Sign In

Europe invests to boost the uptake of robotic technologies by start-ups and SMEs


​VTT will co-lead an EUR 8 million robotics accelerator as technical coordinator

In the next three years, Robot Union will select 40 start-ups that will develop projects, in the field of robotics, which are linked to the manufacturing, agri-food, health and civil infrastructure industries. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland will be the technical coordinator and lead over 50% of the project activities with FundingBox.

There is a clear need to stimulate European start-ups and SMEs in the robotics sector to develop novel and innovative technology with the potential to open new markets at the international level. The aim of the Robot Union acceleration program is to discover, support and fund innovative projects in the robotics industry.

Robot Union will address the two major barriers that hinder the development and market uptake of robotics technologies for entrepreneurs and start-ups: the elevated setup costs and the lack of awareness of potential benefits of robotics.

This is a unique opportunity for the SMEs to use robotics and enter the world of artificial intelligence. "The Robot Union accelerator will bring the top researchers and entrepreneurs together to stimulate new robotics innovations in Europe", says the Technical Coordinator of the project Ali Muhammad at VTT.

The 20 start-ups and SMEs, selected in each of the 2 open calls, to be launched by Robot Union, will enter into an acceleration program of 6 to 12 months.

Each selected company will receive up to 223,000 euros equity free for its initial funding stages.

The best performing companies participating in the programme, will obtain an additional 1 million euros of private investment from the Chrysalix Venture Capital and Odense Seed & Venture.

Wide networks 

The programme will bring together research centres, large corporations and innovative start-ups and SMEs by overcoming the elevated costs associated with market entry and the development of specific technologies.

There will be an extensive technical support provided by the leading institutes in robotics R&D in Europe: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the Danish Technological Institute, TU Delft, Tecnalia and PIAP.

The participants will also have access to a wide international network of recognized mentors from Google, Airbnb, Ikea, Yahoo, Prisa and Microsoft, among others.

The entrepreneurs will also have direct contact with leaders of the manufacturing, agri-food, health and civil infrastructure industries via the participation of organizations including MADE, Ferrovial Servicios, Arla Foods and Fenin.

Robot Union will further boost the visibility of start-ups and SMEs in the robotics sector through their participation in top international events such as 4YFN Barcelona, Slush and the Web Summit. It will be publicly presented for the first time during Barcelona Mobile Week and 4YFN 2018, both events are organized by Mobile World Capital.

Its first call for start-ups and SMEs is planned for launch in April 2018.

The acceleration project is launched under the framework of the European Commission's Horizon 2020 Programme.


Read more:

Robot Union is a robotic accelerator to stimulate the new robotics innovations in Europe in the areas of healthcare, agile-production, inspection and maintenance and agri-food. Selected start-ups will go through a screening process and selected ones will receive financial and technical support. The most promising start-ups will be further supported through private investment for scaling up. Robot Union and Open Call:

FundingBox is the go-to platform for digital disruptors to join tech communities and win public funding:

European Robotics Forum 2018 event will be held in Finland on 13 - 15 March.
It is the most influential meeting of the robotics community in Europe.
VTT will showcase its demos at the event.