Robot Union led by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Programme will select 40 start-ups over three years to develop projects in robotics, linked to manufacturing, agri-food, health and civil infrastructure industries.
The programme will address two challenges that prevent the development and uptake of robotics for entrepreneurs and start-ups: the elevated setup costs and the lack of awareness of potential benefits of robotics.
Ali Muhammad, technical coordinator of the project, VTT, said it wants to encourage European start-ups and SMEs in robotics to develop technology for international markets.
“The Robot Union accelerator will bring the top researchers and entrepreneurs together to stimulate robotics innovations in Europe,” he said.
The first round for start-ups and SMEs to apply is next month where selected applicants will undergo a screening process and the chosen ones will receive financial and technical support.
The most promising candidates will receive a further €1m from the Chrysalix Venture Capital and Odense Seed & Venture for scaling up the technology.
There will be two rounds selecting 20 applicants each and those who qualify will enter an acceleration program of six to 12 months.
Each selected company will receive up to €223k ($276k) equity free for its initial funding stages.
The candidates will receive technical support from partners including VTT; the Danish Technological Institute; TU Delft; Tecnalia and PIAP; and direct access to organizations including MADE, Ferrovial Servicios, Arla Foods and Fenin.
Further support will be given from an international network of recognized mentors, including Google, Airbnb, Ikea, Yahoo, Prisa and Microsoft, among others.
Robot Union plans to boost the visibility of start-ups and SMEs in the robotics sector through their participation in events such as 4YFN Barcelona, Slush and the Web Summit.
It will be publicly presented for the first time during Barcelona Mobile Week and 4YFN 2018, both organized by Mobile World Capital.
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The European Robotics Forum 2018 event will be held in Finland March 13-15, 2018.