Case Study: How MassTLC Helped Facilitate the Creation of a Robotics Innovation Hub

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Photo credit: MassRobotics

Fueling the Future of Robotics

MassTLC established the Mass Robotics Cluster in 2004 to bring together companies, institutions, and individuals engaged in robotics research, education, product design, and commercialization. During these meetings, industry leaders discuss breakthrough ideas—one of which was developing an innovation hub and co-working space for robotics. In 2015, that idea came to fruition with the launch of MassRobotics, an independent, nonprofit center that unites new startups and established organizations to promote economic growth and innovation.

Background

The robotics industry is growing rapidly across New England. To foster the development of this important sector, MassTLC established the Mass Robotics Cluster to bring together companies, institutions, and individuals engaged in robotics research, education, product design, and commercialization. For the last decade, MassTLC has been building a collaborative community and raising awareness regionally, nationally and globally about New England’s vibrant robotics industry.

Situation

During a Robotics Cluster meeting in 2014, Daniel Theobald, CTO of Vecna Technologies, began the conversation of developing an innovation hub to unite the region’s robotics leaders and foster the next generation of robotics startups. This idea—originally developed by Fady Saad now Co-Founder & Director of Partnerships at MassRobotics—received overwhelming support from MassTLC’s Robotics Cluster.

At the same time, Tye Brady and Steve Paschall of Draper were independently in grassroots discussions with the local entrepreneurial community about the need for a robotics innovation hub. They wrote an initial vision, mission, and organizational architecture for a robotics co-working, shared-infrastructure facility they called MassRobotics.

Solution

MassTLC Robotics Cluster Manager Joyce Sidopoulos and Cluster Co-Chair Tom Ryden met and spoke with both groups earlier that summer, and realizing parallel ventures, connected the two teams. They decided to work together to make the concept a reality and sought regular input from the MassTLC Robotics Cluster community.

The founding team solicited the aid of Tim Rowe, CEO & founder of the Cambridge Innovation Center and co-founder of Lab Central, who agreed to chair the Board of Directors. Tom Hopcroft, President & CEO of MassTLC and a member of MassRobotics’ Board of Directors, facilitated a relationship with Foley Hoag to represent the organization. Joyce Sidopoulos and Tom Ryden continued to lend their support to the newly formed organization.

On April 28, 2015, MassRobotics officially kicked off the venture and subsequently opened their new co-working space on February 17, 2017, equipped with the prototyping facilities and testing space needed for robotics development.

About MassTLC

The Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) is the region’s leading technology association and the premier network for tech executives, entrepreneurs, investors and policy leaders. MassTLC’s purpose is to accelerate innovation by connecting people from across the technology landscape, providing access to industry-leading content and ideas and offering a platform for visibility for member companies and their interests.