The aim of the Robot Union acceleration program is to identify, support and fund innovative projects in the robotics industry.
Robot Union aims to address the two major barriers hindering the development and market uptake of robotics technologies for entrepreneurs and start-ups: the elevated setup costs and the lack of awareness of potential benefits of robotics.
The acceleration project is being launched under the framework of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Programme. The VTT Research Centre of Finland will be technical coordinator and lead of over 50% of the investment round alongside FundingBox.
The 20 start-ups and SMEs, selected in each of two open calls, will enter into an acceleration program of six-to-12 months. Each selected company will receive up to €223,000 equity free for its initial funding stages.
The best performing companies participating in the programme, will obtain an additional €1m of private investment from the Chrysalix Venture Capital and Odense Seed & Venture, Robot Union revealed.
The first call for start-ups and SMEs is planned for launch in April 2018.
In addition to access to funding, the programme will bring together research centres, large corporations and innovative start-ups and SMEs.
There will be “extensive technical support” provided by the leading institutes in robotics R&D in Europe: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the Danish Technological Institute, TU Delft, Tecnalia and PIAP.
The participants will also have access to a wide international network of recognised mentors from Google, Airbnb, Ikea, Yahoo, Prisa and Microsoft, among others.
The entrepreneurs will also have direct contact with leaders of the manufacturing, agri-food companies as well as health and civil infrastructure industries. From the food sector, dairy cooperative Arla Foods has already signed up for the programme.
“The Robot Union accelerator will bring the top researchers and entrepreneurs together to stimulate new robotics innovations in Europe,” said the Technical Coordinator of the project Ali Muhammad at VTT.