The Phoenix Contact Startup Challenge at Automate

Today’s hottest new companies in robotics and automation were all in one place at the Automate Show. On Tuesday, May 23, a winner was selected from the finalists below who went head-to-head at the Automate Show Theater, pitching their technology solution and vying for a $10,000 cash prize. 




Winner of the Phoenix Contact Startup Challenge at Automate 2023!


Easy Floor Robotics

Easy Floor Robotics provides a revolutionary opportunity to disrupt the flooring market.

E.F.R. develops autonomous robotic technology that automates the process of coating floors.

This revolutionary solution is the development of technology similar to the famous Roomba but for the flooring market, which will integrate several robots for applying floors and a docking station with materials that are available on the market such as epoxy and micro-concrete.

"Technology is transforming every part of our lives, so the question is not whether robotics will enter the flooring industry, but who will be the first to do so?
The world of construction is changing, and this is your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join the robotic revolution and participate in the I-Robot of the flooring market. We can disrupt the flooring market and build the future together.”



ESTAT Actuation

ESTAT Actuation is a deep-tech hardware company pioneering components that make robot solutions safer, more capable and less expensive. The company creates versatile EOAT gripping solutions that handle a wide variety of parts, including parts with holes or pores, while consuming almost no power. The electroadhesive clutches and brake products also dramatically boost actuator assembly performance by reducing component weight by 10x and power consumption by 1,000x compared to conventional clutches. These disruptive technologies are the basis of the company’s platform B2B products that solve hardware design challenges for customers across many industries, including advanced robotics designers, tools manufacturers and military safety applications.

"We can’t wait to show off our newest demos and manufacturing solutions to the Automate audience! The timing couldn’t be better for us to highlight our hardware and springboard into even more customer relationships."



Parrots Inc.

Parrots Inc. is a health-tech company that has created Polly, an AI/ML-powered platform that provides real-time voice, cognitive assistance and telecare to people with neurological disorders.

"AI, ML and automation technology improvements will result in greater productivity, cost savings, new products and more innovation in all industries."



Sensable, Inc.

Continuous improvement teams have unlimited needs for time studies: either to improve the efficiency and safety or perform A/B studies to prioritize capital improvement projects. An ideal product to address their requirements needs to solve long-tail vision problems. Sensable's Vision-AI platform enables time studies for human activities and flow of material. Understanding the environment is a must-have to make a robotic project successful. Sensable technology enables users to analyze a variety of known and unknown scenarios with a consumer-like experience. No deep learning training, AI expertise or software training/specialized hardware is required.

"Visibility of an unstructured environment is the first step towards autonomous operations."


Sokul Auomation

Sokul Automation’s Material Fulfillment System (MFS) is an end-to-end solution that systematizes the material delivery process on the factory floor in manufacturing environments. Ensuring that material is delivered to the right place on time reduces factory line stoppages and improves product quality. Sokul’s solutions include system software controlling inexpensive mobile robots for bin storage and retrieval, light-load transport, heavy-load transport, as well as moving carts.

"As North America reindustrializes, automation is the primary lever to keep our industries globally competitive. Our team is very excited to show our automated industrial fulfillment solutions in the heart of the Motor City. This is a huge opportunity for us to reach our core target audience and accelerate our success!"



Spin Robotics

Spin Robotics produces plug-n-produce screwdriving tools for easy assembly with collaborative robots. The company’s end-of-arm-tools are safe alongside workers, affordable and easy to use. Its cobot screwdrivers will remove manual and repetitive tasks, which helps to reduce the risk of injuries, all while cutting down assembly time up to 60%. With a more flexible production, these end-of-arm tools will shorten the ROI, give data insights into assembly processes and increase productivity.

Spin Robotics is part of the Odense Robotics cluster, located on the island of Fyn in the heart of Denmark.

"We're grateful for this opportunity and we're excited to make the most of it. Our team has worked tirelessly to get to this point and we're ready to show the world of automation what we're made of. Our mission is to revolutionize automation of assembly tasks through a truly safe employee-robot collaboration."




Voaige builds vision AI based software for robotic automation. We work with integrators and solution providers to tackle more complex pick/pack/kit challenges in manufacturing, logistics, agtech and food industries. Think of us as the vision software experts as an extension to your team.

Our software-only product works with any RGBD sensor, and a large number of vacuum or finger grippers while powering any industrial or collaborative robot through industrial protocols. Some of the largest companies in manufacturing, food, logistics and aerospace are integrating Voaige's vision software into their solutions.

"Robotics and automation is one of the most important sectors to boost the economy. Our physical world has not evolved as quickly as our software world. Smart, efficient and affordable robotics is the key to changing that."




Deepview Corp. makes all-in-one deep learning cameras—vision cameras that learn to inspect any part from as few as 40 examples!

"Deepview is excited to participate in the 2023 Automate start-up challenge! Automate is well-known as the largest automation trade show in North America, and we're honored to be selected. Deepview is grateful for the opportunity to showcase our all-in-one deep learning camera at Automate. It enables rapid feasibility and deployment, and is fully backwards compatible with all Deepview cameras in the field. We're excited to renew relationships at Automate 2023!"




Khenda is an AI-powered Continuous Improvement Platform designed to help the manufacturing industry achieve operational excellence. Our platform combines AI-based video analytics and digitized engineering tools to streamline the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control (DMAIC) process, ensuring accurate data collection, in-depth analysis, and effective process improvements.?

"We are thrilled to be selected as a finalist in the Automate Startup Challenge, as it validates our innovative approach to transforming the manufacturing industry. This recognition fuels our passion for driving operational excellence through AI-powered continuous improvement solutions."



Citizen Robotics

Citizen Robotics is a nonprofit fostering the adoption of technology and robotic construction techniques in homebuilding in order to ease the labor shortage and provide more affordable, sustainable housing.




Tuesday, May 23
2:30–4:30 p.m.
The Automate Show Theater
Free for all Automate attendees

See what else is happening at the Automate Show Theater during Automate.



The winner of this competition will be determined by a panel of industry expert judges:

Oliver Mitchell

Partner, ff Venture Capital

Andrew Gollach

Principal, HAX

Elizabeth Onasanya

Senior Investment Analyst, Lockheed Martin


Abe Murray

General Partner, AlleyCorp

Jack Nehlig

President, Phoenix Contact USA

Fireside Chat: "Building a Robotic Unicorn"

Speakers: Eliot Horowitz, CEO & Founder, Viam, Inc. moderated by Oliver Mitchell, Partner, FFVC

The fireside chat with Eliot Horowitz, CEO and Founder of Viam, moderated by Oliver Mitchell of FF Venture Capital, will provide attendees with insights into Horowitz's background as the founder of MongoDB and his entry into the robotics space with Viam. The discussion will cover lessons learned from building MongoDB that are relevant for founders in robotics, Viam's ability to level the playing field and speed up the deployment of robotics in new and important fields, and the potential for solutions like Viam to make robot sales more scalable. Horowitz will also share his vision for a future where robotics is more accessible and ubiquitous, and where he sees the industry heading in the next 3-5 years.