InBC Invests in Robotics Company Sanctuary AI 

July 3, 2024

InBC has invested in Vancouver-based Sanctuary AI, creator of intelligent humanoid general-purpose robots helping us to work more safely, efficiently and sustainably. 

Sanctuary AI’s PhoenixTM  is the world’s first humanoid general-purpose robot powered by CarbonTM, a unique artificial intelligence (AI) control system giving the robot human-like intelligence and enabling it to perform a wide variety of tasks. Carbon AI mimics the subsystems found in the human brain, giving Phoenix an advanced human-like range of motion, visual perception and tactile sensing, including industry-leading hands with fine dexterity.

“Intelligent embodied systems or general-purpose robots will play an important role in provincial and national productivity. We believe that Canada has an opportunity to be a world leader in this space. It is great to work with organizations like BDC and InBC who understand and share this vision.”  

– Olivia Norton, Co-founder, CTO & CPO, Sanctuary AI

Trained and remotely piloted or supervised by humans, Sanctuary’s robots are designed to work alongside people. In addition to addressing labour shortages, they are taking on tasks that are unpleasant or dangerous for humans, enabling work to be completed from anywhere and helping teams to work more safely, efficiently and sustainably. The technology also has potential to create new jobs beyond the limits of human physiology, as well as provide opportunities to those less capable of physical work.  

Sanctuary AI’s Co-founder, Chief Technology and Product Officer, Olivia Norton with the Phoenix TM robot 
Sanctuary AI’s Co-founder, Chief Technology and Product Officer, Olivia Norton with the Phoenix TM robot 

Industries have begun using the technology to improve operations and employee satisfaction. Last year, Sanctuary carried out two pilots in Canadian Tire owned retail stores in B.C.; the first of their kind in a commercial setting, the pilots were designed to alleviate monotonous tasks and free employees up for more valuable work such as customer service. This year, Canadian automotive supply company Magna will begin piloting the robots in its manufacturing facilities. Microsoft is also collaborating with Sanctuary AI on AI research and development.   

InBC invested in Sanctuary AI alongside other investors including lead investor BDC’s Thrive Venture Fund. With this financing, Sanctuary AI will continue advancing its commercial scale, research and development, and adding to its team in Vancouver including positions in AI, robotics, science, engineering, design and operations. 

In addition to the potential for financial returns, this investment aligns with InBC’s impact objective to innovate for the future and is supporting job growth and anchoring intellectual property (IP) in B.C.  

See InBC’s portfolio


Get to know Sanctuary AI at Startupfest, Montreal, July 10-12 

At this year’s Startupfest, InBC’s Chief Investment Officer Leah Nguyen will be interviewing Sanctuary AI’s Co-Founder, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Product Officer Olivia Norton for BDC’s Women in Tech Bootcamp. Join us for an engaging discussion as Olivia shares her journey as a co-founder and pioneer of humanoid robots, how Sanctuary AI is solving problems and what she sees as the future of robotics and AI.  

Get your ticket