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Mega Startup Weekend with robots

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28 March 2012



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For the 1st time in startup weekend history, teams are asked to build robot startups in a 54hr challenge. Using just a mockup OR an existing robot platform OR all the robot resources you possess, can you pitch and develop a fantastic robot business? Winning teams get a chance to pitch their business idea at the DEMO conference in front of crowds of VCs/angels/media/fans.

Mega Startup Weekend will be held on April 13-15 at Microsoft. Mega Startup Weekend is the largest Startup Weekend in the Bay Area and in the world, hosting over 300 attendees in 3 different verticals – robots, gaming and mobile.  This is our annual Celebration of Entrepreneurship, hosted by Microsoft BizSpark, Startup America, and DEMO.

Please share this information with other roboticists and see you there! The mighty Robot LaunchPad team will be mentors and organizers at the Mega Startup Weekend event. (Use “robotlaunch” as promocode and get 25% discount.)

But how can I build a robot startup in just 54 hours? 

The key is to build a robot business model. Anyone can use existing robot technologies to create a brilliant new robot business. That’s why we’ve put examples here for every level of robot skill – from technically minded robot noob, to skillful robot/software programmer, to uber DIY robot drone with duck tape types.

1. Technically minded robot noob – create a mockup. If you can identify a market need and robot products that exist or can be easily converted, then build the business model not the robot. Eg. Maybe supermarkets could use robot arms to help shoppers reach products on top shelves. Find a market need that robots could do, then build a business model and a mockup.

2. Skillful roboticist or coder – leverage existing robots with accessible APIs and create new apps and markets. Eg. Existing autonomous mobile platforms could deliver food/luggage/shopping at large airports/hotels/malls. Need ipad/iphone app connecting it up and a business plan.

3. You DIY robots for breakfast? – you can build anything in 54 hours. Go on, surprise us!

Rodney Brooks says that the next generation of robots will be more closely integrated with people in manufacturing and the workplace. Today’s challenge isn’t ‘what can a robot do?’, it’s ‘what should a robot be doing now’?




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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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