RobotUnion launches its first open call with €8 million equity-free funding for startups and SMEs

By April 17, 2018Uncategorized


  • Launched within the framework of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, it is the first European acceleration project that discovers, supports and funds innovative projects in the robotics industry
  • In this open call, the programme will select 20 European companies that develop innovative projects in the field of robotics linked to agri-food, healthcare, civil engineering and manufacturing

 RobotUnion, the pan-European acceleration programme related to the robotics industry, has launched its first call with €2million equity-free funding for startups and SMEs. Through this call, RobotUnion will select 20 startups that will develop projects in the field of robotics linked to agri-food, healthcare, civil engineering and manufacturing.

Each selected company will receive up to €223,000 equity-free for its initial funding stage as well as access to technological support from European robotics experts and business acceleration services. The best performing companies participating in the programme may obtain an additional €1 million of private investment in funding rounds lead by the VCs CHRYSALIX and ODENSE SEED AND VENTURE, with the support of BLUMORPHO.

RobotUnion aims to address the two major barriers that hinder the development and market uptake of robotics technologies: the elevated setup costs and the lack of awareness of the high potential that robotics represents for entrepreneurs and startups.


The programme: from research to setting up

The 20 startups and SMEs selected in the first open call launched by RobotUnion will initiate an acceleration process of 6 to 12 months. For the first time, the participants will be accompanied from their research phase all the way through setting up the business.

The process is divided into 4 phases where, in addition to equity-free funding, the companies will receive extensive technical and technological support provided by the leading institutes in robotics R&D in Europe: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Danish Technological Institute, TU DELFT, TECNALIA and PIAP. The participants will also receive business acceleration, led by digital business school ISDI.

The startups selected will take part in a rigorous and personalised training programme and will have access to ISDI’s international network of recognised mentors from Google, Airbnb, Ikea, Yahoo, Prisa and Microsoft, among others. A special voucher scheme will be initiated by project coordinator FundingBox, giving accelerated companies access to a range of service providers via a one-of-a-kind marketplace fully dedicated to supporting robotics companies.

The entrepreneurs will also have direct contact with leaders of agri-food, healthcare, civil engineering and manufacturing sector through the participation of organisations including MADE, Ferrovial Servicios, ARLA Foods and FENIN.

RobotUnion will further boost the visibility of startups and SMEs in the robotics sector taking part in top international events such as 4YFN at MWC Barcelona, Automatica Munich, Slush and Web Summit.

A sector with challenges to overcome

The European Commission’s Horizon 2020 innovation frameworks has clearly identified that “There is a requirement to stimulate SMEs in the robotics sector to develop novel and innovative technology that has the potential to open new markets”.

To address this need, RobotUnion is designed to reduce the two main sectorial barriers faced by startups and SMEs in the robotics industry. The programme will bring together research centres, large corporations and innovative startups, with the aim of overcoming the elevated costs associated with the development of specific technologies for market entry. RobotUnion will also work with the selected companies and their respective ecosystems to overcome the psychological barriers and concerns that hinder the generation of entrepreneurial R&D projects in the area of robotics.

RobotUnion was officially presented for the first time during “Barcelona Mobile Week” and 4YFN 2018, both organised by Mobile World Capital Barcelona.

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