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Oliver Mitchell


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Oliver Mitchell is the Founding Partner of Autonomy Ventures a New York based venture capital firm focused on seed stage investments in robotics, autonomous mobility and artificial intelligence. He has spent the last twenty years building and selling ventures, including: Holmes Protection to ADT/Tyco, Americash to American Express, and launching RobotGalaxy, a national EdTech brand. Oliver has been investing in the robotic industry for close to 10 years, with four successful exits in his angel portfolio in the past two years (including 2 IPOs). He is also a member of New York Angels and co-chairs the Frontier Tech Committee. As father of five, Oliver launched RobotGalaxy in 2006 to fill a personal need: he wanted a wholesome activity for his son. RobotGalaxy’s patented toys were a national phenomena available at Toys’R’Us, Nordstrom Department Stores, and online that connected to a virtual world and library of mobile apps. Before RobotGalaxy, Oliver was involved in a number of successful technology ventures and real estate developments. Oliver was part of the executive team of Softcom/IVT, an interactive video startup backed by Allen & Co., Intel Capital (NASDAQ:INTC) and Sun Microsystems. At IVT, Oliver was instrumental in expanding the market for their products with such leading broadcasters as HBO, Showtime, and Home Shopping Network. Prior to IVT, Oliver was a founding member of AmeriCash, Inc., a network of ATMs in high traffic retail locations. AmeriCash was acquired by American Express (NYSE:AXP) within 32 months of operations. Oliver was also instrumental in the development of Holmes Protection and its sale to ADT/Tyco International (NYSE:TYC). Oliver has extensive background in merchant banking and advertising. He started his career at Kirshenbaum, Bond & Partners. Oliver holds 14 patents and has appeared on numerous television shows, including: The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, Fox Business News, The Today Show, and Rachel Ray. He also serves as a mentor on the Entrepreneur Roundtable Accelerator Fund, and advises many technology companies on their growth strategies including Greensight Agronomics and Que Innovations. Oliver is also the publisher of the well-known robotics blog Robot Rabbi and is in the midst of writing a book entitled, “An Innovator’s Field Guide: Taking Ideas From Zero to Hero.”



by   -   April 17, 2018

In a basement of New York University in 2013, Dr. Sergei Lupashin wowed the room of one hundred leading technology enthusiasts with one of the first indoor Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) demonstrations. During his presentation, Dr. Lupashin of ETH Zurich  attached a dog leash to an aerial drone while declaring to the audience, “there has to be another way” of flying robots safely around people. Lupashin’s creativity eventually led to the invention of Fotokite and one of the most successful Indiegogo campaigns.

by   -   March 21, 2018

As Mark Hamill humorously shared the behind-the-scenes of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” with a packed SXSW audience, two floors below on the exhibit floor Universal Robots recreated General Grievous’ famed light saber battles. The battling machines were steps away from a twelve foot dancing Kuka robot and an automated coffee dispensary. Somehow the famed interactive festival known for its late night drinking, dancing and concerts had a very mechanical feel this year. Everywhere debates ensued between utopian tech visionaries and dystopia-fearing humanists.

by   -   March 14, 2018

It was the last question of the night and it hushed the entire room. An entrepreneur expressed his aggravation about the FDA’s antiquated regulatory environment for AI-enabled devices to Dr. Joel Stein of Columbia University.

by   -   March 8, 2018

I recently chaired a UJA Tech Talk on “The Future Of Autonomous Cars” with former General Motors Vice-Chairman Steve Girsky. The auto executive enthusiastically shared his vision for the next 15-25 years of driving – a congestion-free world of automated wheeled capsules zipping commuters to and from work.

by   -   February 22, 2018

It’s called the “grain,” a small IoT device implanted into the back of people’s skulls to record their memories. Human experiences are simply played back on “redo mode” using a smart button remote. The technology promises to reduce crime, terrorism and simplify human relationships with greater transparency. While this is a description of Netflix’s Black Mirror episode, The Entire History of You,” in reality the concept is not as far-fetched as it may seem. This week life came closer to imitating art with the $19 million grant by the US Department of Defense to a group of six universities to begin work on “neurograins.”

