“It was a strategic decision to be closer to the largest concentration of manufacturing in the United States, which is here in the Midwest.” — Benjamin Gibbs, CEO of READY Robotics
- READY Robotics & manufacturing tech
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April 29, 2021
READY Robotics and manufacturing tech
Benjamin Gibbs, co-founder and CEO, READY Robotics
Born from cutting-edge robotics research at Johns Hopkins University, READY Robotics is now headquartered in Columbus, OH – within a short drive of 60% of US manufacturing. We spoke to Benjamin Gibbs, the company’s CEO about what they do and where they’re heading.
Tell us about READY Robotics.
Gibbs: What we do is make it easier to program robots for manufacturing applications. A large number of factories, both in the United States and globally, would love to be able to employ more robots. One of the challenges is programming them. We created a platform called Forge/OS which has a conversational programing interface called Task Canvas. It makes robot programming possible without the hassle of learning programming languages.
How did the company begin?
Gibbs: We spun out of Johns Hopkins University. We still have an office there, but our headquarters are here in Columbus, Ohio. We moved here in 2018--it was a strategic decision to be closer to the largest concentration of manufacturing in the United States, which is here in the Midwest.
What is your background?
Gibbs: I’m actually an economist by training. I did my undergrad at Johns Hopkins University and then I worked there for many years in their Technology Ventures Office, helping researchers commercialize their research. My co-founder, Kel Guerin, READY Robotics CIO, has a PhD in robotics and more than ten years experience in robotics, automation, and virtual reality.
"What we do is make it easier to program robots for manufacturing applications. A large number of factories, both in the United States and globally, would love to be able to employ more robots. "
— Benjamin Gibbs, CEO of READY Robotics
The two of us raised venture capital money and we used that to really get things going. Drive Capital led our Series A round in investment in December 2017.
Was it harder to get funding located in Columbus?
Gibbs: I would say it was harder back in the 2016 timeframe. But Drive Capital is here in Columbus so that helped. They’re an interesting group that was started by some West Coast venture capitalists who basically said that there were huge, untapped opportunities here in the Midwest, and they wanted to do something to bring capital toward the effort. They now have over 70 companies in their portfolio and have had eight exits.
Can you give me an example of the programming of a robot that you’ve done?
Gibbs: A lot of our work is being used for machine tending. For example, when you have a lathe or a mill for metal forming, you put a hunk of metal in there and a machine turns it into particular shape for a wide variety of different things. The machine we program puts the piece of metal in, closes the door, and then presses the Start button. And that type of repetitive action is something that robots are very good at. That’s a pretty common application.
So what are your plans moving forward with the company?
Gibbs: We will continue to push on to more robot platforms. We have a new release of our software coming up soon, so we’ll be making some announcements around that.
Minnesota Twins partner with TechStars
MINNEAPOLIS: The Minnesota Twins have announced a partnership with Techstars for a three-year accelerator program based in the Twin Cities. The Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars will be the first of its kind in Minnesota sports.
Astrobotic to launch Griffin lunar lander
PITTSBURGH: Astrobotic has selected SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket in a competitive commercial procurement to launch its Griffin lunar lander to the Moon in late 2023. Griffin will be carrying NASA’s water-hunting Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER).
What is fueling Flyover Country innovation? In this weekly feature, we share a variety of announcements covering funding, acquisitions, exits, grants, and everything in between. Got something to celebrate? Click here to share your story.
Des Moines-based OpenLoop, an online platform that connects clinicians with innovative digital health companies, has closed a $3 million seed. Participants included Next Level Ventures, Panoramic VC, Techstars and ISA Ventures.
- Cellular agriculture startup Cultured Decadence, located in Madison, WI, recently secured $1.6 million in a pre-seed funding round to advance its mission of making lab-grown seafood, particularly lobster.
It's time for our favorite trivia game!
Here are the questions:
- George Webb and Sons was launched as a lunch counter in 1948. It has grown to a chain of restaurants in this state. Name the state and the quirky tradition it’s known for.
- This city contains an underwater vehicular tunnel built by the same firm that build the Holland Tunnel that connects NYC to New Jersey. In what city is the tunnel located?
- The first rock concert in the U.S. happened in what city?
Click here for today's answers.
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