October 2022. MassRobotics participated in RoboBusiness, an international robotics business development and innovation event in Silicon Valley in October by hosting a startup boot camp, running a career fair and participating in panel sessions. The MassRobotics team was joined by Samantha Johnson, founder of one of the startups in their space in Boston, MA, Tatum Robotics. (NOTE: Tatum Robotics was the Winner of Pitchfire 2022)
Robotics Startup Boot Camp: Tips of the Trade
Starting a company has many challenges – and “robotics” and hardware startups add another complex layer to these challenges. As a home to over 60 startups (and 130+ through our space), we’ve seen firsthand the many challenges that robotics companies face. There are many common challenges.
Here are a few:
– and any one of these many challenges can break a company. It’s a competitive market, so startups need to stay on their toes, maintain high but realistic expectations, carefully select partners.
A lot of success boils down to finding the right help at the right time – always being in fundraising mode, taking every call…
While the boot camp certainly didn’t address ALL of these challenges, we focused on areas we felt were most common. Our goal was to provide startups with enough information to arm them with what to consider as their company grows – who to seek professional services from at which stage. We wanted to give the attendees a bit of an edge as they go through the many growing pains it takes to be successful.
Topics and presenters included:
- Intellectual Property: Considerations for early-stage companies
- Aaron Capron, Partner Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
- Design For Manufacturing and Scaling: From prototype to production
- Peter Russo, New Approach
- Accounting: Finance, forecasting, taxes & more
- Mike LaCrosse, Principal at CliftonLarsonAllen LLP
- Building the Founder’s Brand
- Parna Sarkar-Basu, Founder Brand and Buzz Marketing
At the conclusion of the Boot Camp we heard firsthand challenges and experiences from Daniel Theobald, Founder & Chief Innovation Officer Vecna Robotics, Founder & CEO Twisted Fields, Founder Mekable, Cofounder MassRobotics. We learned about how to gain the trust and loyalty of a customer, the importance of a cohesive team (how to find and retain employees), and the significance of choosing the right investors.
We hosted a career fair at the conclusion of the RoboBusiness sessions and offered job seekers a complimentary pass to walk the showroom floor. Hiring companies included large corporations, startups, and both west and east coast companies.
100+ job seekers attended and included students from Stanford University, San Jose State University, San Francisco State University, Santa Clara University, and several east coast schools. Career fair attendees included recent grads and early career folks, with about 20% of the attendees possessing more than 10 years of experience.
The annual RoboBusiness Pitchfire is an opportunity for robotics startups compete for a $5,000 first-place prize. Eligible robotics startups must be less than 5 years old and working towards developing, deploying, and commercializing new robotics technologies, products, processes, or services.
Participating startups gained invaluable experience by presenting in front of an audience and receiving feedback from industry investors and advisors. This year’s startups included: Tatum Robotics, Transitive Robotics, Raise Robotics, Vici Robotics, FLX Solutions
Samantha Johnson, CEO and Founder of Tatum Robotics, a MassRobotics resident, won the grand prize and took home the $5,000 check! Congrats to Samantha and her team.