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Blabdroid: From Tribeca to Bolt

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31 July 2013



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Alex Reben’s dissertation robot, Boxie “the needy robot” morphed into Blabdroid, the documentary film about making robots. Blabdroid were the official “robots in residence” at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in April, and are now touring the world’s film festivals before taking up a somewhat different role in Bolt, a Boston based hardware accelerator.

Bolt has just announced their first hardware startup intake and I’ve been looking forward to seeing how many other robots have made the cut. Ben Einstein and his team had to sift through hundreds of applications for Bolt’s first group of startups. Each startup will receive enough funding to complete the 6 month program including access to a full machine shop and manufacturing mentors.

The selection process was extremely competitive. Response to our call for applications over the past three months surpassed even our most optimistic expectations with more than 850 entries. Of those, we have selected seven companies as part of our first enrollment of the inaugural 2013 class. They represent sectors ranging from consumer electronics to robotics to medical devices. Five are B2B. There are three companies that have already raised capital and two that are on track to hit $1M of revenue in 2013. [Bolt 7/31/2013]

Bolt itself recently received funding from Grishin Robotics, Autodesk and Logitech and is on track to give budding hardware startups all the right stuff. Founders Ben Einstein, Axel Bichara and Scott Miller have backgrounds in running companies, in product design, venture capital and manufacturing. Some of their previous products include Roomba, Pebbl, Sphero and Solidworks. Here are the seven companies in Bolt’s first enrolment:

  • Subsidence generates real-time, localized, atmospheric data, powered by its dense grids of next-generation weather stations

  • Petnet creates a line of intelligent pet products and leverages the data they capture so that pets, their owners, and caregivers can all be digitally connected

  • Behavioral Technologies builds wearable technology that seeks to influence habits, rather than simply measure movement

  • Loci Controls helps landfills optimize methane collection and energy generation

  • Padloc designs and manufactures innovative tablet hardware and technology solutions for national retailers, hotels and banks

  • BeTH creates prosthetic and orthotic devices that provide custom fit comfort without custom fabrication

  • BlabDroid builds social robots paired with dynamic content to create unique relationships with technology

The full Bolt team is pumped to settle into our brand-new space in downtown Boston. It’s a mix of open, light office space and a workshop full of cutting-edge prototyping equipment. With the facility we’ve built, Bolt provides a one-stop-shop to hardware startups seeking to build, manufacture and sell their first product. [Bolt 7/31/2013]

Bolt also host the Boston Hardware Startup Meetup every 6 weeks. Bolt is building a great ecosystem for robot startups and we’re hoping that Blabdroid, or the next iteration of Alex’s robotics, will be the star of the Bolt stable.

Blabdroid video from Tribeca Film Festival 2013



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Andra Keay is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, founder of Women in Robotics and is a mentor, investor and advisor to startups, accelerators and think tanks, with a strong interest in commercializing socially positive robotics and AI.
Andra Keay is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, founder of Women in Robotics and is a mentor, investor and advisor to startups, accelerators and think tanks, with a strong interest in commercializing socially positive robotics and AI.





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