Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

January 24th, 2014

Robots: Startup Funding

In today’s episode Per Sjöborg speaks with Jan Westerhues, Investment Partner with Robert Bosch Venture Capital, about how they fund companies in robotics. As stepping stones towards their long-term goal to build autonomous cars, they invest in a wide range of robotics technologies with real world applications. Westerhues tells us when in a project’s life they can help and what to expect throughout their involvement. He also promises exciting news in the coming months, so stay tuned.

Jan Westerhues
Jan Westerhues is Investment Partner with Robert Bosch Venture Capital in Frankfurt, Germany. Jan is responsible for robotic investments within RBVC and board member/observer of Aethon, USA and a low cost autonomous navigation company in the EU (soon to be disclosed). RBVC is the corporate venture arm of Robert Bosch GmbH, one of the largest private conglomerates with over 50 billion Euros sales. The VC fund invests worldwide in start-up companies either directly or via Venture Capital Funds. Investment focus is technology companies that fit Bosch’s current and future business. RBVC provides capital for minority stakes in start-ups from early to expansion stage. Prior to this position, Jan was responsible for Bosch Corporate Strategy in the Asia Pacific region, based in Shanghai, China. He gathered extensive experience in strategy consulting before joining the Bosch Group. Jan holds a degree in engineering and business administration (Dipl.-Wirtsch.-Ing.) from the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany and is a CFA charter holder. He speaks German, English, and Spanish fluently and has a basic knowledge of Mandarin.

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August 23rd, 2013

Robots: Venture Capital in Robotics - Transcript

Diana Saraceni is a Venture Capitalist at 360 Capital Partners. In this interview, she tells us about her first investment in robotics 3 years ago with Invendo Medical, and her views on how the market has changed since then. Hardware is now perceived as less risky, even though it is more challenging to scale than software. Recent success stories have further helped promote VC funding in robotics.

Saraceni discusses the importance of the founding team, as well as their advisors, for the success of a company. Finally, she shares her view on open source vs. proprietary technology from a venture capitalist’s perspective.

Diana Saraceni
Diana Saraceni is a partner at 360 Capital Partners, a Pan-European Venture Capital firm. Before becoming a Venture Capitalist in 2001, she was Senior Advisor at Lazard Investment Banking. At Lazard she was part of the Technology Team and primarily worked on M&A transactions and IPOs. Prior to Lazard, Saraceni spent several years as strategic consultant with A.T.Kearney in Milan and London. She was/is part of several national and international start-up selection committees and holds a degree in Engineering from the University of Rome and an MBA from LUISS.

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November 2nd, 2012

Robots: Grishin Robotics - Transcript

In today’s episode we speak with Dmitry Grishin about Grishin Robotics, his global investment company dedicated to helping robotics startups distribute already working products to the mass market.

Dmitry Grishin
Dmitry Grishin is co-founder and chairman of the Mail.Ru Group, the largest Internet company in the Russian-speaking world and one of the biggest in Europe. He joined the company in 2001 after graduating from the Faculty of Robotics and Complex Automation at Moscow State Technical University.

This background led him to believe that personal robotics, with a market potential estimated to be over $18 billion in 2015 (ABI Research), is ready to become mainstream and poised for massive growth, similar to the internet industry in the past decade. To help drive mass-market penetration of new robotics products, Grishin founded Grishin Robotics in 2012 with an initial personal investment of $25 million. His firm, located in New York, funds start-up companies that are ready to ramp-up production of already proven robotic prototypes. Grishin recently announced their first investment in Double Robotics, a company that makes telepresence robots.

Grishin tells us about the changes that are need in the robotics culture to start developing successful startups, including building simple robots that are need-driven rather than technology-driven and emphasize user experience.

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July 13th, 2012

Robots: Launching Startups

Today we talk with Andra Keay, founder of Robot Launch Pad, robotics startup accelerator based in Silicon Valley, about latest events, lean startup methodology, funding, and gender.

Andra Keay
Andra Keay is a Robot Startup Evangelist passionate about growing robotics, one startup at a time. Supported by key actors in the field including Erin Rapacki and Ryan Calo, Robot Launch Pad aims to bridge the software, web and mobile startup worlds of Silicon Valley and San Francisco with the robotics community and the flourishing local maker sphere. In this interview, Keay tells us about the excellent startup events organized by Robot Launch Pad in April including the Robot Retreat, the Robot Block Party, Mega Startup Weekend and a Cloud Robotics Hackathon. She brings us into her world of lean startup methodology, minimum viable products and tells us about the importance of women in science.

Before launching Robot Launch Pad, Keay completed her Master of Digital Cultures in the area of Human-Robot Interactions at the University of Sydney. Her project on “the Naming of Robots” explored how roboticists express identity and gender through their technology. Passionate about robotics for a long time, she has also been running science and robot workshops for children since 1995, including coaching competition teams in Moonbots, First Lego League and RoboCup Jnr.

Finally, don’t miss Andra Keay’s other blogs, Robot State and Andragy.

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February 11th, 2011

Robots: Robotics Roadmaps – Japan

In today’s episode we discuss the national funding strategies of Japan, as a part of a series on funding strategies worldwide. In particular, we’ll be talking to an expert and leading figure in Japanese Robotics, Tomomasa Sato, who will give us insights into the Japanese robotics roadmap – for the past, present and future!

Tomomasa Sato

Prof. Tomomasa Sato received his bachelor, master and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tokyo. After completing his PhD, he joined the Electrotechnical Laboratory of the Ministry of Industrial Science and Technology. In 1991, he then moved to the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology of the University of Tokyo, where from 1998 onwards, has was Professor of the Department of Mechano-Informatics where he directed the Intelligent Cooperative Systems Laboratory.

His research interests include intelligent machines, robots and environments. He is an active member of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers, Society of Instrument and Control Engineers, and Robotics Society of Japan, which he presided from 2007 to 2008 and lead the creation of the Academic Roadmap on Robotics.

He currently is a project manager for intelligent robot projects supported by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, otherwise known at METI.

During this interview, Tomomasa Sato tells us about the money spent in robotics, the differences between industry and government funding and developments and the cultural differences that make Japanese people accept robots into their daily lives.

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