Nonprofit robotics innovation hub MassRobotics recently announced the first cohort of its MassRobotics Accelerator, which is funded through support from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech).
The inaugural cohort was announced at MassRobotics annual partner’s celebration. The three month accelerator program began on February 5, 2024.
$5 million initiative to support R&D, commercialization
The MassRobotics Accelerator is funded by a recently-announced $5 million state initiative managed by MassTech to boost the robotics sector in Massachusetts. The initiative includes a focus on expansion of research and development (R&D), testing, commercialization, and workforce development throughout Massachusetts.
Through the equity-free accelerator program, each participating startup will be awarded a $100,000 non-dilutive grant from MassTech.
“Through this funding model, we’re providing the financial boost to give them the time to improve their product through R&D, customer engagement, and through the expert feedback they’ll receive through the MassRobotics Accelerator,” said Peter Haas, director of the robotics department at MassTech. Haas recently joined MassTech to lead the new department established within the Innovation Institute at MassTech.
Ten startup participants to present at Robotics Summit in May
MassRobotics said more than 140 startups applied to this program, with applicants representing more than 25 countries. The selection committee was composed of roboticists, entrepreneurs, and academics.
The inaugural MassRobotics Accelerator cohort included ten startups: Apparel Robotics, brd BOT, Gopher Motion, Hominid X, Mapless AI, Oligo, Robotics 88, rStream, SIMPL Automation, and Yard Robotics.
During the course of the program, startups will be provided a curriculum of business topics spanning customer discovery, value proposition discovery, manufacturing, fundraising tactics, and team management.
“Technical founders can often jump to product-building mode before intimately understanding their end user and customer,” said Marita McGinn, director of the MassRobotics Accelerator. “During this program, our startups will each complete at least 25 customer discovery interviews in an effort to hone in on their customer pain and needs.”
“Our goal is to help these brilliant technical founders to bolster their business acumen through this curriculum,” McGinn said.
The MassRobotics Accelerator will culminate with a showcase, hosted at the Robotics Summit & Expo in Boston on May 1-2, 2024. Additionally, each startup will be presenting at a session on May 1 at 4:15 p.m.
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