UBR-1

In January 2013, Eric Diehr, Michael Ferguson, Derek King, and myself spun off Unbounded Robotics from Willow Garage to create the UBR-1. We represented the core members of the Robot Development Group at Willow Garage and were excited to build a product for the real world. Over the course of 9 months, we designed and built the UBR-1 platform and began to develop applications for the real world.

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In September 2013, Unbounded Robotics unveiled UBR-1 at Robobusiness 2013 and competed in the first annual Robobusiness Pitchfire. With a full slate of 15 competitors, I pitched to the panel of judges including venture capitalists from Silicon Valley and beyond. The judges included Sven Strohband of Khosla Ventures, Jan Westerhues of Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH, Jeremy Conrad of Lemnos Labs, Renaud Champion of Robolution Capital, and Valery Komissarova of Grishin Robotics. Each of the participants were questioned about their company’s go-to-market strategies, barriers to entry, and value of their solution to the end customer. After much deliberation by the panel of respected judges, Unbounded Robotics was announced the winner and was awarded a full conference pass to Robobusiness, an interview with Robotics Business Review’s startups columnist, as well as a private consultation with an industry luminary.

Over the course of 18 months, we had a great time at Unbounded Robotics building the UBR-1. UBR-1 had a lot of adventures, dressing up for Halloween, hacking with the OSRF, heading to CES for a runway show, and even made an appearance on the TV show Extant. Unfortunately Unbounded didn’t last very long due to the spin-off agreement with Willow Garage. But in retrospect it was worth every up and down and compressing all the experiences of a startup in 18 months.

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