From smart forklifts and web-based simulation interfaces, to assistive walking devices, robotic companions — even one for your pet! — the range of mature robotics that made it to the 2015 Robot Launch international startup competition was astounding. Now in it’s second year, the competition attracted more than 75 startups from 19 countries covering the gamut of medical, educational, consumer, industrial and service robotics. The finalists pitched to a live panel of judges and robotics entrepreneurs in Palo Alto, CA. Find out who judges picked for the winning RobotLaunch 2015 startups!
The Grand Winner for Robot Launch 2015 wasCleverPet, a smart dog feeder that lets you play, teach, and connect with your pet all day. More than just an automatic dog feeder, CleverPet teaches your dog games, dispenses rewards, and adapts the gameplay as your pet gets more skilled. Robot Launch judges said they picked Cleverpet because they were “a polished company that is poised to serve a big market that people take seriously,” noting that the CleverPet’s adaptability and focus on play distinguishes it from other robotic pet products, and that the team understands the needs of both pets and their owners.
“CleverPet is grateful for the opportunity to present for such a smart group of investors,” said CEO Leo Trottier. “We’re honored to be selected from among companies committed to incredible, game-changing innovation.” CleverPet receives a prize combination of $5000 in cash and $5000 in Amazon Web Services, courtesy of c/o CSIRO, SMBC, iRobot, and Runners Up (full list below) eached received $1000 in Amazon Web Services.
The 1st Runner Up was Preemadonna, for their nail decorating robot aimed at girls and young women. Nailbot uses Hewlett Packard thermal technology, computer vision and a smartphone to allow you to paint custom designs on your fingernails. CEO Pree Wallia told judges she is excited by the opportunity to introduce girls to coding and hacking hardware through creative technology. The Nailbot is one to watch: Preemadonna has also progressed into the finals of the TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield.
Something for every investor
While the consumer focus of the first and second place winners shows investors’ strong interest in large and mature markets, the competition from service and industrial startups was fierce, indicating that robotics ecosystems and supply chains are growing at a healthy pace.
“There were winning startups in every category,” said competition organizer Andra Keay. “Every investor could find something to interest them, from cloud based simulations and new sensing technologies to eldercare, rehabilitative and social robotics.”
Winners by Category
Grand Winner ($5000 cash & $5000 Amazon Web Services c/o CSIRO, SMBC, iRobot)
Cleverpet, for their smart dog feeder that lets you play, teach, and connect with your pet all day. Judges said they picked Cleverpet because they were “a polished company that is poised to serve a big market that people take seriously,” noting that the CleverPet’s adaptability and focus on play distinguishes it from other robotic pet products, and that the team understands the needs of both pets and their owners.
Runners Up ($1,000 Amazon Web Services x 5)
- Preemadonna, for their Nailbot, which lets you print art on your nails using your phone. Judges cited their huge but hard-to-access market as key factor in their decision.
- Zyrobotics, for their Zyro Robot Therapy System, a personalized robot coach that gamifies therapy for kids with disabilities. Judges cited Zyrobotics’ social impact as a key factor in their decision.
- Luvozo, for SAM, a robot concierge that provides affordable support to senior living communities. Judges cite social impact and the fact that Luvozo is addressing a huge market that has many needs.
- Mecademic, for their compact and accurate tabletop collaborative robot arm. Judges cited near-term applicability of their product as a winning factor.
- Mobotech, for Mobot, a compact smart forklift. Judges cited viability of their emerging market as a key factor.
Best Industrial Startup (Siemens Frontier Program)
(Honorable Mention: Mecademic, for their compact and accurate tabletop collaborative robot arm.)
Best Use of ROS (10 hours of Clearpath ROS Consulting)
Luvozo, for SAM, a robot concierge that provides affordable support to senior living communities.
“The company that does the best job of addressing a real-world need within the mobile robotics space is Luvozo PCB – Robotic Concierge. This is the team to which we would like our consulting services awarded.” – Julian Ware, Clearpath.
Best Social Robot (mentoring from Silicon Valley Robotics)
Blue Frog Robotics, for their open source BUDDY companion robot
Best Modular Robot (mentoring from Silicon Valley Robotics)
MUSE Robotics, for their complete package of plug and play actuators, motor control and sensory modules for building custom robots
“Robot Launch 2015 demonstrated an impressive collection of disruptive business and technology ideas, not only in the Silicon Valley but throughout the world.” – Glenn Luinenburg, WilmerHale.
Best European Startup (mentoring from Robolution Capital)
ArtiMinds, for their semi-automatic control interface for complex industrial tasks.
