June 21, 2017
Robots and More Robots! Your Preview of the Upcoming TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics Event at MIT

TechCrunch is coming to Boston for an event on July 17th at MIT titled: TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics.

It is no secret that Boston has a very deep and rich history when it comes to robotics. iRobot was the first company to hit scale with a consumer product with the Roomba; Kiva Systems automated warehouses; Rethink Robotics is changing the world of manufacturing; and you have probably seen the videos featuring the robots created by Boston Dynamics. I could go on and on, as there are far too many companies to mention in the Boston area.

Then, on top of it all, you have a tremendous amount of research coming out of the area, especially at MIT.

Once you put in all together, you have the perfect situation for a day-long, deep dive into the robotics industry and that is exactly what TechCrunch is bringing to you.

I caught up with Emma Comeau, TechCrunch's U.S. Director of Events to learn more about this event on July 17th.

If you are interested in attending, you can purchase tickets by clicking here. As a VentureFizz reader, you can use our promo code: VF10 - for a 10% discount.

Keith Cline:  Our audience is familiar with the Meetup + Pitch-Off events that TechCrunch has previously held in Boston.  The “Sessions” format is a new one.  Can you tell us more about it and what the attendees can expect from attending?
Emma Comeau:  TechCrunch Sessions are quite distinct from our Meetup events in that TC Sessions gives us a whole day to deep-dive into a specific topic - in this instance, Robotics.

We’re expecting a pretty diverse crowd not just from the robotics “establishment” but also from founders who are interested in discovering insights from successful robotics founders and VCs who have been investing in this category or those interested in funding robotics companies.

We already have individuals from Greycroft Partners, Faraday Future, Boston Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and many more attending as well as academics from prestigious educational institutes from across the country. The event will feature traditional panels alongside workshops with tons of networking.

Our goal is to ensure that everyone who attends this event feels like they are a part of the robotics community. If you’re an investor, inventor, engineer, student or founder interested in robotics - this event is for you.
KC:  Why did you choose Boston as the site to host this event?
Boston is undoubtedly the epicenter of robotics innovation in the US with one of the highest concentrations of robotics companies in the world — 122 and counting — as well as many of the world’s most important research and education facilities. Plus, the startup scene has always been very robust - which is one of the reasons why TechCrunch always comes back to the Boston area!
KC:  What are some of the topics which will be covered?
We’ll be taking on several interesting topics throughout the day like a robot’s role in humanity, the education of the next generation of roboticists, how to build a robotics startup, venture capital funding trends in robotics, and the future of artificial intelligence. There’s an all-star main stage line up - we’ll be talking to leaders from Amazon, Disney Imagineering, iRobot, ABB, Intel, Veo Robotics and get a sneak peek into some of the hottest project coming out of MIT’s CSAIL.
KC:  As one might expect from a TechCrunch event, there’s still a pitch-off competition.  Can you share the four companies competing?
Certainly - we’ve just announced our four pitch-off competitors: 

  1. CP Robotics is based on patented software that makes robots able to automatically plan processes, such as grinding, milling, welding, plasma-cutting etc., based on a quick initial 3D scanning.
  2. Hand4help is developing low-cost, multi functional, 3D-printed robotic hand prosthesis for amputees.
  3. The Tangible Media Group in the MIT Media Lab has developed a robotic haptic interface to give physical form to virtual objects.
  4. Franklin Robotics has developed and will demonstrate Tertill, a robot that weeds personal gardens. 

KC:  There’s going to be a lot to learn on July 17th.  What excites you the most?
There’s so much to look forward to but I’m personally most excited about the DARPA workshop session. They are going to give us a sneak peek into their approach for developing national security technologies and find out how they collaborate with the broader science and technology ecosystem. 

Keith Cline is the Founder of VentureFizz.  Follow him on Twitter: @kcline6.​​