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Founding Robotics Startups with a PhD


This RSS 2021 workshop will teach you about starting your own company if you recently earned (or will soon earn) your PhD. While there is a lot of prior writing about startups in general, there is not a lot about robotics companies, and even less about doing so shortly after grad school. For something as idiosyncratic as founding a company to realize your dreams, the best lessons come from those who have gone before you.

Confirmed Presenters (all founders)


Before the workshop, recordings of questions and answers from each presenter will be made privately available to everyone who signed up for the workshop.

The panel discussion will provide an opportunity for workshop attendees to ask additional questions.

The panel times below will not change, but the speakers might swap which panel they join.

Monday, 12 July

time (UTC-0700)summary
08:00 Panel discussion with Peter Yu

Tuesday, 13 July

time (UTC-0700)summary
15:00 Panel discussion with Vivian Chu, Matanya Horowitz, Ross Mead, Tessa Lau


Startup Guidance in General (no focus on hardware or robots)

  1. Do Things that Don't Scale by Paul Graham
  2. Startup Playbook by Sam Altman
  3. The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steven G. Blank
  1. Legal Concepts for Founders
  2. Venture Deals by Brad Feld & Jason Mendelson (on Amazon)

Forming a Company

In the US, use Clerky or Atlas. These allow you to create a startup (or rather, the legal entity) following a standard template.

Prototyping, Building, & Selling Hardware

Accelerators, VC Firms, Grants, etc.

N.B., inclusion in the list below is not endorsement.