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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September 20th, 2013

Robots: Origami Robots - Transcript

In this episode Matthew Schroyer speaks with Nick Kohut, CEO of Dash Robotics, about their foldable hexapod robot and the ongoing crowdfunding campaign to get them into the hands of budding engineers, kids and hobbyists.

Dash is the result of years of research in fast prototyping of bioinspired robots at Ron Fearing’s Biomimietic Millisystems Lab at UC Berkeley (see Fearing Podcast or Hoover Podcast). The palm-sized origami robot is now available for the general public to build and program. The robot takes inspiration from insect locomotion by using compliant and light weight hardware to drive over difficult terrain without using any complex controllers (see Bob Full podcast). You can check out their Dragon crowdfunding campaign for a chance to get one of the first 1000 robots. The campaign ends on October 2nd.

Nick Kohut
Nick Kohut is the co-founder and CEO of Dash Robotics. He is also a postdoc at Stanford University in Mark Cutkosky’s Biomimetics and Dextrous Manipulation Laboratory, working on a variable stiffness suspension element for humanoid robotics. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, in Ron Fearing’s Biomimetic Millisystems Lab, developing small legged robots. His research focused on the development of an active tail to enable high speed turning. In the past, he also did research on centimeter scale robots, and using GPS and traffic information to improve fuel economy.

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April 5th, 2013

Robots: Software Marketplace

In this episode we hear how the Spanish robotic startup Adele is creating a marketplace for robotics software. Through their platform, robot developers can buy software components for their robots, and software developers can sell their code, in a practical way. Examples of the software components, Adele calls them sparks, are speech recognition, synthetic speech, vision systems and user interface components. Their flagship project FIONA (Framework for Interactive-services Over Natural-conversational Agents) allows users to create intelligent and interactive virtual avatars.

Celestino Alvarez Martinez
Celestino Alvarez Martinez is an Industrial Engineer, specialized in Electronics and Automation from the University of Oviedo and with a Diploma of Advanced Studies in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence from Polytechnic University of Madrid. In 2002 he began his PhD in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, under the supervision of Professor Antonio Barrientos (DISAM, UPM) in the field of human-robot interaction.



Lucia Fernandez Cossio
Lucia Fernandez Cossio is a Computer Science Engineer from the University of Oviedo. She is specialized in artificial intelligence and social robotics and currently holds the position of Project Manager at Adele Robots. She has experience in management and direction of R & D related to different topics within the field of Information Technology and Communication.




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January 25th, 2013

Robots: Robolution Capital

In this episode Per talks to robotics enthusiast and investment fund manager Renaud Champion. Champion is co-founder of the professional investment fund Robolution Capital, that focuses on investing in service robotics in the European market.

Champion believes that service robotics has great growth potential, both in the professional and the domestic market. With a target of 60 million euros in funding, he is actively trying to promote development by building an effective ecosystem for robotics, including entrepreneurs, investors, advisers and users. In this interview he shares some thoughts on what he looks for in a potential investment, as well as his views on the European robotics market, vs. that in the US and Asia.

Renaud Champion
Renaud Champion is co-founder and partner of Robolution Capital, the first investment fund dedicated to Service Robotics in Europe and the first worldwide fund in this sector. He is also an executive director of Syrobo, the French Federation of Service Robotics.

Since 2005, he works closely with the entrepreneur Bruno Bonnell (Infogrames, Atari, Robopolis) to identify future growth centers in the high tech sector. In 2010 he created Primnext, a consulting firm specialized in valuation, risk management, modelling and returns optimization of companies operating in disruptive technologies and services. Primnext’s major fields of expertise are Robotics, Cognitive Systems and Artificial Intelligence.

In 1997, Renaud Champion joined the quantitative financial engineering department of BNP Paribas CIB where he was in charge of modelling structured derivatives products on interest rates and equity. From 2001 to 2009, he was the head of equity derivatives trading desks in New York and Paris at BNP Paribas. He managed derivatives portfolios on indices, stocks and hedge funds.

Renaud Champion holds an MS degree in electrical engineering with emphasis on mathematics and signal processing (SUPELEC, University of Michigan).

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December 14th, 2012

Robots: Sphero - Transcript

In today’s episode we speak with Ian Bernstein about the hugely successful Sphero robot and the company he co-founded, Orbotix.

Ian Bernstein
Ian Bernstein is cofounder of Orbotix which produces Sphero, a small ball-like robot which can be controlled from your smartphone. Launched one year ago, the robot has been hugely successful and is now available in the Apple store, Brookstone and Target to only cite a few. Key to their success has been a growing community of users writings apps for and making videos of their robots. Demonstrations include swarm control using the kinect or swimming Spheros augmented with “fish tails”.

Bernstein has been a hardware tinkerer and robot enthusiasts since age 12 when he attended the International BEAM Robotics Games (see Mark Tilden ROBOTS interviews from 2008 and 2012). He then studied at New Mexico Tech and Colorado State University, all while working at Road Narrows Robotics and running his own web-development company.

In 2010, Bernstein and Adam Wilson (also co-founder) joined a 3-month program at a startup accelerator called Techstars that led to their new company. Bernstein tells us about finding funding for hardware companies, setting up a production line and certifications needed to launch a product.

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