Best Canadian Startup (legal services from La Barge Weinstein)
GaitTronics, for their rehabilitative robot walke, which speeds recovery by making mobility therapy safe and secure for patients and caregivers.
Best Australasian Startup (mentoring from QUT Bluebox)
Mobotech, for Mobot, their light and compact all-electric smart forklift for maneuvering in tight places and preventing workplace injuries.
Best US Startup (legal services from WilmerHale)
Zyrobotics, for their Zyro Robot Therapy System, a personalized robot coach that gamifies therapy for kids with disabilities.
Robohub Readers Pick ($500 for the 1st place winner c/o Robohub)
- The Construct, for their web-based robot simulator. (2488 votes)
- Erle Robotics, for their artificial brains for robots and drones that run on Linux and are based on ROS. (2299 votes)
- Zyrobotics, for their Zyro Robot Therapy System, a personalized robot coach that gamifies therapy for kids with disabilities. (1875 votes)
The Olander Company Award (custom industrial products)
Cleverpet, for their smart dog feeder that lets you play, teach, and connect with your pet all day.
The krktl snickerdoodle Award (snickerdoodle boards)
Redtree Robotics, for their suite of interchangeable robot components
A series of regional awards for best US, Canadian, Australian and European startups are geared toward developing local partnerships between tech clusters and mentors who can provide regional business, legal or investment support. For example, the law firms WilmerHale and LaBarge Weinstein will provide the regional US and Canadian winners (respectively) with free legal startup services; the regional Australian winner will get business mentoring from QUTBluebox ; and Robolution Capital will provide pitch coaching to the best European startup. Awards such as these help get more robotics startups onto the global stage while supporting entrepreneurship locally.
Siemens is offering the winning industrial robotics startups membership into their new Frontier Program, which includes access to Siemens’ PLM software suite and mentorship with industrial manufacturing partner companies. Robotics is a new area in the Frontier Program, which was initially only for 3D printing startups. The first robotics startup in the Frontier Program was Clearpath Robotics (Canada), who is also an award sponsor in the Robot Launch competition. Learn more.
Clearpath Robotics is sponsoring the Robot Launch ROS Award to the startup best using the Robot Operating System. The availability of the open source Robot Operating System ROS has played an important role in speeding up the growth of startups (including Clearpath Robotics), and more than 1/3rd of the Robot Launch startups use ROS in some way. Clearpath will be providing 10 hours of ROS consulting to the winner.
The Olander Company are providing custom fasteners and krtkl are providing ‘brains’ for robotics startups in the finals of Robot Launch, showcasing how even early-stage robotics companies can help each other get to market faster.
The Robohub Readers Pick award celebrates the crowd favorite through online voting. Now that crowdfunding can play a significant role in the pathway for many startups, success in attracting votes here sends a strong signal of support to CEOs and potential investors.
What do our startups, judges and sponsors think about Robot Launch 2015?
“CleverPet is grateful for the opportunity to present for such a smart group of investors, and we’re honored to be selected from among companies committed to incredible, game-changing innovation.” – Leo Trottier, CEO
“Zyrobotics is very excited to have made it to the finals of Robot Launch 2015. As this is our first public introduction of the Zyro Robot Therapy System, we feel incredibly privileged to have been selected for this amazing opportunity.” – Ayanna Howard, Ph.D., CTO/Founder Zyrobotics
“ArtiMinds is thrilled to present its ArtiMinds RPS to a world-wide robotics audience, so shortly after market introduction.” – Sven Schmidt-Rohr, Artiminds
“Fantastic global event and award to showcase Mobotech’s smart robotic supply chain solution. Just what every start-up dreams of” – Steve Haythorne, CEO
“We are really excited to see Erle Robotics among the 15 top Robohub startups worldwide, this is a proof of the real impact our brains and robots are making in robotics landscape” – Carlos Uraga, CEO & Co-founder
“Luvozo is thrilled to be selected as a finalist in the global Robot Launch pitch competition. Support for early-stage robotics ventures is important and we’ve appreciated all the feedback from judges and RoboHub readers.” – David Pietrocola, CEO & Founder
“Robot Launch 2015 gives us a chance to expand our network showing the great work we’re doing to make STEM engaging for students!” – Michael Predko, Jade Robot
“Robot Launch 2015 demonstrated an impressive collection of disruptive business and technology ideas, not only in the Silicon Valley but throughout the world.” – Glenn Luinenburg, a Partner at WilmerHale, a Silicon Valley law firm that works with robotics companies, and which awarded a legal startup package and mentoring to Zyrobotics.