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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   -   August 23, 2018

Last June, a massive dust storm engulfed Mars and immobilized the most famous robots in the galaxy, Opportunity and Curiosity. This is not the first time that Martian dirt has prevented Opportunity from recharging its solar panels. Its creators originally predicted that the planet’s harsh weather conditions would limit the rover’s mission to ninety sols (the equivalent of 93 earth days). This year, if it survives the current tempest, Opportunity will celebrate its 15th working anniversary on the red planet.

by   -   July 25, 2018

Ever since the première of “Steamboat Willie” in 1928, The Walt Disney Company has pushed the envelope of imagination. Mickey Mouse is still more popular worldwide than any single human actor. In fact, from that one cel an entire world of animated characters was born. The entertainment powerhouse demonstrated last week a new generation of theatrics with a flying robot-like stuntman (hero pause and all) that is destined to become a leading player in the age of autonomy.

by   -   June 14, 2018

Sitting in New York City, looking up at the clear June skies, I wonder if I am staring at an endangered phenomena. According to many in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry, skylines across the country soon will be filled with flying cars, quadcopter deliveries, emergency drones, and other robo-flyers. Moving one step closer to this mechanically-induced hazy future, General Electric (GE) announced last week the launch of AiRXOS, a “next generation unmanned traffic” management system.

by   -   June 7, 2018

If the robotics world had a celebrity it would be Spot Mini of Boston Dynamics. Last month at the Robotics Summit in Boston the mechanical dog strutted onto the floor of the Westin Hotel trailed by hundreds of flickering iPhones. Marc Raibert first unveiled his metal menaagerie almost a decade ago with a video of Big Dog. Today, Mini is the fulfillment of his mission in a sleeker, smarter, and environmentally friendlier robo-canine package than its gas-burning ancestor.

by   -   June 1, 2018

Three and half years ago, I stood on the corner of West Street and gasped as two window washers clung to life at the end of a rope a thousand feet above. By the time rescue crews reached the men on the 69th floor of 1 World Trade they were close to passing out from dangling upside down. Everyday risk-taking men and women hook their bodies to metal scaffolds and ascend to deadly heights for $25 an hour. Ramone Castro, a window washer of three decades, said it best, “It is a very dangerous job. It is not easy going up there. You can replace a machine but not a life.” Castro’s statement sounds like an urgent call to action for robots.

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.