The robotics factory moves to the Tech Forge in Lawrenceville

The new Robotics Consortium is coming to Robotics Row in the Lawrenceville – Pittsburgh area for robotics organizations across a variety of stages of development and in various industries.

The Robotics Factory, which creates, accelerates, and expands robotics startups in the region, moves into the 18,000-square-foot Tech Forge building on 47th Street on Aug. 1. It will provide a collaborative space as well as critical manufacturing capabilities to help emerging startups scale their businesses.

Pittsburgh’s large and innovative robotics industry has raised $3.4 billion in venture capital and private equity since 2012 and employs more than 14,900 people. It is considered one of the top three regions for robotics in the world, along with Boston and the Bay Area.

The project is supported by Innovation Works, the Pittsburgh Robotics Network, and the Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative, a coalition of leading universities in the region, and philanthropic and private sector partners.

The Pittsburgh Botnet Network represents over 100 bot organizations in the Pittsburgh botnet ecosystem. Anchored by Carnegie Mellon University, this network brings industry and market connections to its members.

“There are a lot of challenges[in robotics],” says Jennifer Apicella, interim executive director of the Pittsburgh Robotics Network. “So it’s great that these startups have so many support systems working for them.”

The site was also supported by a $63 million Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant from the US Economic Development Administration to the Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative. The grant also funds four other regional projects.

“The bot ecosystem has been here for decades,” says Apicella. “It’s been quietly growing here and we’ve had businesses that have been in business for 10 to 20 years.”

The robot factory runs three main programmes.

Create is an innovative space for entrepreneurs, technology experts, researchers and industry professionals to tackle industry challenges.

Accelerate is an intensive seven-month program that pays up to six robotics startups with up to $100,000 in funding, mentorship with companies in the Pittsburgh Robotics Network, and other resources to grow their companies. The new space will contain a production class prototype store and a robotics lab.

The first six companies selected by Innovation Works will move to the new location shortly after the Robotics Factory move to:

  • Aquatic biologists use robots to survey underwater structures.
  • Cell X Technologies develops and manufactures regenerative medicines.
  • Grasp Robotics is developing robotic hands and other humanoid robots.
  • Leaficent helps growers control light through “light watering.”
  • Velo.AI develops pedestrian and cycling transportation networks.
  • Voaige uses AI in the retail and food industries.

The third robot factory program, Scale, offers industry expertise in prototyping products and services.

“The hardware is tough,” adds Apicella. “We want to make sure these entrepreneurs and companies have as many tools as possible to succeed. This is through relationships, strategic partnerships, and industry networks so we can help them get to market faster.”

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