make proofs, the cost of the motor is only 40 yuan, and the cycle is generally 7-14 days. When it was Hutt's turn, the motor cost became 200 yuan, and the cycle was extended to 60-90 days. It will be difficult to cooperate with these suppliers in the early stage, but when the order quantity is ready, the cost can be reduced.

Although the process was difficult, Song Hongchao insisted on cooperating with the head supplier. "The top suppliers have guarantees for product stability and delivery cycle, and they will be very comfortable to cooperate."

Global Market

In June 2019, Hutt Wisdom launched the first product-DDC55 twisted window cleaner. Compared with products of the same type, DDC55 twist window cleaner has multiple insurances, which greatly reduces the possibility of falling during operation. This robot realizes the "frequency conversion mode", which can adjust the adsorption force according to environmental changes, and the maximum adsorption force can reach 3800pa. In addition, the robot also has a built-in battery, even if it encounters an unexpected power failure, it can stay still on the window for 30 minutes.

In terms of functionality, DDC55 twist wiper window cleaner realizes wet wipe. Through the suction cups on the left and right ends, the robot can simulate people's actions when wiping the glass, and wipe the surface of the window in a circular motion. In terms of the body, the thickness of the DDC55 twist window cleaner is 8.5cm, which is 26% thinner than similar products.

Since then, Hutt Wisdom has successively launched two square robots-W55 square window cleaner and W66 square water spray window cleaner. Compared with the first-generation product, the square window cleaner has higher cleaning efficiency, and it only takes 120 seconds to wipe one square meter of glass. There are also iterations in functionality. The W66 square water spray window cleaner has a built-in 150ml water tank, which can adjust the amount of water sprayed according to the degree of dirt on the window surface to achieve more efficient cleaning.

The goal of Hutt Wisdom is the global market. Song Hongchao revealed that 70% of Hutt Wisdom's revenue comes from overseas, and has now entered e-commerce channels such as Amazon, South Korea's Rakuten, and Lazada. In terms of domestic channel laying, products have entered Tmall and Jingdong, and the offline end has entered shopping centers such as Beijing SKP, CapitaLand Mall, and MixC. The unit price of Hutt Wisdom is about 1600 yuan per customer. In 2020, the company's revenue will reach tens of millions.

The report of Zhongtai Securities shows that the penetration rate of sweeping robots in my country is only 4%, while the penetration rate in the United States has reached 16%. The penetration rate of window cleaning robots is lower than that of sweeping robots. However, with the promotion of the "lazy economy" and the iteration of intelligent technology, robots in the home cleaning scene still have more room for growth in the future.

Recently, Hutt Wisdom received tens of millions of yuan in Pre-A round of financing, which was exclusively invested by the Huai Ze Zhong Zhao Angel Fund of Qianhai Fund of Funds, and Transyue Capital served as the exclusive financial adviser. Song Hongchao said that the company is currently developing window cleaning robots that can be used "out of the box", and will strengthen product iteration speed and brand building in the future.

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