Andra Keay is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, an industry group supporting the innovation and commercialization of robotics technologies. Andra is also founder of Robot Launchpad for startups, and cofounder of Robot Garden, a new robotics hackerspace.
Andra is a core contributor to Robohub, the global site for news and views on robotics. She obtained her MA in Human-Robot Culture at the University of Sydney, Australia in 2011, building on a background as a robot geek, STEM educator and film-maker.
Andra graduated as an ABC film, television and radio technician in 1986 and obtained a BA in Communication from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) Australia, in 1998.
You may be surprised, but I’m not. These are the people I see regularly both in Silicon Valley and overseas interacting with the robotics community. That makes them the smart money (most of the time). According to CB Insights, the 7 most active robotics investors over the last 5 years are: Eclipse Ventures, High-Tech Gründerfonds, Lux, Intel Capital, Sequoia China, CRV, and Visionaire Ventures.
As CB Insights demonstrates, old school ‘smart money’ is still making investments in robotics — just at a slower pace. Overall, the last 5 years has seen an increase in global robotics equity funding to $2.6 billion in 405 deals.
In celebration of Ada Lovelace Day, we’ve compiled our fourth annual ‘25 Women in Robotics You Need to Know About‘ list. That’s 100 women who have been featured to date, with plenty more for the years to come! We’re showcasing women working in research, development, and commercialization of robotics. The role models are diverse, ranging from emeritus to early career stage. Even though the total number of women in robotics is still relatively small, we’re celebrating that women are leading the way in future developments within this field.
Silicon Valley Robotics held an innovation tour for some of our global partners ahead of the RoboBusiness conference in San Jose. Representatives from Odense Robotics Cluster, Invest in Denmark and Denmark Innovation Center joined up with Sumitomi Mitsui Bank, Siemens, A3/RIA, Robotics Hub and the Office of Science and Technology Policy for a ’round the Bay’ innovation tour.
The robotics industry is maturing. The quality of startups in particular has really changed over the last 2-3 years, and this is backed up by the increasing investment levels, with over $1 billion invested in robotics in 2015. The scope of market areas that we are now seeing robotics startups in is also changing. There are now social robots for health and education, robots doing service tasks in hospitality, retail, logistics, consumer robots tackling garden and maintenance tasks. There are also new industrial, manufacturing and inspection robots, plus new sensor, software and robotics infrastructure opportunities.
We need you! Silicon Valley Robotics and Robohub have just launched the 2016 Robot Launch global online startup competition. Pitch your robotics startup online to an audience of top VCs, investors and experts, with live finals in Silicon Valley. Entries close August 15.
In previous Robot Launch competitions we’ve had hundreds of entries from more than 20 countries around the world. Our finalists have also reached the finals of major startup competitions like Tech Crunch Disrupt, and gone on to raise millions of dollars of funding making strong industry partnerships, such as working with Siemens Frontier Program.
Anki’s new robot Cozmo (with free SDK) shows that this consumer robotics startup has got bigger plans than simply dominating the smart toy category. Founded in 2010 by Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute graduates, Anki has become one of the most successful consumer robot companies around. Anki is backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures and Two Sigma, and was named a “Top 50 Most Innovative Company” by Fast Company.
The US just moved a step closer to building an advanced robotics institute modeled on the hugely successful Fraunhofer Institutes. The proposed ARM or Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Institute is one of seven candidates moving forward in an open bid for $70 million funding from NIST for an innovation institute to join the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. Previously funded institutes are for advanced composites, flexible electronics, digital and additive manufacturing, semiconductor technology, textiles and photonics.
Robotics today is a fast growing industry with applications in myriad markets, including retail, transportation, manufacturing, and even as personal assistants. Fellow Robots is at the forefront of reimagining these uses for the best retail experience – to improve your experience when shopping and to help employees with the most up to date product information and location of goods and services.
Viv is an AI personal assistant launched at TechCrunch Disrupt NY. It promises to radically simplify our interface with everything. Siri cofounders, Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer, are looking to create a developer ecosystem so Viv will be the way every device interacts with you in the future.
ACM CHI the premier Human-Computer Interaction conference is being held at San Jose ‘in the heart of Silicon Valley’ May 7 – 12. There are panels and papers on robotics, and about the next generation of interfaces that will impact robotics and all our technologies. Live streaming to begin Monday May 9, at 08:30 (PST).
OATV, or O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, is a seed stage investment firm based in San Francisco with a track record of backing robotics startups in emerging areas. As well as investing in Fetch Robotics, some of their other hardware investments include 3D Robotics, Planet Labs, Misfit Wearables, Littlebits and Sight Machine. OATV typically invest between $250,000 and $2 million into startups at a critical early stage of development. This pre-revenue runway helps startups refine their prototypes, determine product/market fit, and achieve strong follow on rounds. OATV invests early, typically before market categories are well defined.
The White House announced a series of public workshops on artificial intelligence (AI) and the creation of an interagency working group to learn more about the benefits and risks of artificial intelligence. The first workshop Artificial Intelligence: Law and Policy will take place on May 24 at the University of Washington School of Law, cohosted by the White House and UW’s Tech Policy Lab
New Zealand’s government innovation agency Callaghan Innovations and Silicon Valley’s innovation non-profit SVForum organized Transforming AgTech, an event bringing together New Zealand and US agricultural startups in typical Silicon Valley style.
Silicon Valley Robotics Rich Mahoney and Andra Keay led a panel on robotics and agriculture. Here, they highlight NZ startups and innovation groups present at the event.
New Zealand’s government innovation agency Callaghan Innovations and Silicon Valley’s innovation non-profit SVForum organized: “Transforming Ag Tech," an event bringing together New Zealand and US agricultural startups in typical Silicon Valley style.