IEEE Foundation

2018 | Entrepreneurship Forum and Startup Contest (EFSC 2018)

8:00 am
Madrid, Spain

2018 | Entrepreneurship Forum and Startup Contest (EFSC 2018)

Madrid 2018. IROS.

Organizers: Erwin Prassler (H-BRS/runfun, IEEE RAS past VP for Industrial Activities, Germany), Jon Agirre (Tecnalia, Spain), Fabio Bonsignorio (HERON Robots, Italy), Renaud Champion (Primnext, France)

Location: Madrid Municipal Conference Centre

Date: 3 October 2018

Purpose of the Event

Robotic is on the verge to a new area. While at the beginning of this millennium, robots that were design to serve humans in their daily life, were still exotic niche products, 20 years later, new service robot applications are breaking their way into the market almost weekly. It is not the traditional robotics industry, however, which drives this development. It is startups and small companies who play the icebreaker and take all the risk that comes with creating a new market.

To foster that entrepreneurial spirit and to provide a platform to encourage researchers and practitioners to transition ideas and prototypes to commercializable products, the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (IEEE RAS) invites the robotics and automation community to participate in an Entrepreneurship Forum and Start-up Competition (EFSC) at the 2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS’18) in Madrid, Spain.

The event is intended to inspire, educate, enable, and empower researchers, students, young professionals, and anyone else who has the ‘start-up bug’ in starting companies of their own but is not sure of how to go about it. We also believe that this event will create an ecosystem that will provide the much-needed support for start-ups to launch their initiatives while being realistic about their envisioned ideas and products.

EFSC at IROS2018 Consists of Three Stages

  • In the first stage, submitted applications will be down-selected to arrive at a pool of qualified applicants based on a defined set of criteria developed by the organizers (see ‘Application Form’ information below).

  • This will be followed by a remote stage where the selected applicants will be paired with coaches based on the proposal content and the expertise of the coaches. The coaches will then critique, and provide technical and professional assistance to refine the idea/product pitches.

  • The final stage would allow for the refined pitches and content to be presented in front of a distinguished panel of venture capitalists, industry, and academic experts who have successfully funded, transitioned and have experience in commercialization of robotics and automation technologies.

Who Can Participate?

Anyone with an idea utilizing robotics and/or automation technology that has reached a proof of concept level is welcome to submit an application provided the entity is 1) not more than 3 years old, and 2) has not received a total funding larger than 500 KEUR since its inception.

How to Participate?

Interested applicants should complete the Application Form available for download from here: PDF, MS Word. Please email completed forms to

Travel Support and Awards

We will provide travel support for all qualified applicants invited to IROS’18. Teams from Europe will be eligible to a 750 EUR travel grant, teams from overseas will be supported with a 1500 EUR grant. In addition there will be a financial award for the top three finishers (pending funding approval at the time of this Call). Qualified applicants will further receive a free mini-booth in the IROS’18 exhibition area for an interactive presentation of their product (idea).

Important Dates

Submission of Application Forms:                30 June 2018

Announcement of Selected Applicants:      31 July 2018
Coaching on demand:                                   August 2018

Final Presentations at IROS’18:                     3 October 2018

Find out more information here!

Follow this and similar activities via the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS).