We are very pleased to announce that the Autodesk Foundation has just awarded WeRobotics with a grant to support our work in 2018. The Foundation supports the design and creation of innovative solutions to the world’s pressing social and environmental challenges. Our mission at WeRobotics, is to create and leverage innovative robotics solutions locally to solve pressing social and environmental challenges.
The Autodesk Foundation treats design itself as a medium for positive change. We completely agree and have witnessed this first-hand in the robotics space. Take marine robotics, for example. The commercial industry around autonomous cargo robotics is still very nascent. We could wait 5 to10 years until the industry matures enough to design and develop operational solutions that make sense for the pressing challenges our Flying Labs are facing, or we could take the lead with our own partners and catalyze the process ourselves. The same is true with respect to the release mechanism we’re designing for disease vector control. It’s clear that much of the robotics industry is not geared toward innovating for the local partners we work with in Nepal, Peru, Tanzania and elsewhere. It’s also worth noting that commercially available robotics solutions are rarely designed for extreme affordability. As a result, we need to be leaders in designing for positive change in the geographies where we work and with affordability in mind.
We first crossed paths with the Autodesk Foundation in 2016 and kept in touch with the team. In 2017, we were kindly invited to keynote their Design Night in Washington DC, which was a wonderful opportunity to meet more of the Autodesk team and to learn more about the Foundation’s other partners and projects. Last month, we had the opportunity to sit down with the Foundation’s Head of Portfolio and Investment for a deep dive on WeRobotics and our roadmap for the next three years. This meeting came right after our WeRobotics founders retreat, which was great timing because we had some exciting news to share about our plans for 2018 and beyond. We’ll be making this news public in coming months.
One of the most unique aspects of the Autodesk Foundation is that their grants are unrestricted, i.e., they are not tied to specific line items or projects. This is absolutely crucial for non-profit organizations like WeRobotics and will make a significant difference for us in 2018. We’re also excited to connect with and learn from the Foundation’s many other grantees. In fact, we are the only grantee in the Foundation’s portfolio that focuses on the use of appropriate robotics solutions for social good and we’d be happy to partner with other grantees to help them scale the positive impact of their important work.
In the meantime, we give our sincerest thanks to the entire team at the Autodesk Foundation for their trust in our vision and strategy. The Autodesk Foundation joins the Rockefeller Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Atlassian Foundation, USAID, DFAT and the World Bank in making our work possible in 2018 and beyond.