Oakland, Calif. startup MegaBots Inc. has raised $2.4 million in seed funding to bring the robot-fighting stuff of manga and anime to a venue near you.

According to MegaBots cofounders, Gui Cavalcanti, Matt Oehrlein, and Brinkley Warren, the startup aspires to follow in the footsteps of major sports associations like Formula 1 or UFC.

With the seed funding, Warren said, MegaBots will be partnering with a law firm called Latham Watkins to help set up and roll out its league internationally, taking an approach similar to the Olympics.

Specifically, MegaBots will be working with Latham Watkins Partner Christopher D. Brearton, who represents the International Olympic Committee, and has helped organized leagues and governing bodies in sports including the NBA, MLB, NFL and others.

It’s hard to imagine that anyone in the world finds giant, gas-powered robots boring. But last year, to hype the future sport, MegaBots challenged Japan-based Suidobashi Heavy Industries to a duel.

The Japanese company, which existed before MegaBots was founded in 2014, accepted the younger startup’s challenge, and are reportedly working on a special edition of their Kuratas robot for the duel.

Kuratas weighs more than 9,000 pounds. MegaBots’ MkII clocks in at 12,000 pounds. The battle-ready robot will weigh closer to 15,000 pounds, Warren said. Early versions of the MkII can also hurl 3-pound paintballs at other robots, potentially blinding their computer vision systems.

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Written By: Lora Kolodny

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