Startup’s robotic modular furniture hides home offices in ceilings

  • Smart-home robotics company Bumblebee was started by an Apple and Tesla veteran.
  • The company’s robot technology stores furniture in the ceiling when not in use.
  • Bumblebee can convert bedrooms into offices, exercise studios, and more.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders have made the case for Bumblebee Spaces, a modular smart-home robotics startup staffed by Apple and Tesla alums. The company is the modern, high-end version of Murphy beds, but for all furniture, which gets stored away in the ceiling when not needed. Bumblebee has upgraded and improved its design, which it first showed to Business Insider’s Katie Canales in early 2020.

Sankarshan Murthy founded Bumblebee Spaces in 2017, after working as a product manager at Apple and a product technologist at Tesla. He wouldn’t have been able to start Bumblebee without spending time at those companies, Murthy told Business Insider.

Bumblebee is a way to address the lack of affordable housing and people crowded into small apartment, but it’s different from typical solutions. From the beginning, Murthy says, the company was focused on addressing the ballooning cost of space, especially in cities. When people can’t afford space or are forced into homes that are too small, especially when that includes working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, it leads to “crappy living situations.” 

Read more: The battle between Facebook and Apple over privacy is about more than just ads — it’s about the future of how we interact with tech

Fixing the problem of space would either require building out into new areas, which is “terrible for the environment,” or making small spaces more appealing. Murthy and Bumblebee focus on the latter. 

“I would rather make space for wilderness. If you can have a nice backyard, don’t put concrete there!” he said of the backyard office trend that emerged this year.

Here’s a look at how Bumblebee has improved its product and found a niche during the pandemic.