UWE Bristol celebrates success of Reach Robotics

Issue date: 20 November 2017

Reach Robotics

Reach Robotics, the creators of augmented reality gaming robots 'Mekamon', is moving out from its home at Future Space after a long and fruitful relationship with the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol).

The company that set-up in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) Technology Incubator has now reached a point where it needs a headquarters with space to grow.

Last week Reach Robotics announced the exciting news that they had entered into a retail agreement with Apple and that the 'Mekamon' robot is now available in stores across the US and the UK.

Silas Adekunle, a UWE Bristol Robotics graduate, set up Reach Robotics in May 2013 and was later joined by his business partner and co-founder Chris Beck who had been working as a roboticist in the BRL.

Silas reflects on his time at UWE Bristol and the support he received that helped him to get his brilliant idea started during the difficult formative years.

He said, “When I was a student at UWE Bristol I spent some time going into schools to help inspire young people and it struck me that there was a huge untapped market for a consumer robot with a difference.

“We used to go in and explain simple robotics to try to inspire the young roboticists and engineers of the future and this experience set me off thinking about designing gaming robots.

“In my final year at UWE Bristol, whilst I was still studying, I set up Reach Robotics and moved into the BRL Technology Incubator. This was an important step – we were given a dedicated space to operate from as we started up that included the added bonus of close proximity to the many experts based in the BRL. We also had access to excellent business mentoring from our then lecturer Dr Matthew Studland and the Incubator Manager Jill Burnett.

“As a burgeoning company, the benefits of having business and robotics mentors early on helped us to take chances and opportunities that we would not otherwise have known about.

“We were encouraged to apply for funding and we had so many wonderful opportunities arising out of prizes, trips to the US on an accelerator programme and eventually being in a position to secure 9.5 million dollars in investment funding from organisations who could see the potential for what we were developing.

“Last year we moved into Future Space, the fantastic purpose built laboratories and workspace designed especially for burgeoning technology and robotics based right next to the BRL. We enjoyed the space but now our growth to 29 staff has meant that we need more space than Future Space can offer.

“Our new space in Bristol Business Park comprises over 5,000 sq ft and I'm sure we will need it as we anticipate fast growth, particularly as we launch 'Mekamon' into the world in time for the Christmas market.

“This is an exciting time for our company as now after years of development work we are finally able to bring 'Mekamon' to customers across the UK and US and with plans to go global. UWE Bristol has given us an amazing start and we are so grateful for their support.”

Bristol Robotics Laboratory is a collaborative partnership between the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and the University of Bristol.

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