For the last several years, MassRobotics has been a steadfast supporter of the RoboBusiness conference. This event offers attendees the opportunity to gain the latest insights from experts in the robotics and AI fields, exploring cutting-edge research, industry trends, and innovative applications of robotics in many industry sectors including manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, logistics and more.
For the 2nd year, MassRobotics hosted a robotics startup bootcamp which focused on several common challenges startups face while growing and scaling a company. The bootcamp provided “tips of the trade” and included discussions around challenges that can make or break a company. Topics included legal formation, finance and forecasting, IP and patents, team dynamics, capital, methods of raising funds, and the role of accelerators.
The speakers, their topics and their contacts are listed below:
- Intellectual Property: Considerations for early stage companies – Aaron Capron Partner at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP – Aaron.Capron@finnegan.com
- CLA Accounting: Finance, Forecasting, Taxes & more – Christie Bluhm Audit Principal at CliftonLarsonAllen- Christie.Bluhm@claconnect.com
- Good Team Dynamics – Drew Fortin Founder & CEO at Lever Talent – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Financing your Startup – Daniel Theobald Founder & Board Chair Vecna Robotics, Founder & CEO Twisted Fields, Founder Mekable, co-founder MassRobotics – email@example.com
- The Role of Accelerators – Marita McGinn Director, MassRobotics Accelerator – Marita@massrobotics.org
The final session in the startup bootcamp focused on the role of accelerators, how to select one that’s right for you. The panelist delved into topics such as, what to expect from different accelerators, how to get what’s relevant for you and how to optimize the benefits based on your company’s specific stage of development. This session provided invaluable insights on navigating the accelerator landscape. This was a fireside chat with two robotics startups who have been through a couple of accelerators:
- Kyle Smith Founder and CEO at Vici Robotics has been through the SOSV Hax Accelerator and Boost VC
- Jose Alonso Co-Founder and CEO at Caldo Restaurant Technologies has been through the UC Berkeley Launch (school-affiliated accelerator), Softbank Emerge Accelerator and SOSV Hax Accelerator
Marita McGinn led the discussion, showcasing the MassRobotics Startup Accelerator that includes non-dilutive funding and a robust curriculum focused on business as well as robotics hardware challenges. Applications for this program are open through November 30th 2023 and accepted companies will be in-person at MassRobotics in Boston, from February 5th through May 1st with a final showcase at the Robotics Summit & Expo in Boston on May 1-2.
The conference included a Pitchfire Robotics Startup Competition with the winner taking home $5,000. Startups delivered 5-minute pitches to a panel of judges describing their solution, business model, and value proposition and the winner was based on who the judges believed to be best primed for commercial success. Participating startups received invaluable feedback from investors. This year two MassRobotics residents were in the competition:
Information on all pitching startups can be found here.
Congratulations to Winner of the Pitchfire contest: Glidance.
The sessions ended the 2nd day with a chat with well known robotics clusters from Boston and Pittsburgh, discussing their origins, their definition of a “cluster” and what it takes to build a strong community and ecosystem. The discussion was led by Ward Broom, Catalyst from Advanced Technology and Development Center in Atlanta and insights were provided by Joyce Sidopoulos, our co-founder and Chief of Operations at MassRobotics and Jennifer Apicella, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Robotics Network.
We were happy to see and meet with so many of our partners at the show, including: FESTO, Harmonic Drive, Dassault Systems, AMD, maxon and associated network partner Ruland.
We also were able to meet up with several of our resident startups including: Wibotic, Glidance, Aivot, Cobionix, USPositronics, Haply and RasLabs!!