Emerging ideas. Next-generation companies. Up-and-coming entrepreneurs in robotics and automation. Are you ready for the challenge and the $10,000 cash prize?


The Automate Startup Challenge spotlights early-stage companies in robotics and automation as they go head-to-head at the Automate Show Theater, pitching their technology solution to a panel of industry-expert judges. The finalists will vie for the $10,000 cash prize and the coveted title of Startup Challenge winner.


Tuesday, May 7, 2024

2:30 PM - 4:30 PM CT at The Automate Show Theater

Free for all Automate attendees.

Companies entering the challenge must operate in the automation space (robotics, vision, motion control, AI) and must have been founded in the last five years, raised less than $5 million USD since creation, and must not be affiliated with or belonging to a larger group. Ten finalists will vie for the top $10,000 cash prize by pitching their technology solution to a panel of industry expert judges.

Semi-finalist companies will be invited to participate in the “Automate Startup Challenge” in Chicago, IL on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. Chosen companies will also receive exhibit space on the Automate show floor. This exhibit space must be staffed during show hours.


Orangewood Labs


Backed by Y Combinator and headquartered in San Fransisco, Orangewood leverages the latest advancements in machine learning (ML) and generative AI to design and build highly efficient collaborative robots that are easy to operate.

Robotics can transform numerous areas of human activity, from manufacturing to healthcare to education. The immense potential and applications of robotics motivate Orangewood to keep innovating to help as many people in as many ways as possible. By democratizing robots, the hope is to create a more equitable and inclusive future for the community.


Mowito Robotics

Mowito develops compact, picking solutions for eCommerce fulfillment centers and warehousing operations in manufacturing plants




SAKTHI ROBOTICS is a fast-rising startup in the robotics industry, specializing in cutting-edge solutions for electric vehicles, logistics automation and warehouse efficiency. Their expertise lies in automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Edge-AI and Machine Vision solutions—offering products like Automatic Visual Inspection and Machine Vision for line inspection.




RoboWorkX Inc, DBA SNOWBOTIX, is an OEM of all-electric, all-terrain and all-season, multi-utility robots to electrify and automate labor-intensive and dangerous outdoor maintenance tasks, including but not limited to nonroad/offroad snow removal, snow grooming, cleaning, power washing, vegetation control, etc. Snowbotix's technology is an industry 4.0 workforce multiplier providing a sustainable, efficient and cost-effective solution for outdoor maintenance compared to traditional methods.


Grasp Robotics


Grasp Robotics produces innovative artificial muscles that match human muscle capabilities, which addresses market needs across humanoid robots, prosthetics, exoskeletons and more. Current robots lack the capabilities of their natural analogs needed to enable them to complete many potential tasks. The company builds patent-protected drives that serve as “artificial muscles," allowing robots to do more for their users.


US Positronix Inc

US Positronix offers a high-throughput, heavy-load smart conveyance solution that magnetically levitates and autonomously transports low-cost nonpowered movers (robots) that are easily adapted to convey material or equipment of any size or shape. This flexible payload capability enables a common mobility platform with workflow flexibility, low cost of ownership, and built-in safety features for high throughput automation of almost any workflow or industry.

The system consists of modular, interconnectable 4 ft. x 4 ft. tiles that generate magnetic forces that levitate and transport nonpowered movers that carry the load. Movers come in many sizes, including a 2 ft. x 2 ft. mover with an 800 lb. load capacity, and a 4 ft. x 4 ft. mover with a 2,800 lb. capacity.

In addition to levitating and transporting movers, the modular tiles localize the movers and provide intelligent path planning and obstacle avoidance. Use cases include flexible, autonomous conveyance and sorting applications within warehouses and flexible manufacturing facilities.


Renewed Robotics

The goal of Renewed Robotics is to leverage robotics and technology to promote end-user resource independence. Their product, the S.A.M. (Self-Assembling Municipality), is the first attempt to make that goal a reality.

The S.A.M. is a self-assembling, self-sustaining tiny home that digs its own foundation, erects its own walls, and encloses its own roof. Its modular solar panel exterior powers the on-board (upgradeable) battery bank, HVAC lights and sound system. The S.A.M. also has water filtration and storage in its "Base-Mount"; this filtered water can be used in conjunction with the built-in sink or shower. Since the S.A.M. is a robot, it is all trackable and controllable from a smartphone, making it perfect for everything from natural disaster response and humanitarian aid to instant off-grid camping or an A.D.U., solar/battery back-up for a home or vessel for exoplanetary exploration.

(There are 3 versions: Commerical, Humanity, Exo-Earth)


Silana - Automate Fashion Production


Silana is sustainably revolutionizing the trillion-dollar fashion industry. They have developed the very first robot that fully automates the outdated, manual and cost-intensive sewing process. This missing link enables the automation of the entire manufacturing process, from the roll of fabric to the finished, ready-to-ship garment—without a single human intervention. They leverage advanced AI in their machine vision system to precisely track and control the fabric during production and to assure the quality of the finished product from the first step. This technological innovation enables sustainable, expediant and cost-effective production in high-wage countries.

They have a working prototype for undershirts and have sold the first two pilots for implementation beginning in 2025.


Kyber Labs


Kyber Labs is building a robotic manipulation platform that is designed from the ground up for AI-based controls. Their novel, low-cost artificial muscle fiber actuators mimic the functionality of human muscle and allow for fluid and dexterous movement that is not feasible with conventional actuation systems.




Waveye is an early-stage technology startup focused on imaging radars for autonomy and safety. Their goal is to shape the next generation of radar imaging from the ground up and make radar a key sensing modality for real-world AI. Waveye’s technology combines cutting-edge signal processing algorithms and AI for high-resolution, cost-efficient radar imaging. The Sample A prototype with the novel Lightweight Imaging Radar (LIR) technology achieves sub 0.9° native resolution and 0.45° superresolution performance. Waveye possesses complementary, bleeding-edge expertise in automotive radar system design and signal processing, production-grade SW, mm-Wave HW, and AI. Waveye is based in Palo Alto, California and Stuttgart, Germany.



The winner of this competition will be determined by a panel of industry experts judges, including:

Oliver Mitchell

Partner, ff Venture Captial


Abe Murray

General Partner, AlleyCorp


Betsy Mulé

Investor, F-Prime Capital


Kaitlyn Glancy

Partner, Eclipse Ventures