Smart robots playing the role of personal assistants, in-home caregivers, even pet sitters used to be fantasies that played out only in the realm of science fiction — but not anymore. The robotics market is taking off and will continue to grow, with worldwide spending on robotics predicted, according to an IDC study, to reach $139 billion by 2019.
Already we’re beginning to see multi-purpose robotic devices on the market. An example is the Jisiwei Smart Vacuum Cleaning Robot, which doesn’t just clean your house but is also a home-security device with surveillance monitoring capabilities. Then there’s Xiao You, a service robot designed to teach children, take care of household chores and monitor various aspects of daily life.
Finally, there’s Domgy by ROOBO, the first “intelligent” pet robot, which aims to be a family companion that plays with your kids, reads your expressions and gestures and even breaks into dance. Imagine that at your next party.
With robots becoming more ubiquitous in many areas of our lives, and with so much opportunity and promise, it’s no surprise that more entrepreneurs are jumping into the market.
In fact, entrepreneurial innovation is fueling the demand for robotics. Research from the International Federation of Robotics states that startups less than five years old already make up 15 percent of all companies engaged in the Services Robotics market. A lot of investment is pouring in, only adding to the number of companies in this space.
Robotics startups have raised more than $2.6 billion since 2012, with most VC and angel funding in this category going to early-stage startups. Other growth points include:
The good news for entrepreneurs in the robotics space is the plethora of resources available to help on all aspects of this type of business, including financing and manufacturing. Organizations involved in the industry include Silicon Valley Robotics, a meta accelerator for startups in the robotics space in Northern California; the Robot Lab in Paris, an incubator that provides designers with tools and resources needed for the creation and development of their products; and our organization, IngDan, a one-stop IoT hardware innovation platform for consumer testing and feedback, to acclerate brand recognition and product adoption among Chinese consumers.
If you’re an entrepreneur in the robotics space, here are five beneficial ways to approach the industry:
1.Think globally and strategically.
Robotics is no longer just for the luxury market or limited to certain industries. It’s a global opportunity ripe for innovation in the areas of education, entertainment, health care and defense. For example, countries worldwide are investing in personal-assistance robotics initiatives to better support the needs of their aging and mobility-impaired populations.
Today, China is the fastest-growing robotics market, followed by Japan and the United States. The opportunities are numerous, but it’s also important to understand the differences in each market. For example, in a country like the United States, consumers tend to seek out high-value products, with data privacy and security being important issues needing to be addressed .
In China, meanwhile, customers tend to be drawn to more cost-effective robotics products.