Entertainment robots may be for pastime pleasures, but the industry isn?t a playing matter. It?s big business.
Reach Robotics, a UK tech-startup based in Bristol, has created the first the world?s first gaming robot under a team lead by founding CEO Silas Adekunle, alongside co-founders John Rees and Chris Beck. MekaMon, which was in development for four years, is an agile robot that works with smartphones to let users battle in physical and augmented reality. This cross between toy and full-fledged robot is not cheap, they cost just about $330.
Reach Robotics was founded in 2013, to create high-end robotics for mainstream gaming audiences as well as to provide the tools for future robotics and STEM education. MekaMon was launched in November 2017. The company has been on a roll: Reach Robotics recently closed a $7.5 million Series A, co-led by Korea Investment Partners (KiP) and IGlobe.
Adekunle, a Nigerian-British entrepreneur, is now also selling his company?s gaming robots at Apple stores.
Adekunle reveals his plans for the company to TNJ.com.
TNJ.com: What prompted you to launch Reach Robotics?
Silas Adekunle: I have a passion for robotics, biology, and gaming, and whilst I was a student, I saw there was a gap in the toy and consumer robotics market. I wanted to fill this gap in such a way where we could bring the best in gaming combined with the best consumer robotics to redefine the toy entertainment experience.
TNJ.com: ?How did you fund the startup?
Silas Adekunle: Initially, we funded through grants; these began with local grants from university and moved onto government grants and competitions. Finally, we raised funding through investments in accelerator programs and ultimately raised our VC funding.
TNJ.com: What were some startup challenges?
Silas Adekunle: The first challenge lay in simply creating a minimum viable product and getting that to market. Then, of course, there?s scaling, hiring the right talent and cultivating a company culture to be proud of.
TNJ.com: Please explain what the company does and how it is different from other similar companies.
Silas Adekunle: Reach Robotics seeks to entertain, inspire and educate through robotics technologies, and nothing embodies this more than our first product, MekaMon. We are leading various frontier technologies–augmented reality and robotics, and defining those experiences in terms of a consumer toy market.
TNJ.com: How did you get involved in the tech world?
Silas Adekunle: From a young age, I held an interest in engineering and STEM. Later, robotics was to become the combination of all those interests.
TNJ.com: What do you like the most about being an entrepreneur?
Silas Adekunle: There?s never a boring day, that?s the best thing!
TNJ.com: What are your goals for 2018?
Silas Adekunle: In 2018, we are looking to take the experiences that we are building to more people around the world while still retaining the natural magic of the product.