So, You Want to be a Start-Up Company in Automation?

Emmet Cole, A3
February 22, 2024
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Our CEO Tom Kelly was featured as one of three experts in automation in this article focusing on teaching start-ups how to best implement the technology.

Navigating the start-up experience can be a daunting prospect, especially in the automation sector. From acquiring funding to dealing with rejection, the challenges are complex and will test you — and your team — to the limit. A3 spoke with three experts that have been through the start-up experience to better understand the challenges involved and to get some advice on how to improve your chances of success.

Find a Product Fit

Founders have to understand their customers’ needs, says Tom Kelly, CEO at Automation Alley, a Michigan-based nonprofit technology business accelerator and Industry 4.0 knowledge center.  

Tom Kelly, Executive Director and CEO at Automation Alley. Credit: Automation Alley. “It's a little bit like the difference between solving a problem that's an interesting problem to have solved versus having a commercially useful product, which is way more impressive. You need to know why what you've created with a prototype is so compelling that customers and investors will want to pay attention to it,” says Kelly.

Start-ups are not just in the product development business, says Kelly, they are in the storytelling business too. That’s because start-ups with a prototype and no money, have just two currencies —momentum and buzz.

“Momentum means that when people hear what you're doing, they want to get involved with you, even if they don't want to fund you at that moment. Buzz means that when journalists and magazine editors hear your story, they want to write about it.”

Read the article in full here.

Emmet Cole, A3
Emmet Cole, A3

Intermittent robotics and science journalist and Economist contributor. Credits include Wired (U.S. & U.K.), BBC, Robotics Business Review, Robotics Trends, BBC Focus, EdTech, StateTech, The Irish Times, and numerous other digital and print outlets in North America and Europe. Got a great robotics story with a regulatory or legal angle? Drop me a line.

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