Startup Pitch Night: Focus on Robotics

Nothing like a break from a stressful week! On November 9th at Runway Incubator in San Francisco, we had the opportunity to dig into the wonderful world of machines-in-motion at our sold-out event “Startup Pitch Night: Focus on Robotics.” The evening kicked off with a keynote from Runway alum and GrooveX founder and CEO Kaname Hayashi; each of the seven startups took the stage to discuss the ways that robotics can improve our lives—not by replacing the human touch, but by augmenting human experience. 

Meet the pitching companies and their stories below:

Semio is working to help people to interact with and use robots through natural communication. Semio’s software enables a robot to recognize human speech and body language and decide how to respond and act.

Oakland’s Knoverse is eSports for STEM: a Virtual Robotics League using multiplayer video game technology.  Knoverse creates competitive multiplayer arenas for robotics and STEM gaming—full code control of robots, expanded challenges and environments, all using applied science.

sciRobot is creating ACRO, an Bop-it-esque assistant caregiver robot, to help Alzheimer’s family caregivers provide customized activities. ACRO features a handheld device that calls out various motions and actions (“pick me up!”), with a companion mobile app that allows users to create their own set of actions.

Cutthroat Robotics introduced us to ZoZbot—modular robots controlled by Smartphones, in an environment created for near unlimited flexibility and utility, allowing competitive games to be played in both virtual and physical realities.

Obvious Robotics–still in stealth mode—is developing an ultralight Bipedal Utility Bot, with dexterity and sensory capabilities within 90% of human ability. With a combination of engineering, AI, and sensory processing, company CEO Ben Way hinted at the shape of things to come for the next generation of robots.

Winning company ToroB is warehouse order fulfillment company, using mobile bots to reduce operating costs, increase order accuracy and output, and reduce hiring spikes driven by seasonal demand. ToroB has constructed a near-scale prototype that proves the strength of our approach for the picking and stocking of goods within distribution centers.

RMUS Dynamics offers robotic arms and legs with low-cost, dexterous artificial muscles, which could enable better robotic manipulators without expensive motors. Powered by artificial intelligence, every pair of robotic limbs contains pre-built skills, and can gain new skills by training. No programming needed!

Thank-you to our startup judges Brian Ankenbrandt of K&L Gates, Valery Komissarova of Grishin Robotics, Gareth Keane of Qualcomm Ventures, and Saman Farid of Comet Labs—as well as our always-amazing moderator Max Shapiro of PeopleConnect Staffing. We’re also grateful to our special event partner Sparx Group, our main Startup Pitch Night partner K&L Gates LLP, as well as our hosts (with the most!) Runway Incubator.

Our next Startup Pitch Night will be held on January 18th, and will be focused on Artificial Intelligence. Applications open soon – stay tuned! #SVFStartupPitchNight

Author: Micaela Youmans
Head of Ops. and Communication

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