Figure AI, a company specialising in the development of humanoid robots, is in advanced discussions to secure up to $500m in a funding round, reported Bloomberg, citing sources.  

This round could be led by tech giants Microsoft and OpenAI.  

Figure AI is currently seeking additional investors to join the funding round, the sources said. 

In the proposed deal, Microsoft is expected to contribute approximately $95m, while OpenAI is set to invest around $5m. 

Should the funding round succeed, Figure AI could reach a pre-money valuation of $1.9bn.  

This valuation metric excludes the new capital that would be injected through the funding.  

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Depending on the final amount raised, the post-money valuation could propel the startup well into unicorn status, with a valuation exceeding $2bn. 

However, the sources noted that the funding round is not yet finalised.  

Investment figures are subject to change, and there remains a possibility that the negotiations could fall apart.  

Representatives from Microsoft, OpenAI, and Figure AI refused to comment on the news, stated the media outlet.  

Figure AI is working on a project named Figure 01, an artificial intelligence-driven robot designed to emulate human appearance and movement.  

The company envisions that this technology will be deployed in hazardous work environments, potentially replacing human workers in high-risk roles, and addressing workforce shortages. 

In a previous funding round in May 2023, Figure AI raised $70m.  

This round was led by Parkway Venture Capital and saw contributions from investors such as Aliya Capital, Bold Capital Partners, Brett Adcock, FJ Labs, Tamarack Global, and KUKA Robotics CEO Till Reuter. 

At the time, Figure AI founder and CEO Brett Adcock said: “Figure’s near-term goal is to deploy humanoids into the workforce, and we believe that the structured, repetitive, and often dangerous tasks in warehouses are a great potential first application.” 

The AI robotics sector has been witnessing a flurry of activity, with significant investments being made.  

Earlier in the month, 1X Technologies, an OpenAI-backed Norwegian AI robotics firm, secured $100m in funding.  

Meanwhile, Sanctuary AI, based in Vancouver, is developing its own humanoid robot named Phoenix, and Tesla, under the leadership of Elon Musk, is working on a robot dubbed Optimus.