Forcen closes $8.35 million in funding to develop its touch-tech for robots

The round was co-led by Brightspark Ventures and BDC Capital’s Deep Tech Venture Fund.

Toronto-based robotics sensing company Forcen has closed an $8.35 million CAD funding round as it looks to scale up its prototype production facilities.

The all-equity round closed in February and was co-led by Brightspark Ventures and BDC Capital’s Deep Tech Venture Fund with participation from Garage Capital, MaRS IAF, and returning investors including EmergingVC. Founder and CEO Robert Brooks told BetaKit that undisclosed existing venture capital and angel investors, as well as new angel investors, also participated in the round.

Forcen said it will use the investment to support more customers and continue developing its force sensing technology for robots. With this round, which Brooks classified as “pre-A,” the startup has raised $12.95 million CAD in equity funding to date.  

“Robotic vision has undergone a revolution over the past decade and is continuing to accelerate with new AI approaches,” Brightspark Ventures co-founder and partner Mark Skapinker said in a statement. “We expect robotic manipulation to quickly follow in the footsteps of robotic vision and Forcen’s technology to be a key enabler of ubiquitous human-level robotic manipulation.”

Skapinker and Robert Simon from BDC will be joining Forcen’s board, while Zeeshan Ali from MaRS IAF will join as a board observer, Brooks told BetaKit.  

Forcen was founded in 2015 by Brooks, who won the Canadian national James Dyson Award in 2017 for co-developing Forcen’s core offering, ForceFilm. ForceFilm is described as a thin, force-sensing film that can be laminated onto a machine to give it a sense of touch. 

RELATED: Forcen raises $500,000 to give machines human-level sense of touch

Forcen says increasingly common robotics applications are challenging for conventional sensing tech due to the risk of repeated impact, overload, temperature changes, and size constraints. Forcen claims its sensing systems are designed for complex applications through its three proprietary offerings: ForceFilm, DedicatedOverload, its dedicated overload protection structure, and Synap, its on-board edge intelligence

In 2019, Forcen raised $500,000 in seed funding to prepare for large scale production and hire additional technical staff. At that time, Forcen went through the Biomedical Zone incubator at Ryerson University (now Toronto Metropolitan University), which aims to help early-stage health technology companies validate their need-based solutions directly in the hospital setting. Forcen says its technology is already moving into production with customers in surgical, logistics, and space robotics. 

Forcen said it is looking to launch a customizable offering and off-the-shelf development kits later this year to help accelerate development for its current customers and allow more robotics companies to start working with its tech. The customizable offering will allow customers to select the size, sensitivity, connector type, and other sensor calibrations, replacing its traditional catalogue. 

UPDATE (04/24/2024): The article has been updated with information shared by Forcen CEO Robert Brooks.

Feature image courtesy Possessed Photography via Unsplash.

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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