One Broadway, 5th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142

September 27th, 2018

3:00 – 8:30 PM



Robotics Connect 2018

Save the date for Venture Cafe’s Robotics mini-conference taking place on September 27th, 2018. This special ‘conference night’ event seeks to bring together the brightest minds who are building, funding, and innovating in the Greater Boston area’s Robotics & A.I. Communities. Come prepared to not only hear the best ideas and see the latest technologies but also to participate in building Boston’s Robotics ecosystem.

2017 Event


 Our Sponsor


 Our Partners

Robotics Connect is hosted by Venture Cafe and brought to the Greater Boston community by:











3:00 – 5:00 PM Special Office Hours

4:15 – 5:15 PM Future of Robotics / A.I.

5:00 – 6:00 PM Advancements In Robotics

5:30 – 6:30 PM Investing in A.I.

5:30 – 8:00 PM Robotics Demos

6:00 – 6:45 PM Community Flash Talks

6:15 – 7:15 PM Deep Machine Learning Talk

6:45 – 7:45 PM A.I. Tear Down

6:45 – 8:00 PM Robotics Shark Tank

OFFICE HOURS (3:00 - 5:00 PM)

Early stage ventures and prospective entrepreneurs have an opportunity to sign up for Office Hours during this event. Entrepreneurs may sign up for 30-minute consultations with a variety of experts.

Appointments can be made on a first come, first served basis. Any cancellations will require 48-hour notification in order to accommodate entrepreneurs who have been placed on a wait-list. No-shows are frowned upon in the VenCaf community and we reserve the right to disallow future appointments for repeat offenders.

Special Office Hour Appointments (Robotics Connect only).

Anders Bialek, Vice President, Corporate Development, irobot

Anders Bialek leads iRobot’s Corporate Development team which is responsible for Strategy, M&A and Venture investing. Prior to iRobot, Bialek worked as a management consultant at McKinsey Company in Europe serving clients in a variety of industries including telecommunications, financial services and private equity. Prior to management consulting, he spent several years in the technology sector in Boston. Bialek holds an MBA from INSEAD and a BA from Hobart College.


Marc Mantell, Mintz Levin

Marc Mantell focuses his practice on corporate and securities law matters, primarily for companies engaged in the technology ecosystem. Marc represents private and public companies, investors, underwriters, and other parties in a broad range of transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, and debt financings. He can be reached at MDMantell@mintz.com.


David Clear, VP of Business Development, Vecna Robotics

David is VP of Business Development Vecna Robotics, a leading player in the robotics and logistics automation industry. Prior to Vecna David worked as a strategic consultant with a number of start-ups and growing businesses in Central Scotland, and has previously worked within the retail sector in Ireland with a particular focus on operational improvement within supply chain. David holds both an MBA and an MPhil in Operational Risk Management from the University of Glasgow’s Adam Smith Business School.


FUTURE OF ROBOTICS & AI (4:15 - 5:15 PM)


4:15 – 5:15 PM, Havana Conference Room

Meet our Panelists:

Moderator: Michael A. Gennert, Professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Michael teaches and conducts research to solve problems that will make the world better: safer, healthier, and happier. Working with undergraduates, graduate students, post-docs, and other faculty, Michael develops humanoid robots for disaster recovery, robots to inspect trees for invasive insect pests, and autonomous boats for monitoring lakes. His past work has involved medical imaging to improve cancer and heart disease diagnoses and treatment, and spatio-temporal databases for global change research.

Stephen Green, Director, Oracle Labs

Stephen Green is a Consulting Member of Technical Staff at Oracle Labs in Burlington, Massachusetts, where he is the Principal Investigator of the Information Retrieval and Machine Learning project. He is the chief architect and implementer of the Minion search engine Search Engine, a high-performance, open source Java search engine incorporating techniques from information retrieval, natural language processing, and knowledge representation.

Jeff Rodny, Head of Research,Neurala

Jeff Rodny, Head of Research, Neurala

Jeff Rodny, Senior Research Scientist, Neurala

Jeff Rodny is a leading research scientist based in Boston, Massachusetts. He is part of the research team at Neurala, a deep learning neural network software company that makes devices and products like drones, mobile phones and cameras more intelligent, engaging and useful. Neurala is the company behind Lifelong™-DNN, on-device-learning that allows neural networks to train orders of magnitude faster on less data, while avoiding catastrophic forgetting. Jeff holds a PhD from the University of California at Merced in Cognitive and Information Sciences and undergraduate degrees in Computer Science & Engineering and Cognitive Science from the University of Connecticut. Jeff’s research focuses on understanding the mechanics of how animals learn and applying that knowledge to help Neurala design, implement, and train novel deep neural networks for the enterprise.


Rebecca Khurshid, Director, Collaborative & Integrative Robotics and Assistant Professor, Boston University

Rebecca Khurshid leads the Collaborative and Integrative Robotics (CAIR) Laboratory, which is part of the Boston University Robotics Laboratory. She has BS degree in mechanical engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and MSE and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering and applied mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania with the Haptics Group of the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing, and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory. She received a US National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in 2011 to support her doctoral work in human-centered design for teleoperation. Before joining Boston University, Rebecca completed postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the Interactive Robotics Group of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Her research seeks to create robotic technology that allows humans and robots to work together to accomplish tasks that were previously impossible for human-robot teams.




