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Robotics Factory Scale Program Announces Residency Pilot Cohort

PITTSBURGH — March 7, 2024 — The Robotics Factory, a division of Innovation Works dedicated to creating, accelerating, and scaling robotics companies in the Pittsburgh region, has accepted five companies to its Scale Residency program. ESTAT Actuation, KEF Robotics, Thiopoly, Thorne Baby, and Piximo.

These five companies receive one year of access to the Robotics Factory’s facilities in the Tech Forge building in Lawrenceville, part of “Robotics Row.” The program also provides hands-on support, access to cutting-edge tools, grant funding, connections to local manufacturers, and educational resources to support rapid prototyping and manufacturing.

“The Scale program helps these companies grow from concept to commercialization,” said Kevin Dowling, Managing Director of the Robotics Factory. “Our staff of engineers and entrepreneurs offer guidance to these budding startups, all of which have found a fit in their respective markets and further solidify this region as a global robotics hub.”

Pittsburgh is home to more than 100 robotics companies, a sector that is increasingly attractive to investors. The pilot cohort of the Scale program covers a range of capabilities.

●      ESTAT Actuation: creates electroadhesive clutches and brakes that are 10 times lighter, 10 times more compact, and 1,000 times more efficient than conventional hardware.

●      KEF Robotics: provides state-of-the-art autonomy software to fly pilotless aircraft.

●      Thiopoly: develops an accurate physical library of medications to ensure highly accurate dispensing systems.

●      Thorne Baby: produces a play yard that opens automatically with no assembly required and is made for easy in-home mobility and on-the-go portability

●      Piximo: constructs mobile minimarts operated by remote drivers and provides products within crowds.

In the residency program, companies undergo training in designing products for manufacturability by creating functional prototypes. They are connected with suitable manufacturers in the Pittsburgh region, enabling them to expand their supply chain and enhance production scalability.

The Scale residency program is funded through a $63 million Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant awarded to the Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative.

Learn more about the Scale Residency program.

About the Robotics Factory

The Robotics Factory is a division of Innovation Works to create, accelerate, and scale companies in the Pittsburgh region, one of the robotics capitals of the world. The programs provide entrepreneurs with the capital, tailored mentorship, and manufacturing and robotics resources they need to grow their companies. The Robotics Factory launched in 2023 as part of the $63 million Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant awarded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to the Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative. Learn more at

About Innovation Works

Innovation Works (IW) is one of the most active early-stage investors in the country and the most active early-stage investor in the State of Pennsylvania. To date, IW has invested in over 700 companies that have gone on to raise $3.3 billion in follow-on funding. IW portfolio companies have generated and retained over 20,000 jobs in the State of Pennsylvania. IW is part of the Ben Franklin Technology Partner Network (BFTP). Over the last 30 years, the BFTP has catalyzed economic growth by providing access to capital and networks that help to foster innovation and technology-based economic development in Pennsylvania.


Jane Joseph

Innovation Works

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Lexie Capperella

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