From pitch to €5 million investment
InnovationQuarter invests in innovations with a societal impact in the Dutch province of South-Holland. The latest investment that the regional development company has made in Robot Robots Company (RRC) from The Hague is a good example of this. The Hague alderman Ingrid van Engelshoven announced the investment today at the Access to Capital investment event on the HSD Campus. One year ago, RRC was pitching themselves at Access to Capital during the Cyber Security Week 2015, where some of the first contacts were made. The investment in the RRC robotics company of more than €5 million by InnovationQuarter, Rabobank Regio Den Haag, and a consortium of strategic and financial partners has made the market introduction in Europe and further developments of robots for healthcare and safety and security possible.
New generation of robots
Whereas robots were originally used for boring, heavy or dangerous work in factories, a new generation of robots is now entering our lives. They help the elderly or guard a building. Robot Robots Company (RRC) is a robotics company from The Hague that focuses on two focus areas: healthcare and security. The company shows how robots can be used in a wider context than, for example, in the smart industry. Crossovers with other sectors are possible. The wider and more intelligent application of innovation will lead to more economic returns.
Martin Roos, CEO of RRC and owner of Lobeco has had a passion for robotics and state of the art technology for years. He sees the most possibilities for robotics in the healthcare and security markets: “We are convinced that scale and reusable technological building blocks are needed in order to develop advanced robots. We believe that the design of robots should be practical and functional. This is only possible by focusing our dedication and knowledge on specific vertical markets,” Roos explains.
“The LEA care robot will be put into the market by Robot Care Systems and the SAM and SAM XL security robots by Robot Security Systems. Custom robots based on our building blocks are made at Robot Engineered Systems. These three companies with 40 highly educated developers make up Robot Robots Company. All together, we work passionately on creating useable robots that make a difference.”
Roos continues: “From the start we have worked intensively with TU Delft and Robo Valley. They have granted us access to international networks, talents, and the latest technology. A good example is the collaborative effort to develop the WEpods autonomous neighbourhood bus. We are grateful for the confidence shown by this large investment. We will apply these funds to develop robots further and market them internationally.”
Robots for healthcare
To help the elderly to function independently for longer and enjoy a fulfilling life. That was the goal of Serbian entrepreneur Maja Rudinac when she developed LEA (Lean Elderly Assistant), a robot in the form of a walker. The LEA robot helps people to stand up, walk, and avoid all obstacles in their houses. Moreover, the LEA robot helps them pick up objects, get food from the kitchen, wake up on time, and remember to take their medication.
The increasing ageing of the population and the financial pressure to allow the elderly to live independently longer, has reinforced the necessity for care support. Robotics can be a good solution. Their ability to assist in the daily routine, stimulate people to stay active, and their integrated communication system that lets their users stay in contact with friends, family and carers makes the LEA care robot an interactive and helpful ‘buddy’ for elderly people, helping them to live independently longer.
Robot Care Systems (RCS) has been awarded the Herman Wijffels Innovation Award 2015 in the category of Vital Communities & Care. This innovation award by Rabobank came with an amount of €30,000. Maja Rudinac also won the Shell LiveWIRE Award 2015 with the LEA care robot, winning a €20,000 award.
Robots for security
Robot Security Systems (RSS) intends to make security cost-effective and available 24/7 by means of robots that guard buildings and grounds. The development of SAM, the mobile robot that patrols, detects and communicates, is based on it supporting and/or taking over work from security guards, receptionists and mobile security guards, and supporting incident room operators.
SAM is pre-programmed with various features including a floor plan, the locations of the detectors and the plans of action for the security personnel. During its rounds, SAM continuously uses its laser scanner to make a digital map of its surroundings and detect all kinds of things. Its intelligent thermal camera enables it to recognize people who it can then ask for identification. If there are any obstacles, such as boxes that have not been stored properly, SAM can detect them with its 360° camera. It can then adjust its route and evade the obstacle until it has been removed.
