RoboBusiness Pitchfire: Meet the 4 competing startups


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The Pitchfire Startup Competition has been an opening-day spotlight for years now at RoboBusiness, which runs Oct. 18-19 in Santa Clara, Calif. Pitchfire, which occurs on Oct. 18 from 4:15-5 PM on the Santa Clara Convention Center, is a must-attend occasion for traders, robotics entrepreneurs and innovation leaders alike. Attendees get a primary glimpse at cutting-edge applied sciences from robotics’ most enjoyable rising corporations, and the chance to forge new business partnerships.

This yr, 4 robotics startups will compete for the $5,000 first-place prize. Each startup will get 5 minutes to explain their firm’s resolution, enterprise mannequin, worth proposition and extra. After all of the contestants have pitched, Pitchfire judges will evaluate notes, come to a consensus, and announce a winner primarily based on who they consider to be greatest primed for business success.

RoboBusiness is the main occasion centered on creating business robots. There can be 60-plus audio system, 60-plus exhibitors and demos on the expo ground, networking receptions and extra. RoboBusiness is co-located with the Field Robotics Engineering Forum, an occasion centered on find out how to efficiently develop robots that function in wide-ranging, out of doors, dynamic environments. Also co-located with RoboBusiness is DeviceTalks West, the premier trade occasion for medical expertise professionals, at present in its ninth yr. Both occasions entice engineering and enterprise professionals from a broad vary of healthcare and medical expertise backgrounds.

Companies which have beforehand competed in Pitchfire embody Tatum Robotics, Southie Autonomy, Sadako Technologies, Autonomous Marine Systems, inVia Robotics, Catalina Health, Cubit, Rokid, RightHand Robotics, Soft Robotics and Knightscope.

Here is a have a look at this yr’s contributors:

Date Founded: September 21, 2021
Location: Seattle, Wash.
No. of workers: 2
Funding thus far: $0

AIVOT supplies software program for robots to carry out numerous open-ended duties in unstructured settings. AIVOT learns new abilities by following spoken directions and observing human demos. The self-learning agent improves abilities with suggestions and expertise and makes use of imaginative and prescient to carry out the duties. The end-to-end software program stack might be deployed on any third-party {hardware} (robotic arms, AMRs, and humanoid type elements).

Date Founded: January 30, 2023
Location: Seattle, Wash.
No. of workers: 4
Funding thus far: $200,000

Glidance is creating a self-guided mobility assist, known as Glide, for folks with sight loss. Glide helps an individual with sight loss get round with ease and confidence by guiding them to the place they need to go utilizing superior autonomous guiding applied sciences and a novel mechanical design selling a way of company and independence. Glide additionally makes use of haptic and audio suggestions to assist present a protected strolling expertise for its customers.

Date Founded: March 14, 2023
Location: Detroit, Michigan
No. of workers: 3
Funding thus far: $150,000

Staxel automates micro-fulfillment utilizing robots and synthetic intelligence, optimizing stock administration and fleet operations. Staxel makes use of a singular autonomous cell robotic design that may transfer alongside flooring, vertically and between cabinets. Staxel mentioned it would quickly launch a totally automated darkstore with a 10x enhance in operational effectivity.

TRIC Robotics
Date Founded: June 17, 2017
Location: San Luis Obispo, Calif.
No. of workers: 10
Funding thus far: $802,000

TRIC Robotics helps farmers management pests and illness utilizing ultraviolet mild in its place for chemical pesticides. Ultraviolet mild is a resistance and chemical free resolution that’s extra sustainable and efficient than chemical compounds. The firm’s resolution is a tractor-scale robotic that carries UV lights up and down the rows as a pest management service that replaces their present pest management prices.

Meet the Judges

The panel of judges will embody:

Sanjay Aggarwal: Venture Partner, F-Prime Capital

Aggarwal is a Venture Partner centered on frontier expertise funding alternatives. Prior to becoming a member of F-Prime Capital, he was CEO of Unicel Technologies, an India-focused cell messaging firm. Aggarwal scaled Unicel to grow to be a frontrunner within the Indian market and efficiently exited the enterprise to Karix Mobile.

Earlier in his profession, he labored at Devonshire Investors (the personal fairness group of Fidelity Investments), McKinsey and Company in its U.S. and India places of work, and at Berkeley Process Control (acquired by Moog Inc), the place he constructed machine automation programs. Aggarwal holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley, and an M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Mike Oitzman, Editor, Robotics, WTWH Media

Mike Oitzman is Editor of WTWH’s Robotics Group and founding father of the Mobile Robot Guide. Oitzman is a robotics trade veteran with 25-plus years of expertise at numerous high-tech corporations within the roles of selling, gross sales and product administration.




Daniel Theobald, Chairman & Founder, Vecna Robotics

Daniel Theobald is the Chairman and founding father of Vecna Robotics, a versatile, clever materials dealing with automation firm.  Daniel has many years of expertise main analysis scientists and groups of engineers in creating cutting-edge expertise. He has 67 issued patents and greater than 30 patents pending.

Daniel has been on the forefront of robotics for greater than 20 years, working intently with DARPA, DOD, NASA, NIH, USDA and lots of others to advance using robots and AI software program to enhance provide chain automation. In addition to founding Vecna Robotics, Daniel additionally co-founded MassRobotics, a non-profit devoted to the worldwide development of the robotics trade and Twisted Fields, an natural analysis farm devoted to the development of automation in agriculture to permit humanity to farm sustainably—as nature supposed—whereas nonetheless assembly the calls for of recent agriculture. Daniel is devoted to the concept expertise can be utilized to empower folks worldwide to dwell extra fulfilling lives.

Oliver Mitchell, Partner, ff Venture Capital
Oliver Mitchell is a companion at ff Venture Capital. Oliver first joined ff VC in 2014 as a Limited Partner, after which in 2018 as a Venture Partner. Today, he takes a number one position on the funding group in increasing the portfolio’s deep tech place with holdings in robotics, drones, synthetic intelligence, and industrial automation applied sciences.

Oliver additionally works with ffVC’s investor relations in forging strategic relationships for our restricted companions and company enterprise teams. In addition, he serves on the boards of Civ Robotics, Cambrian Intelligence, AppBind, Storyfit, and Cardflight.


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