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Summary:

Competing startups can win cash, mentoring and legal services. The winner will be announced May 20.

Brooklyn Robot Foundry
photo: Signe Brewster

What is a robot? The definition is more contentious than you might realize. But RoboHub and Silicon Valley Robotics have a definition for robot startups, which are eligible to compete in the global Robot Launch competition they launched today.

According to the Silicon Valley Robotics website, a robot startup can be any of the following:

“It could be a robot or an autonomous mobile manipulator. Or it could be an appliance or connected device. Or it could be a sensor or actuator or AI that makes robots better.”

Robot Launch 2014 logoThat makes the range of eligible startups fairly broad, but it’s still an exciting development for the robotics industry, which can have a difficult time attracting early money outside of military applications. Interest is growing due to advancement in technology like drones and home robotics, and there’s even a consumer robotics dedicated investment company now. A competition will be a welcome addition.

The whole process will be conducted remotely. Finalists will submit a two minute pitch video and the final round will be judged live over a video stream.

Cash, mentoring and legal services are among the prizes offered by firms like Indiegogo, Grishin Robotics, Bosch Venture Capital and Lemnos Labs. Startups, which must have not yet completed a Series A round, have through March 30 to enter. The top 30 entrants, and then finalists, will be announced in April. The winners will showcase their work on May 20.

We’re looking for startups with prototypes and business models,” the RoboHub site says. “But we’re also interested in any great robot startup idea. …”