news    views    podcast    learn    |    about    contribute     republish    

Oliver Mitchell


Homepage

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   -   January 26, 2020

Like the city that hosts the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) there is a lot of noise on the show floor. Sifting through the lights, sounds and people can be an arduous task even for the most experienced CES attendees. Hidden past the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) is a walkway to a tech oasis housed in the Westgate Hotel. This new area hosting SmartCity/IoT innovations is reminiscent of the old Eureka Park complete with folding tables and ballroom carpeting. The fact that such enterprises require their own area separate from the main halls of the LVCC and the startup pavilions of the Sands Hotel is an indication of how urbanization is being redefined by artificial intelligence.

by   -   December 7, 2019

The elephant in the room loomed large two weeks ago at the inaugural Internet of Things Consortium (IoTC) Summit in New York City. Almost every presentation began apologetically with the refrain, “In a 5G world” practically challenging the industry’s rollout goals. At one point Brigitte Daniel-Corbin, IoT Strategist with Wilco Electronic Systems, sensed the need to reassure the audience by exclaiming, ‘its not a matter of if, but when 5G will happen!’ Frontier Tech pundits too often prematurely predict hyperbolic adoption cycles, falling into the trap of most soothsaying visions. The IoTC Summit’s ability to pull back the curtain left its audience empowered with a sober roadmap forward that will ultimately drive greater innovation and profit.

by   -   October 3, 2019

One of the biggest urban legends growing up in New York City were rumors about alligators living in the sewers. This myth even inspired a popular children’s book called “The Great Escape: Or, The Sewer Story,” with illustrations of reptiles crawling out of apartment toilets. To this day, city dwellers anxiously look at manholes wondering what lurks below. This curiosity was shared last month by the US Defense Department with its appeal for access to commercial underground complexes.

by   -   August 14, 2019

Traveling to six countries in eighteen days, I journeyed with the goal of delving deeper into the roots of my family before World War II. As a child of refugees, my parents’ narrative is missing huge gaps of information. Still, more than seventy-eight years since the disappearance of my Grandmother and Uncles, we can only presume with a degree of certainty their demise in the mass graves of the forest outside of Riga, Latvia. In our data rich world, archivists are finally piecing together new clues of history using unmanned systems to reopen cold cases.

by   -   June 30, 2019

Pipeline inspection robot

I was on the phone recently with a large multinational corporate investor discussing the applications for robotics in the energy market. He expressed his frustration about the lack of products to inspect and repair active oil and gas pipelines, citing too many catastrophic accidents. His point was further endorsed by a Huffington Post article that reported in a twenty-year period such tragedies have led to 534 deaths, more than 2,400 injuries, and more than $7.5 billion in damages. The study concluded that an incident occurs every 30 hours across America’s vast transcontinental pipelines.

by   -   June 22, 2019

At the turn of the twentieth century, the swelling populations of newly arrived immigrants in New York City’s Lower East Side reached a boiling point, forcing the City to pass the 1901 Tenement House Act. Recalling this legislation, New York City’s Mayor’s Office recently responded to its own modern housing crisis by enabling developers for the first time to build affordable micro-studio apartments of 400 square feet. One of the primary drivers of allocating tens of thousands of new micro-units is the adoption of innovative design and construction technologies that enable modular and flexible housing options. As Mayor de Blasio affirmed, “Housing New York 2.0 commits us to creating 25,000 affordable homes a year and 300,000 homes by 2026. Making New York a fairer city for today and for future generations depends on it.”

by   -   May 15, 2019
Drone delivery. Credit: Wing

Returning from vacation, my inbox overflowed with emails announcing robot “firsts.” At the same time, my relaxed post-vacation disposition was quickly rocked by the news of the day and recent discussions regarding the extent of AI bias within New York’s financial system. These unrelated incidents are very much connected in representing the paradox of the acceleration of today’s inventions.

by   -   April 21, 2019

It’s been two years since the last time I judged the Automate Startup Competition. More than any other trade show contest, this event has been an oracle of future success. In following up with the last vintage of participants, all of the previous entrees are still operating and many are completing multi-million dollar financing rounds. As an indication of the importance of the venue, and quite possibly the growth of the industry, The Robot Report announced last week that 2017 finalist, Kinema Systems was acquired by SoftBank’s Boston Dynamics. 

by   -   April 7, 2019

Last week’s breaking news story on The Robot Report was unfortunately the demise of Helen Greiner’s company, CyPhy Works (d/b/a Aria Insights). The high-flying startup raised close to $40 million since its creation in 2008, making it the second business founded by an iRobot alum that has shuttered within five months. While it is not immediately clear why the tethered-drone company went bust, it does raise important questions about the long-term market opportunities for leashed robots.

by   -   February 12, 2019

This week Washington DC was abuzz with news that had nothing to do with the occupant of The While House. A group of progressive legislators, led by Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, in the House of Representatives, introduced “The Green New Deal.” The resolution by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was in response to the alarming Fourth National Climate Assessment and aims to reduce global “greenhouse gas emissions from human sources of 40 to 60 percent from 2010 levels by 2030; and net-zero global emissions by 2050.” While the bill is largely targeting the transportation industry, many proponents suggest that it would be more impactful, and healthier, to curb America’s insatiable appetite for animal agriculture.

by   -   December 16, 2018

Earlier this month, I crawled into Dr. Wendy Ju‘s autonomous car simulator to explore the future of human-machine interfaces at CornellTech’s Tata Innovation Center. Dr. Ju recently moved to the Roosevelt Island campus from Stanford University. While in California, the roboticist was famous for making videos capturing people’s reactions to self-driving cars using students disguised as “ghost-drivers” in seat costumes. Professor Ju’s work raises serious questions of the metaphysical impact of docility.

by   -   December 2, 2018

A day before snow hindered New York commuters, researchers at the University of Iowa and Princeton identified the growth of urbanization as the leading cause for catastrophic storm damage. Wednesday’s report stated that the $128 billion wake of Hurricane Harvey was 21 times greater due to the population density of Houston, one of America’s fastest growing cities. This startling statistic is even more alarming in light of a recent UN study which reported that 70% of the projected 9.7 billion people in the world will live in urban centers by 2050. Superior urban management is one of the major promises of autonomous systems and smart cities.

by   -   November 25, 2018

Two weeks ago, I participated on a panel at the BCI Summit exploring the impact of quantum computing. As a neophyte to the subject, I marveled at the riddle posed by Grover’s Algorithm. Imagine you are assigned to find a contact in a phonebook with a billion names, but all you are given is a telephone number. A quantum computer is able to decipher the answer with remarkable speed at a rate of .003% of today’s binary systems require one operation per line of data (in this case one billion).

by   -   November 9, 2018

This week a Harvard Business School student challenged me to name a startup capable of producing an intelligent robot – TODAY! At first I did not understand the question, as artificial intelligence (AI) is an implement like any other in a roboticist’s toolbox. The student persisted, she demanded to know if I thought that the current co-bots working in factories could one day evolve to perceive the world like humans. It’s a good question that I didn’t appreciate at the time as robots are best deployed for specific repeatable tasks, even with deep learning systems. By contrast, mortals comprehend their surroundings (and other organisms) using a sixth sense, intuition.

by   -   October 24, 2018

I have two kids in college and one of my biggest concerns is their knowledge that what they have labored hard to acquire will become obsolete by the time of graduation. Our age is driven by the hypersonic accelerations of technology and data forcing innovative educators to create new pedagogical systems that empower students with the skills today to lead tomorrow.