10 Finalists Named in Cowen Startup Challenge; Winner to Be Named at Automate

Cowen Startup Challenge will spotlight innovative technologies, award $10,000 prize on June 7.

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Finalists in the Cowen Startup Challenge will pitch their technologies at Automate.
The Cowen Startup Challenge: Automate to Perform has named this year's 10 finalists, which will present their innovative technologies and exhibit at the Automate show.

At the Automate 2022 Show and Conference next month in Detroit, 10 startups will compete for a $10,000 prize in “The Cowen Startup Challenge: Automate to Outperform.” The competition will recognize young companies and entrepreneurs driving innovations in robotics, machine vision, artificial intelligence, and other automation technologies.

“Our startup challenge at Automate has grown to be a favorite event, where the latest innovations showcase where automation is heading today,” stated Alex Shikany, vice president of membership and business intelligence at the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), which organizes Automate. “As we’ve seen from previous winners such as Soft Robotics, Innovative Mechatronic Systems BV, and Apellix, each of these startups show great promise.”

“While only one will win the $10,000, they will all come away from Automate with new contacts and potential customers eager to take advantage of their offerings,” he added.

Finalists to tout the benefits of automation

The 10 finalists—each of which launched under five years ago and have raised less than $5 million since creation—will pitch their technologies to a panel of industry expert judges during the June 7 finals. As finalists, they have already won a complimentary exhibit space at Automate to engage with the expected 20,000 attendees.

“Startups are important for manufacturing as they constantly challenge the status quo,” said Peter Abeles, the founder of finalist NINOX 360.  “Manufacturing is a capital-intensive industry, due to complex machinery and long development time. Startups can present new and unique ways to tackle problems, offering the opportunity to rapidly test and iterate upon them.”

“We are excited to be a part of the largest robotics and automation show in the U.S.,” said Matthew Bilsky, Ph.D., founder of FLX Solutions. “As a startup, we are developing the next generation of robotics hardware, and this competition allows us a forum to share it with the community.”

The finalists include:

  • Aivero AS (Stavanger, Norway; Booth 4353), is a Scandinavian startup founded in 2017 with a mission to democratize automation by simplifying robotic control so that anyone can deploy and operate them in a robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) model. No more code, programming, or complex path planning—vision-guided robotics automates this, too, it said.
  • Covision Quality (Brixen, Italy; Booth 4453), which automates and scales visual inspection with unsupervised machine learning technology. The startup said production lines can install its software within one hour and reduce pseudo-scrap rates by up to 90%.
  • FLX Solutions (Bethlehem, Pa.; Booth 4354), whose first product is a patented 1-in. snake-like robot that is able to fit into spaces humans cannot easily access to inspect, map, and then perform any required maintenance.
  • INNOCISE GmbH (Saarbrücken, Germany; Booth 4454), which produces special polymers capable of handling components from several meters to less than 10 microns with the highest precision and maximum efficiency, based on Gecomer Technology. Inspired by the so-called Gecko effect, picking and placing of the component works without external energy and without any residues – by using van der Waals interactions.
  • InOrbit Inc. (Mountain View, Calif.; Booth 4355), the leading provider of software-as-a-service (SaaS) robot operations, or RobOps—DevOps for robotics. InOrbit offers a secure, scalable, cloud-based robot management and analytics platform that enables robotics companies and their customers to develop, deploy and operate smart robots at global scale. Its platform is designed to seamlessly integrate with your existing programs and other services, bringing RobOps to scale.
  • Neurocle Inc. (Seoul, South Korea; Booth 4455), a leading and innovative company that incorporates deep learning technology into the field of computer vision. Its software, Neuro-T, Neuro-X, Neuro-R, provides excellent usability with automated data management and modeling process.
  • NINOX 360 LLC (Redwood City, Calif.; Booth 4356), offers the benefits of automation with minimal infrastructure with its poka-yoke (a.k.a. error proofing) systems and vision-based inspections.
  • Quotebeam Inc. (Redwood City, Calif.; Booth 4456), a marketplace for automation parts, quotes, and collaboration.
  • Scalable Robotics Inc. (Boston; Booth 4357), a MassRobotics resident, this industrial robotics startup offers human-robot interaction techniques that enable people who know their process to intuitively show a robot what needs to be done, and its scalable system automatically creates a robust and high-quality program.
  • Voaige (Pittsburgh; Booth 4457), which is building re-programmable Operating AI for robotic arms to automate complex tasks in logistics and manufacturing.

Cowen sponsors startup challenge at A3 event 

Cowen Inc., a multinational, independent investment bank and diversified financial services company, is sponsoring this year's Cowen Startup Challenge.

Founded in 1918, Cowen operates through two business segments: a broker dealer and an investment management division. The New York-based company’s broker dealer division offers investment banking services, equity and credit research, sales and trading, prime brokerage, global clearing, and commission management services. Cowen’s investment management segment offers actively managed alternative investment products.

The Association for Advancing Automation promotes automation technologies and ideas that transform the way business is done. Members of A3 represent nearly 1,100 automation manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, academic institutions, research groups, and consulting firms from around the world.

A3 hosts a number of industry-leading events, including the Automate Preview Series (ongoing), Automate (June 6 to 9), and the Autonomous Mobile Robot & Logistics Week and The Vision Show (Oct. 11 to 13 in Boston).

The Scalable Robotics platform allows a human welder to teach a task to the robot in the same way someone would teach another person -- just by pointing to where the weld should be applied and letting the robot learn the path on its own.

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Finalists in the Cowen Startup Challenge will pitch their technologies at Automate.

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