Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

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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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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