IEEE/RSJ International Conference on
Intelligent Robots and Systems
Vancouver, BC, Canada
September 24–28, 2017


Vancouver Convention Center Room 201

September 26, 2017, 14:00 − 16:30


Purpose of the Event

To foster the entrepreneurial spirit and to provide a platform to encourage researchers and practitioners to transition ideas and prototypes to commercializable products, the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (IEEE RAS) invites the robotics and automation community to participate in an Entrepreneurship Forum and Start-up Competition (EFSC) at the 2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS’17) in Vancouver, Canada.

The event is intended to inspire, educate, enable, and empower researchers, students, young professionals, and anyone else who has the 'start-up bug' in starting companies of their own but is not sure of how to go about it. We also believe that this event will create an ecosystem that will provide the much-needed support for start-ups to launch their initiatives while being realistic about their envisioned ideas and products.



14:00 − 14:15 Bram Vanderborght, Axiles Bionics (Belgium). Next generation bionic feet.
14:15 − 14:30 Josie Hughes, EduSimRobotics (UK). Robotics education platform for students aged 10-18.
14:30 − 14:45 Volkan Patoglu, Interact Technologies (Turkey). AssistOn-Arm: An ergonomic powered arm exoskeleton.
14:45 − 15:00 Olalekan Ogunmolu, Neuronic Systems (USA). Soft robot actuators dynamically correcting positioning deviations during radiosurgery.
15:00 − 15:30 Coffee break
15:30 − 15:45 Ross Mead, Semio (USA). App ecosystem for robots that relies entirely on natural language users interfaces.
15:45 − 16:00 Lalit Gautam, SenseGrass (India). World's First VR+AI interface For Farmers.
16:00 − 16:15 Mojtaba Hedayatpour, Stellar Robotics (Canada). Robotic systems for space applications.
16:15 − 16:30 Alex Fleurant, Veerum (Canada). Digital Twin.



Erwin Prassler (H-BRS, IEEE RAS VP for Industrial Activities)
Dominik Boesl (KUKA AG)
Jianwei Zhang (U. Hamburg)


EFSC at IROS'17 Consists of Three Stages

(1) In the first stage, submitted applications will be down-selected to arrive at a pool of qualified applicants based on a defined set of criteria developed by the organizers (see 'Application Form' information below).
(2) This will be followed by a remote stage where the selected applicants will be paired with coaches based on the proposal content and the expertise of the coaches. The coaches will then critique, and provide technical and professional assistance to refine the idea/product pitches.
(3) The final stage would allow for the refined pitches and content to be presented in front of a distinguished panel of venture capitalists, industry, and academic experts who have successfully funded, transitioned and have experience in commercialization of robotics and automation technologies.


Who Can Participate?

Anyone with an idea utilizing robotics and/or automation technology that has reached a proof of concept
level is welcome to submit an application provided that the entity is 1) less than 3 years old, and 2) has not received any funding from angel investors or venture capitalists in the last 5 years.


How to Participate?

Interested applicants should complete the Application Form available for download from here: PDF, MS Word. Please email completed forms to


Travel Support and  Awards

We anticipate travel support for all qualified applicants invited to IROS'17 (~$1500/team) and awards for the top three finishers (pending funding approval at the time of this Call). Qualified applicants will further receive a free mini-booth in the IROS'17 exhibition area for an interactive presentation of their product (idea).


Important Dates

Submission of Application Forms: July 24, 2017
Announcement of Selected Applicants: Aug. 18, 2017
Final Presentations at IROS'17: Sept. 26, 2017