TechCrunch original article: https://techcrunch.com/sponsor/hax/pre-seed-to-unicorn-lessons-from-hax-robotics-founders/
SOSV’s HAX, the hands on early stage investor in hard tech, has been making big bets on robotics for ten years, and today the startup development program is the the most active pre-seed investor in robotics in the world. Join HAX partner Garrett Winther and four HAX founders — ranging from its prolific unicorn Opentrons to its more recent seed and series A stage investments — for robotics founder insights across all stages and geographies.
Chiu Chau | Cofounder, Opentrons
Chiu Chau is the Co-Founder and former CEO and CTO of Opentrons, an open-source lab automation company. Opentrons is building biosafety infrastructure for low-cost and rapid result testing, including for Covid-19. Opentrons became a unicorn following a $200m round led by Softbank’s Vision Fund 2 in 2021. Chiu is now an active angel investor.
Pramod Ghadge | CEO & Cofounder, Unbox Robotics
Pramod Ghadge is the Co-Founder and CEO of Unbox Robotics, a leading supply chain robotics company specializing in robotics-based fulfillment and distribution technology for small to large e-commerce, retail, and logistics enterprises. It is on a mission to triumph over global supply chain challenges by helping enterprises of all sizes transition to Industry 4.0 via one-of-its-kind vertical robotic parcel sortation and consolidation systems powered by Swarm Intelligence.”
Kate Ma | CEO & Cofounder, Neptune Robotics
Kate Ma is Co-Founder and CEO of Neptune Robotics. Her team builds robots designed to clean bio-fouling off of the hulls of international cargo ships and bulk carriers, thus reducing friction and improving fuel economy by an average of 15%. Neptune Robotics has already deployed its technology to a number of ports in its native Hong Kong, and large ports in Mainland China, including Ningbo, Zhoushan, Guangzhou, Yantian, Shekou, Zhenjiang, Fangcheng and soon Shanghai, the largest container port in the world. Before starting Neptune, Kate studied Mathematics at Imperial College London and LSE. She then became a qualified actuary at Deloitte London. In 2018, she founded Neptune Robotics with Elizabeth and Jacky.
Faizan Sheikh | CEO & Cofounder, Avidbots
Faizan Sheikh is the CEO and Co-Founder of Avidbots. Faizan has helped develop the Avidbots vision and mission, and he plays a key role with investors and business partners. Avidbots’ fearless leader was born in Pakistan and moved to Canada at the age of 14. He graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in Mechatronics Engineering from the University of Waterloo. After working on a robotics startup in his final year at Waterloo, Faizan would go on to found Avidbots in 2014 with Pablo Molina – a classmate and friend from his university days. Together with Pablo and the team, Faizan has built Avidbots into one of Canada’s fastest-growing robotics companies. When Faizan isn’t working on all-things Avidbots, he’s a green tea connoisseur, indoor gardening buff and loves playing board games with family and friends.
Garrett Winther | Partner, SOSV HAX
Garrett Winther is a Partner at HAX. HAX invests in all forms of early stage Hard Tech, from robotics and industrial IoT to new material science and chemistry. HAX’s in-house team of engineers help founders de-risk their technologies through commercially driven prototyping and product development. Prior to joining HAX, Garrett spent eight years with IDEO, a global design and innovation firm, where he led large innovation programs and global client relationships across a diverse portfolio of automotive, healthcare, retail, and consumer electronics businesses. During his time at IDEO, he and his teams influenced over $80 billion in client’s annual revenue, launched corporate ventures, and formed new innovation organizations in America, Europe, and Asia. Garrett has launched several hardware startups of his own and holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from M.I.T. He is currently building HAX’s presence in Newark and New York City.