Press Release – First German Robotics Entrepreneurship Workshop in Munich

In order to stay ahead in the worldwide competition, we need scientists who have the courage to make use of their knowhow by creating their own business. That’s the theory. That high-tech start-ups in Germany are still in short supply – compared with the United States – is deplored by politicians again and again. Especially in the field of robotics, it seems to be particularly difficult. To counter this, the first German Robotics Entrepreneurship Workshop was held on 27 November 2012 in the CoTeSys Robotics Labs of Technische Universität München, Germany.

Nearly 50 people attended the event, which was initiated by the euRobotics Coordination Action, organized by robotics projects of the Technical University of Munich, the Cluster of Excellence CoTeSys, as well as the EU project ECHORD, and supported by the agency UnternehmerTUM which is specialized on consulting spin-offs.

Dr. Uwe Haass, General Manager of CoTeSys and host for the event, pointed out that this workshop is to focus very intentionally on spin-offs in the robotics field. In addition to the general requirements for starting a business it is important that founders know the challenges in the organization of supply chains between research and products. This information could be useful for creating a business plan.

Worldwide, about 1.2 million industrial robots are in operation, 2011 was the most successful year for the robotics industry. Nevertheless, the big growth is expected in the next few years not with industrial, but with service robots designed to help people in different tasks. With such facts and figures Thilo Zimmermann opened his presentation to raise awareness about the market and the possibilities of spin-off creation.

How a team must be made up in order to lay a good foundation for a start-up company? Do you have to get along with your partners very well and create a harmonious team? This question was vividly illustrated in a little exercise by Dr. Martin Hanauer, UnternehmerTUM. Potential business founders and founders realized that team harmony is not necessarily the best way to set up a high-tech company and grow. The participants followed with great excitement the reports of three founders who differed in both their business objectives in the robotics field as well as in the current state of creating the company: Blackbird robotics – industrial welding robot technology, Synapticon – hardware components and software support for service robots, and MellonTec – Service Robots in golf. As Andrjea Feher of Synapticon claimed, as a founder you have to love your idea, but must not be fallen in love with it, because you always have to make decisions that would otherwise be very difficult. All three founders were unanimous that the process of founding itself was not difficult. Florian Rohrmüller (MellonTec) and Wolfgang Vogl (Blackbird Robotics) highlighted the fact that the university environment was of great help to them in the initial phase, because they could used either available resources or profit from the close contact with professors. Overall, the event was marked by the fact that the organizers and founders could very well empathize with the audience.

Thilo Zimmermann, the initiator of the event, was very pleased: I liked especially the “Spirit” of this event and the enthusiasm of the founders introducing themselves, when they talked about their motivation and how they overcame the challenges. We definitely need more researchers create their own start-up and more such events so that young entrepreneurs encourage same-age students.” Due to the strong interest, the organizers will offer in-depth workshops related to the creation of spin-offs in the robotics area.

“One could notice in the discussion that all three founders had almost the same basic motivation when they started and then they latched themselves to the cause, which I find very impressive,” said one of the participants in the final get-together.

The workshop was held during the second European Robotics Week (26 November to 2 December 2012). A total of 91 organizations from 21 European countries executed more than 199 events and activities on robotics, with the aim to inform the society about the importance of robotics and inspire children and students for robotics.

More information:

Thilo Zimmermann

euRobotics-Projekt, GPS Gesellschaft für Produktionssysteme GmbH Nobelstr. 12, 70569 Stuttgart

Tel.: 0711 68 70 31 42


Dr. Uwe Haass

General Manager CoTeSys, Technische Universität München, Barer Str. 21

80290 München

Tel: +49-89-289-25765

Press release in pdf

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