Pittsburgh, PA – September 12, 2023 – The Robotics Factory, an initiative dedicated to creating, accelerating, and growing robotics companies in the Pittsburgh region, is excited to announce that applications are now open for their new Scale Residency Program. This opportunity is suited to both early-stage startups and existing companies looking to take their robotics innovations from concept to commercialization through expert-guided design, prototyping, testing and manufacturing. Selected applicants will gain one-year access to the Robotics Factory's state-of-the-art amenities designed to take their products to market.
"This program offers startups and established companies an opportunity to leverage advanced manufacturing capabilities and expert resources to help further production and commercialization efforts,” said Ven Raju, President and CEO of Innovation Works. “From rapid prototyping to support resources for production at scale, the program enables participants to fast track the development lifecycle."
The Scale Residency Program offers access to advanced prototyping equipment, including a water jet, laser cutter, and CNC machine. It also provides specialized training and prototyping support, the tools and resources necessary to rapidly prototype and test, and flexible co-working space within a vibrant community of startups, mentors, funders, and industry partners.
Managed by Innovation Works and supported by the Pittsburgh Robotics Network, the Scale Residency Program is funded through a $63 million Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant to the Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative.
Jenn Apicella, Interim Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Robotics Network, points out that the Scale Residency Program will help participating companies stand out amongst their peers, saying "As commercial adoption of automation technologies continues to rise across industries, robotics companies have an increased need to design with manufacturing in mind. This valuable program will help companies prepare for increased production and position them to meet the demands of the market."
The application window for this pilot Scale Residency Program closes on Friday, October 6th, 2023. Interested candidates can learn more about the program at https://www.roboticsfactory.org/scale-program and apply at bit.ly/RFScaleApply.
The Robotics Factory's three-pronged approach—Create, Accelerate, Scale—ensures comprehensive support to innovators at every stage. The Create Program focuses on ideation through workshops involving technology experts, researchers, and industry professionals. The Accelerate Program offers intensive mentorship to pre-seed startups. The Scale Program is designed to develop production-ready products by providing industry-leading expertise in product prototyping and services. The Robotics Factory has just moved into their new location, strategically located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s “Robotics Row,” a high-density area of robotics organizations collaborating across various industries.
About Innovation Works
Innovation Works (IW) is the Pittsburgh region’s most active investor in and supporter of early-stage companies developing hardware, software and life sciences technologies. Though focused exclusively on helping startups in the southwest PA region, IW’s level of investment activity makes it one of the most active investors in the U.S. Innovation Works is part of the statewide Ben Franklin Technology Partners, a network of four centers developed to help diversify PA’s economy and retain the state’s high caliber innovations that are invented and incubated here. The Ben Franklin Technology Partners are partially funded by the Commonwealth of PA and overseen by the Department of Community and Economic Development. To date, IW has invested $117 million in over 700 companies that have brought in an additional $3.3 billion in outside funding, making it one of the most productive uses of state dollars.
About the Pittsburgh Robotics Network
The Pittsburgh Robotics Network (PRN) represents the companies and leaders who make up the Pittsburgh robotics ecosystem, which is anchored by Carnegie Mellon University, and driven by 130+ robotics organizations. It is the PRN’s mission to accelerate the adoption of robotic solutions by bridging this large and dynamic community, to the world. The PRN executes this by making connections, expanding collective knowledge and positively influencing the advancement of robotic and artificial intelligence technologies. The Pittsburgh Robotics Network (PRN) is dedicated to empowering and strengthening robotics organizations in the Pittsburgh region and positioning the ecosystem as an internationally recognized powerhouse.
The Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative
The Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative was formed to apply for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, the marquee initiative of the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s American Rescue Plan programs which aims to boost economic recovery from the pandemic and rebuild American communities. The Collaborative is an 11-county coalition, which includes dozens of organizations: community-based organizations, labor unions, educational and research institutions, economic development partners and leaders from the private, public and philanthropic sectors across all of southwestern PA. It focuses on communities that need support, adopting a hub and spoke approach designed to benefit not only the urban core but surrounding communities as well. The Collaborative is led by a board of directors co-chaired by Stefani Pashman, CEO, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, and Farnam Jahanian, president, Carnegie Mellon University. On September 2, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the Collaborative as one of 21 winners of the challenge. The Collaborative will receive $62.7 million to build the region’s robotics and autonomy cluster. The award will fund five regional projects, which together are designed to provide long-term opportunities for individuals, businesses and communities in southwestern Pennsylvania to become involved in the burgeoning robotics and autonomy industry.