by   -   February 10, 2018

I recently led a group of 20 American tech investors to Israel in conjunction with the UJA and Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry. We witnessed firsthand the innovation that has produced more than $22 billion of investments and acquisitions within the past year. We met with the University that produced Mobileye, with the investor that believed in its founder, and the network of every multinational company supporting the startup ecosystem. Mechatronics is blooming in the desert from the CyberTech Convention in Tel Aviv to the robotic labs at Capsula to the latest in autonomous driving inventions in the hills of Jerusalem.

by   -   January 23, 2018
SoftWear Automation’s Sewbot. Credit: SoftWear Automation

The Financial Times reported earlier this year that one of the largest clothing manufacturers, Hong Kong-based Crystal Group, proclaimed robotics could not compete with the cost and quality of manual labor. Crystal’s Chief Executive, Andrew Lo, emphatically declared, “The handling of soft materials is really hard for robots.” Lo did leave the door open for future consideration by acknowledging such budding technologies as “interesting.”

by   -   January 15, 2018

As close to a quarter million people descended on a city of six hundred thousand, CES 2018 became the perfect metaphor for the current state of modern society. Unfazed by floods, blackouts, and transportation problems, technology steamrolled ahead. Walking the floor last week at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), the hum of the crowd buzzed celebrating the long awaited arrival of the age of social robots, autonomous vehicles, and artificial intelligence.

by   -   December 29, 2017

Two thousand seventeen certainly has been an emotional year for mankind. While homo sapiens continue to yell at Alexa and Siri, the actuality of people’s willingness to pursue virtual relationships over human ones is startling.

by   -   December 13, 2017

The two biggest societal challenges for the twenty-first century are also the biggest opportunities – automation and climate change. The confluence of these forces of mankind and nature intersect beautifully in the alternative energy market. The epitaph of fossil fuels with its dark cloud burning a hole in the ozone layer is giving way to a rise of solar and wind farms worldwide. Servicing these plantations are fleets of robots and drones, providing greater possibilities of expanding CleanTech to the most remote regions of the planet.

by   -   December 7, 2017

Dan Burstein, reporter, novelist and successful venture capitalist, declared Wednesday night at RobotLab‘s winter forum on Autonomous Transportation & SmartCities that within one hundred years the majority of jobs in the USA (and the world) could disappear, transferring the mantle of work from humans to machines.

by   -   November 23, 2017

Shortly after SoftBank acquired his company last October, Marc Raibert of Boston Dynamics confessed, “I happen to believe that robotics will be bigger than the Internet.” Many sociologists regard the Internet as the single biggest societal invention since the dawn of the printing press in 1440. To fully understand Raibert’s point of view, one needs to analyze his zoo of robots which are best know for their awe-striking gait, balance and agility. The newest creation to walk out of Boston Dynamic’s lab is SpotMini, the latest evolution of mechanical canines.

by   -   November 14, 2017

Governor Andrew Cuomo of the State of New York declared last month that New York City will join 13 other states in testing self-driving cars: “Autonomous vehicles have the potential to save time and save lives, and we are proud to be working with GM and Cruise on the future of this exciting new technology.” For General Motors, this represents a major milestone in the development of its Cruise software, since the the knowledge gained on Manhattan’s busy streets will be invaluable in accelerating its deep learning technology. In the spirit of one-upmanship, Waymo went one step further by declaring this week that it will be the first car company in the world to ferry passengers completely autonomously (without human engineers safeguarding the wheel).

by   -   November 2, 2017
An analysis by Stanford researchers shows that the use of robot-assisted surgery to remove kidneys wasn’t always more cost-effective than using traditional laparascopic methods.
Master Video/Shutterstock

The internet hummed last week with reports that “Humans Still Make Better Surgeons Than Robots.” Stanford University Medical Center set off the tweetstorm with its seemingly scathing report on robotic surgery. When reading the research of 24,000 patients with kidney cancer, I concluded that the problem lied with the humans overcharging patients versus any technology flaw. In fact, the study praised robotic surgery for complicated procedures and suggested the fault lied with hospitals unnecessarily pushing robotic surgery for simple operations over conventional methods, which led to “increases in operating times and cost.”

by   -   October 24, 2017

Healthy humans take for granted their five senses. In order to mold metal into perceiving machines, it requires a significant amount of engineers and capital. Already, we have handed over many of our faculties to embedded devices in our cars, homes, workplaces, hospitals, and governments. Even automation skeptics unwillingly trust the smart gadgets in their pockets with their lives.