I had the privilege of speaking at the ribbon cutting for MassRobotics, the world’s first shared office/lab/machine shop space for robotics in Boston’s Seaport/Innovation District. Here are my remarks:
Good afternoon. My name is Tom Hopcroft and I am the President & CEO of the Mass Technology Leadership Council. We are the state’s largest tech industry organization. Our members range from early stage startup to global enterprise, and collectively represent over 170K people or 60% of the tech sector in MA.
All one needs to do is take a walk around the Innovation District and you’ll see that tech is thriving in MA. In four of the last five years we’ve added about 5K people to the tech economy. In the most recent year, that number jumped to 12K people.
Amidst this tech renaissance, there are macro trends at play. We are at an inflection point as we enter the Fourth Industrial Age, an era characterized by the instrumenting and automating of the physical world. And, for Massachusetts, this is our sweet spot.
When it comes to smart connected machines and devices – robots and the Internet of Things – Massachusetts draws on a legacy four decades deep of data, analytics, artificial intelligence, sensors, actuators, advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity, which may not make us the best place in the world to start the next Web 2.0 or social media company, but sure tees us up well to be the center of the robotics and IoT startup renaissance.
It feels like it’s been a long time coming. At MassTLC, we’ve been convening, building connections, and advocating for the robotics community on a regular basis for over a dozen years. We issued the first reports on the cluster in 2009, and later in 2013, showcasing the strength and diversity or our ecosystem. We recognized robotics leaders, companies and innovations each year. We traveled with the cluster to places like Pittsburgh and Washington, DC, to be sure that Massachusetts was well represented.
In fact, it was through our cluster meetings, led on my team by Joyce Sidopoulos and co-chaired by Tom Ryden, that Daniel & Fady and Tye & Steve came together with their respective ideas, developed and refined their plans with regular inputs from the community, then moved heaven and earth to create what is today MassRobotics.
I often say that I have the best job in the world as I get to hang around with the people who are literally creating the future, from bionic limbs and exoskeletons to self-driving cars.
In their decision to relocate to Massachusetts, innovative companies that actually make things – like Amazon Robotics, Vecna Technologies, and GE – continue to validate that there’s something special going on here with smart connected machines and devices.
MassRobotics comes onto the scene not a moment too early. I am honored to be a founding partner and to serve on the board, and I cannot wait to see all the great things to come.