news    views    podcast    learn    |    about    contribute     republish    

Crowd Funding

by   -   May 14, 2014


Mirobot is a robotics kit that’s designed to get kids more interested in technology, engineering and programming. Children solder and build it themselves, and then can use a drag-and-drop programming tool in their browser to get the robot to draw shapes and patterns.

by   -   March 24, 2014


Ever since Apple bought Prime Sense, roboticists have been asking what’s going to fill the gap. Robots need to know where they are and what’s around them. The Carmine, and the unveiled but undelivered Capri from Prime Sense, were the smallest, cheapest and most effective ways of mapping the environment available. Microsoft’s first Kinect was based on Prime Sense technology, and it enabled a raft of robotics developments, as did the Asus Xteon. But with the core Prime Sense technology off the market now, there are questions about what will fill the gap, and what will some crowd funded projects use to fulfill their campaigns.

The rise of online crowdfunding platforms over the last decade has created a whole new pathway for some robot startups. In the process, crowdfunding campaigns have helped to catapult hardware and robots into the public eye, captivating our imaginations in the process. Quite simply, crowdfunding is a form of entertainment just as much as it is a form of fundraising. And learning how to tell your story to others is a critical part of turning your idea or project into a product.

It’s the top-of-mind question for every would-be entrepreneur, and with the Robot Launch 2014 competition deadline coming up on March 30, it’s an especially fitting question to pose to our panelists this month.

So how do you get from imagination to market? Here’s what our experts have to say …

by   -   October 29, 2013

After receiving a $1million seed fund round from investors like Google Ventures, many of us have been waiting for Play-i to come out of stealth and show us their stuff. Play-i are a Silicon Valley based startup with a founding team from Amazon, Google, frog design and Apple; Vikas Gupta, Mikal Greaves, Saurabh Gupta and Imran Khan. Play-i aim to make programming simple and affordable for every child.

by   -   October 23, 2013

Last year Congress passed Title III of the JOBS Act to allow smaller companies to get an exemption from the strict and costly rules controlling the sale of securities to individuals.
The SEC has developed equity crowdfunding rules in response to that law – rules that help companies raise capital but also protect investors from scams. Those rules are now out for community review and will be enacted shortly thereafter.
Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and the others can apply to qualify but there will likely be a flurry of new Internet portals just for this purpose.
Let the Wild West begin anew!

interview by   -   September 20, 2013

In this episode Matthew Schroyer speaks with Nick Kohut, CEO of Dash Robotics, about their foldable hexapod robot and the ongoing crowdfunding campaign to get them into the hands of budding engineers, kids and hobbyists.

by   -   September 11, 2013

The Dextrus hand is a robotic hand that can be put together for well under £650 ($1000) and offers much of the functionality of a human hand. Existing prosthetic hands are magnificent devices, capable of providing a large amount of dexterity using a simple control system. The problem is that they cost somewhere between £7,000-£70,000 ($11,000-$110,000) — far too much for most people to afford, especially in developing countries. Through the Open Hand Project, an open source project with the goal of making robotic prosthetic hands more accessible to amputees, a fully-functional prototype has already been developed. An indiegogo campaign is currently underway to provide funds for refining and testing the design.

Dash is the first product to launch today on Dragon Innovation‘s new hardware crowdfunding site. Dragon Innovation was founded in 2009 by Scott Miller and Herman Pang, ex iRobot and Hasbro. Dragon are partnering with GE, Qualcomm and freescale to bring us this new hardware crowdfunding site, which seems to be nicely positioned to accelerate startups somewhere in between Quirky, IndieGogo and the nuts and bolts of real world accelerators. Of course, Dragon are also behind Bolt, Boston’s new hardware accelerator.

Crowdfunding is often cited as one of the mechanisms accelerating robot startups, alongside COTS, reduced costs, rapid prototyping, digital manufacturing, smart phones, connectivity etc. The entire premise of Chris Anderson’s new book “Makers: the new Industrial Revolution” is that we now live in a time when the barriers to hardware production are lower than they’ve ever been before and we are seeing a surge of hardware innovation. But while the general trend is that crowdfunding creates a flourishing environment for startups, is crowdfunding really derisking your robot startup?

by   -   June 27, 2013

While I love getting robots in the mail, crowdfunding sites are also good for supporting a whole range of robot related activities. The 3rd annual Robot Film Festival just launched a Kickstarter campaign to complement ticket sales on Eventbrite. This year, the Robot Film Festival is at Bot&Dolly studios in San Francisco on July 20-21, after very successful previous events in New York.

by   -   September 26, 2012

Kickstarter’s recent decision making it very difficult for hardware projects to use the platform just highlights two very useful things to know about crowdfunding. Firstly, not all crowdfunding platforms are equal. And secondly, the decision to disallow renderings and multiple product rewards only affects the lazy kickstarter projects that probably weren’t going to be successful anyway. Lazy crowdfunding projects make two big mistakes; like hoping that the platform will do all the marketing; or using the project as a learning curve in design, manufacturing and delivery.

by   -   August 14, 2012

SF Bay Area Robotics meetup – August 21 7pm – 8.30pm at Lemnos Labs – is a kickstarter edition. Claire Delauney will share her experience with Botiful, as she reaches the final 12 hours of her Kickstarter and is currently still only 75% 80% funded. There will be a speakers with kickstarter a range of experiences, positive and negative and we discuss what it takes for a successful hardware startup campaign and when Kickstarter or other crowdfunding platforms are a strategic good fit for your project.

One thing to consider before crowdfunding your robot startup, is that around half of all projects don’t get funded. Also, some crowdfunding platforms specialize in creative projects or projects with a lower average target than a hardware startup. Those 6 figure success stories are unusual if you look closely at the data. I’m currently drafting up a deeper look at crowdfunding data vis robots (or product based projects). Crowdfunding can be an amazing tool for launching your robot startup but too many good robots are missing their target due to lack of marketing. Not only is hardware more expensive to launch than an album or even a short film, but we often also lack the fan base.

But at Robot Launchpad, a problem is just an opportunity we haven’t seized yet. We’re going to launch the Launchies! Let’s see who the social network sharp shooters are! The Launchies are awards for robot startup marketing. First topic – Botiful (or #botiful) – Claire Delauney’s ‘Botiful’ kickstarter campaign closes on Wednesday August 22nd and is 75% 80% funded. We should all be backers because Botiful is beautiful, but we want everyone to test their market channels.

  • Best/funniest share of video (check out Elad’s entry already at Robot App Store!)
  • Best/funniest share of picture
  • Best/funniest share of text (tweet or blog)
  • Most number of times #botiful is shared
  • and overall Biggest Social Badass award

plus most creative use of ANY/ALL social networks – not just internet ones!

Don’t make us search for you – send us a link! Awards winners will be announced on Tuesday 21st August at the SF Bay Area Robotics Meetup. There will be trophies and prizes! There will be glory!

March 28, 2020

Are you planning to crowdfund your robot startup?

Need help spreading the word?

Join the Robohub crowdfunding page and increase the visibility of your campaign