Vecna and VGo Are Now One: An Important Robotics Acquisition

Some consolidation in the New England robotics market today. Health IT and robotics company Vecna Technologies has acquired VGo Communications, a Nashua, NH-based maker of telepresence robots, for an undisclosed sum.

These are two of the more enduring robotics companies in the area. Vecna, which got started in the late ’90s, is known for its mobile logistics robots that can move materials and equipment around in hospitals and warehouses. The company also developed a military robot designed to rescue wounded soldiers on the battlefield.

More recently, Vecna, which has offices in Cambridge, MA, and Greenbelt, MD, has been involved in efforts to build the local robotics cluster and set up an incubator.

VGo was co-founded in 2007 by iRobot veterans Tom Ryden and Grinnell More and raised about $10 million in funding, according to CrunchBase.
The company’s telepresence robots are used in healthcare, education, and other settings.

This is a very competitive emerging market. VGo was involved in a lawsuit brought by InTouch Health in 2011, which alleged that VGo infringed on three patents for remotely controlled robots. VGo was cleared in 2012, and a federal court upheld the verdict last year. (InTouch Health worked with iRobot to develop the RP-VITA healthcare robot.)

Daniel Theobald (pictured), Vecna’s co-founder and CTO, didn’t give specifics on how VGo’s products will be integrated in the merged company, but he said in a statement that “customers from both companies will benefit.” He added that Vecna and VGo have been partners for years.

VGo’s chief executive Peter Vicars said he’s “extremely pleased about the expansion of the product line and the tremendous opportunities that the merged company is poised to capture.” VGo added in a statement that “we look forward to continuing to serve our customers in healthcare, education and business.”

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and Editor of Xconomy Boston. E-mail him at gthuang [at] xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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