5:00 – 6:00 PM, Santa Clara

Draper leverages its multidisciplinary core capabilities to design and develop advanced solutions to complex, challenging problems. During this roundtable, Draper will review their latest projects and discuss their thoughts on current advancements in robotics.

Dr. Gian Luca Mariottini, Localization and Perception, Draper

Dr. Mariottini has more than 12 years of research and development experience in intelligent autonomous systems and has published more than 50 journal and conference papers in the areas of robotic perception, localization, and control. His research focuses in the areas of computer vision, robot control and machine learning with applications to unmanned aerial and ground robots, swarming, and assistive technology for medical applications.

INVESTING IN A.I. (5:30 - 6:30 PM)


5:30 – 6:30 PM, Havana Conference Room

Come hear from several experts on what they look for when investing in Robotics/AI startups. This panel will address popular methods of funding, as well as personal experiences from the investors featured.

Moderator: Fady Saad, Co-Founder, MassRobotics

A 2017 Boston Business Journal 40 Under 40 Honoree, Fady is the co-founder and partnerships director of MassRobotics; the first and largest robotics/AI startup escalator in the world. He also advises Rewired AI Studio on investment of their $100 million fund. Fady is the first to coin the term “startup escalation” model and “startup escalator”. Before that he was the strategy, research & business development director of Vecna Technologies where he supported the development of the company’s robotics R&D strategy, funding and commercialization activities.

Sana Fathima, Investment Manager, Lockheed Martin Ventures

Sana Fathima is an Investment Manager at Lockheed Martin Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Lockheed Martin. Her focus areas include advanced AI / autonomy technology, NextGen manufacturing and materials, and IoT.  Previously, Sana worked on the investment and financial teams for the World Bank Group’s $B global funds initiatives, for a leading European VC fund – Atomico, and for Goldman Sachs. She graduated with her MBA from the University of Cambridge, has a PhD background in computer vision from the University of Oxford, and a BS with high honors in engineering from The College of New Jersey.

Steve Taub, Venture Capital Investor, GE Ventures

Steve leads investments in companies whose products and services, such as advanced robotics and additive manufacturing, fit into GE’s manufacturing and operations. He is always looking for great entrepreneurs in attractive markets so that he can work with them to identify opportunities and synergies across GE’s portfolio.

Wan Li Zhu, Partner, Fairhaven Capital

Wan is an active early stage technology startup investor, as a member of the investment team at Fairhaven Capital, a venture capital firm based in Boston, and as a founder and Managing Director of MIT Alumni Angels, an investment network that supports MIT-affiliated startups. Wan’s primary area of interest is AI-enabled systems applied to improve productivity in enterprise and consumer markets.

Dina Routhier, Investment Manager, Stanley Black & Decker

At Stanley Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Stanley Black & Decker, we invest in early stage, innovative companies that have strategic relevance to one or more of the Stanley businesses. We bring mentorship, scale, and resources to companies in a way that can significantly accelerate their growth and provide Stanley new, innovative products. As a member of the Stanley Ventures team, I partner closely with our Innovation Breakthrough Teams to identify areas of technology interest, forge relationships with early-stage companies and make investments on behalf of the Company.

ROBOTICS & A.I. DEMOS (5:30 - 8:00 PM)


5:30 – 8:00 PM, 5th Floor

Venture Cafe demos are a great way to gain exposure through our online and offline channels. During our Robotics Connect event, Venture Café will give a selection of the area’s start-ups, inventors and researchers an opportunity to showcase their work to the Boston community.



6:00 – 6:45 PM

These sessions will be community-generated, lightning sessions comprised of 30 minutes of content and 15 minutes of networking for each session.

Adam Shayevitz, “Strategic Sourcing Vital Role In Hardware Startup Success or Failure” – Bimini Conference Room

The high failure rate of hardware startups is not inevitable and the challenges not insurmountable. Hardware is hard, and if there were a difficulty spectrum, robotics would be in the diamond-hard range. Robotics development requires expertise and synergy across software, mechanical, electromechanical, electronics, and complex assembly. Strategic Sourcing working across all the engineering disciplines is an often underutilized and unrecognized key success factor.

Jaimeen kapadia, “Surgical Robotics” – St. Thomas Conference Room

Deep dive as to the challenges in designing robotics for Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery and the future of surgical robotics.