SAM is also in contact with the alarm system of the premises or the site. If an alarm is triggered, SAM immediately receives its location, thus ensuring quick verification of the alarm. Meanwhile the incident room, police or fire department can request live images from SAM’s camera.
In 2015, the SAM security robot was one of the five finalists of the Accenture Awards in the Safe & Secure Society category.
From pitch to investment
One of the prerequisites for innovation is access to funding. That’s why Martin Roos pitched his investment proposition for the SAM security robot at the Access to Capital event, organised by The Hague Security Delta (HSD), Rabobank Regio Den Haag, and InnovationQuarter, during the 2015 Cyber Security Week. And now, one year later, this successful pitch has led to a substantial investment of more than €5 million by InnovationQuarter, Rabobank Region Den Haag, MAKIS holding BV, CbusineZ and Else B.V. in the Robot Robots Company group of companies.
Francis Quint, Head of InnovationQuarter Capital: “RRC is introducing a new generation of robotics, namely robots that can carry out many tasks and anticipate constantly changing circumstances autonomously in complex environments. InnovationQuarter is facilitating the introduction of these innovations to the market by investing in a consortium of strategic and financial partners.” For InnovationQuarter, this investment is the first project that was in part made possible by a contribution from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of the European Union.
“Rabobank Regio Den Haag wants to stimulate economic growth and employment within the region. That’s why we are looking to collaborate with other parties that strive for the same goals. Close collaboration with investors offers ambitious entrepreneurs such as RRC from The Hague national and international opportunities for growth,” says Dennis Werkman, Director of Corporate Accounts at Rabobank Regio Den Haag.
“We don’t just want to grow old, but to do so with dignity. That’s why we need technology that aids us with this, though it must be smart and ‘warm’ technology. Robot Care Systems has succeeded, in collaboration with elderly people, to build a robot solution that matches these requirements. It’s full of state-of-the-art technology, yet lovable,” says Joep de Groot from CbusineZ. “CbusineZ strongly believes that these kinds of technologies can contribute to the quality of life. This will help us to find out, with the help of healthcare professionals, which groups of patients can be helped by LEA in their rehabilitation or with exercises at home.”
Access to Capital
The investment in RCC was announced by Hague alderman Ingrid van Engelshoven (Alderman for Knowledge Economy, International, Youth and Education), during the second edition of Access to Capital, an investor-matching event for young and security-related technology companies and innovative SMBs with plans for growth. According to organizers Rabobank Regio Den Haag, ERAC, InnovationQuarter and the national safety cluster HSD, the event is a unique opportunity for security companies or start-ups to meet investors, business angels and starting capital funds, and to gain information on different financing possibilities.
More than 170 entrepreneurs attended the event on the HSD Campus in The Hague with pitches and interactive presentations with lessons learned from, among others Fox-IT and EclecticIQ and MoneyMarket. Just like RRC in 2015, other companies such as WeAware, Atmos, Sim-Ci, Delft Dynamics, Zivver and Interbox pitched for 50 potential investors. Rick Goud from Zivver was eventually declared the pitch winner. Access to Capital was presented by Mathijs Bouman (economist and journalist for the RTL Z TV channel).
From left to right: Edwin Lustig (Robot Security Systems), Pieter Jonker (Robot Robots Company), Ingrid van Engelshoven (alderman in The Hague) and Martin Roos (Robot Robots Company). © Daniel Verkijk
From left to right: Edwin Lustig (Robot Security Systems), Mr Yasutoshi Yokoyama (MAKIS), Martien Kuunders (InnovationQuarter), Pieter Jonker (Robot Robots Company), Martin Roos (Robot Robots Company), Ingrid van Engelshoven (alderman in The Hague), Dennis Werkman (Rabobank Regio Den Haag), Pieter Oosterlander (MAKIS), Rinke Zonneveld (InnovationQuarter) and Marco van Alderwegen (Stichting Else foundation). © Daniel Verkijk