The Founder Institute, NASA Ames, and MassRobotics Launch AI & Robotics Accelerator

The Founder Institute AI & Robotics Accelerator in Boston is intended to help entrepreneurs build companies of the future.

NASA/Mars Institute/Haughton-Mars Project

The K10 robot from NASA Ames, near the HMP Research Station.
The Founder Institute is combining its networking expertise with NASA Ames Research Center's technical expertise and MassRobotics' startup support to help robotics entrepreneurs.

Innovators and startups in emerging technologies are always looking for more networking and funding opportunities. The Founder Institute today announced that it has partnered with NASA Ames Research Center and MassRobotics to create the Founder Institute AI & Robotics Accelerator program in Boston. The new initiative will support entrepreneurs in robotics, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, drones, aerospace, augmented and virtual reality, and related technologies.

“In the past year or so, everyone has experienced firsthand how fragile our world is and how normal can change in the blink of an eye, so that’s why it is so important that founders focus on impact-driven ventures,” stated Ignacio Castro, managing director of the Boston Founder Institute. “Our partnership with NASA and MassRobotics symbolizes our continued support of founders who are building advanced technologies that can positively impact humanity as we desperately need it.”

The Founder Institute described itself as “the world's largest pre-seed startup accelerator.” The Palo Alto, Calif.-based organization has chapters across 90 countries and said it has helped more than 5,000 entrepreneurs since 2009 get the focus and support they need to build businesses that matter.

AI & Robotics Accelerator Program offers benefits

The Founder Institute AI & Robotics Accelerator Program runs in parallel with the Boston Founder Institute program. Its stated goals include the following assistance for entrepreneurs to build world-changing technology companies:

  • Connections to select software and technologies from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., for licensing opportunities
  • Mentorship opportunities with subject-matter experts from the Founder Institute, MassRobotics, and NASA Ames as appropriate
  • Several fellowships awarded to top program applicants, enabling them to participate in the program for free
  • Lifetime of startup support and resources from the Founder Institute’s Global Accelerator Program
  • Local and global support network of entrepreneurs, investors, and advisors
  • More than $2 million in partner deals and resources

The Founder Institute its partnership with NASA Ames will help startup founders connect with its software and technologies, while providing a robust global network of startup resources from MassRobotics.

MassRobotics is an organization devoted to encouraging the development of the Massachusetts robotics ecosystem and has deep expertise and an extensive support network to help early-stage startups.

Partners and alumni

Supporting partners of the Founder Institute AI & Robotics Accelerator Program include:

“There is no shortage of problems facing humanity, but there is a shortage of ambitious entrepreneurs trying to solve them,” said Adeo Ressi, CEO of the Founder Institute. “The goal of this partnership with NASA and MassRobotics is to empower the brave entrepreneurs trying to change the world.”

“NASA has had a long history of finding new, innovative uses for its space and aeronautics technologies,” said Kimberly Minafra, Software Release Authority, Technology Transfer program at NASA Ames Research Center. “We look forward to helping connect NASA technology to startups that can effectively commercialize the technology for the betterment of life on Earth.”

“This is a unique partnership with a global early-stage acceleration program like the Founder Institute and a global powerhouse of space innovation,” added Fady Saad, co-founder and vice president of strategic partnerships at MassRobotics. “We are excited to share our network and expertise in the robotics, AI and IoT spaces to create a better world for generations to come”

The Founder Institute said it has helped build robotics and AI companies including

  • Oakland, Calif.-based Ceres Robotics Inc., which is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program
  • Denver, Colo.-based Atomos Space, an award-winning company developing in-space transportation services
  • Redwood City, Calif.-based Endiatx, which is developing a pill robot capable of traversing the gastrointestinal tract in 30 minutes

Introduction to accelerator program

To introduce and celebrate the new program, the Founder Institute Boston plans to host the following free events:

Early-stage entrepreneurs interested in building AI & Robotics startups in Boston are encouraged to apply at The final deadline for applications is Sept. 12, and the program will run from Sept. 21, 2021, to Jan. 26, 2022.

MassRobotics discusses how to build a robotics startup.

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NASA/Mars Institute/Haughton-Mars Project

The K10 robot from NASA Ames, near the HMP Research Station.

Robot Technologies