Paul Robinette, “Marine Robotics Autonomy” – Andros Island Conference Room

This talk will cover our work in the Marine Autonomy Bay at the MIT Sailing Pavilion (PAVLAB) in human-robot teaming, autonomous navigation from the Charles River to Mass Bay, and ocean science sampling



Jay Wong, “Making Industrial Robots Truly Collaborative” – Grand Bahama Conference Room

Today’s robots are difficult and expensive to install, set up, and manage. Many businesses, especially the millions of SMEs, still find them cost-prohibitive and inflexible. A time consuming and costly integration project is often needed just to get the robot to perform a single task, and even a simple change in the environment means that this process will need to be repeated. However, market forces, like labor shortages, “skills gap”, and global competitiveness are making automation of high-mix, low volume processes a necessity. This talk will examine this workforce gap between humans and (collaborative) robots, not from just a training perspective, but from the perspective of how we can think about the use of new technology to make robots more accessible to more people. Much like what Windows and the mouse did for PCs, and what iOS did for smart phones, we need technology that makes robots easier to understand and use by a larger portion of our workforce population.


Deep Machine Learning Talk
“What’s Next in Machine Learning Research”, 

Presented by Oracle Lab Director, Stephen Green

6:15 – 7:15 PM, Octave Conference Room

Adding machine learning and cognitive interactions to traditional business processes and applications enables greatly improved user experience and productivity. Learn about the successes and challenges in Machine Learning Research conducted by Oracle Labs and the techniques that are generally applied across all Oracle products and services. Oracle embeds ready-to-use AI and machine-learning capabilities across Oracle’s SaaS, PaaS, and IOT services, including cognitive AI, analytics, data services, IT management, and security operations.



Stephen Green, Director, Oracle Labs

Stephen Green is a Consulting Member of Technical Staff at Oracle Labs in Burlington, Massachusetts, where he is the Principal Investigator of the Information Retrieval and Machine Learning project. He is the chief architect and implementer of the Minion search engine Search Engine, a high-performance, open source Java search engine incorporating techniques from information retrieval, natural language processing, and knowledge representation.

A.I. TEAR DOWN (6:45 - 7:45 PM)

A.I. Tear Down

6:45 – 7:45 PM, Santa Clara

Have you ever wondered how an app or online service works under the scenes? In this fun and interactive roundtable discussion, we will leverage our combined years of data science and application development experience to deconstruct any piece of technology that you are interested in.

Matt Taylor, Founder, OHMense

Matt founded OHMense, an unstructured analytics startup for financial and medical documents. He has spent his career analyzing, modeling and mining data at large scale, low latency and industry leading sophistication. Formally CTO of Kensho, Director of Engineering at Tumblr and co-founder of a hedge fund, Matt is rumored to use this knowledge on fantasy sports.

Matthias Keller, Chief Scientist & SVP of Technology, KAYAK

As the company’s Chief Scientist, Matthias leads KAYAK’s use and exploration of artificial intelligence along with new user interfaces such as voice-enabled devices and chat bots. In 2016, Matthias led and launched successful integrations for KAYAK with Amazon Alexa, Facebook Messenger and Slack, which propelled the company into the spotlight as a category leader in AI and natural language processing. Matthias and his team have followed up with assistants and additional features on Microsoft Teams, Apple TV and Google Home, and the launch of voice-booking for hotels on Amazon Alexa – a first for the travel industry. In addition to managing KAYAK’s AI efforts, he also oversees the company’s mobile engineering teams (iOS, Android, Mobile Web).



6:45 – 8:00 PM, Havana

Robotics Connect is hosting a Shark Tank! Five Robotics or A.I. entrepreneurs will pitch a selection of investors. It is a great platform to pitch, meet and build relationships with investors in the Robotics sector.

Meet our sharks:

Moderator: Jeff Whelpley, Co-Founder & CTO, GetHuman 

Jeff is the CTO and Co-Founder of GetHuman. He is one of the co-organizers of the Boston AI meetup and a Google Developer Expert.

Sarah Hodges, Partner, Pillar 

Sarah Hodges has spent the last decade as an entrepreneur and operator in high-growth consumer and enterprise companies. At Pillar, Sarah leverages her operating experience to bring leadership insight, capabilities and resources to our firm’s portfolio companies. Prior to Pillar, Sarah was a member of the executive team at Pluralsight, the world’s largest online learning community for IT, dev and creative training, where she helped the company double in size in less than one year. Before joining the company, Sarah was a member of the executive team at Smarterer (sold to Pluralsight), where she oversaw business strategy, operations and marketing.

Nicolas de Beco, Senior Director, Oracle Global Startup Ecosystem

Nicolas de Beco has more than 20 years experience across a variety of software and service sales management technology roles, including extensive knowledge of M&A and Venture Capital. Mr. de Beco currently serves as a senior director for the Oracle Global Startup Ecosystem, where he leads the Market Connect initiative to facilitate business development engagements across startups, Oracle customers and Oracle.

Vivjan Myrto, Founder & Managing Partner at Hyperplane Venture Capital

Vivjan Myrto is the founder and managing partner of Hyperplane Venture Capital, an early stage venture capital firm based in Boston focused on data and machine intelligence companies with investments in Alphasheets, TellusLabs, Talla, Vesper, Kite, Sentenai and others. Prior to Hyperplane, Vivjan was co-founder and CEO of ChromoGen, which was acquired in 2013. He is an active member of the Boston entrepreneurial ecosystem and serves as the director of various non-profit organizations.



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