E D U B O T S
SHAPING THE FUTURE OF ROBOTICS
KITE Robotics Part IV: Promotion & Investors, by Stefan Spanjer
Stefan Spanjer is part of the Mechanical Engineering & Mechatronics program at Twente University, Enschede, Netherlands, and the Founder and CEO of KITE Robotics.
Key Innovations in Treatment of Exteriors, or KITE Robotics, develops innovative robotic solutions for safe and cost-effective cleaning of building exteriors. In the first three installments of EduBots, we went from my inspiration (my visit to New York’s Empire State Building) to prototype to successful field trials, and finally, revealing the product to the media. In this next phase, we’re ready to approach customers and investors with a unique, cutting edge product.
A VICIOUS CIRCLE
Promotion and exposure are key essentials in getting any new concept to the public. The job of introducing this technologically advanced system is even more challenging since the KITE system concept is so revolutionary that it has no existing product that compares.
Promotion is also important to attract investors. However, in order to promote and develop the product, those investors are needed. So it is a vicious circle. With such a new concept as KITE’s, we need to find investors who understand the technology and have faith in it. To achieve this goal, we will be attending shows, conferences, exhibitions, and any events where we can reach our market and demonstrate in real time.
FIRST TRADE SHOW
One of these shows is the annual Gevel Trade Fair for Architects and Building Engineers. Gevel is the Dutch word for facade. The innovative, one-of-a-kind field demonstration was introduced at Gevel in Rotterdam in January, 2016. This exhibition features all aspects of facility maintenance and construction of facades, new and existing buildings, and is attended by a broad spectrum of professionals from architects to cleaning companies. It’s exactly the type of event we need to participate in, in order to reach clients and investors alike. We had a co-stand with two other companies and our stand was dubbed “Disruption,” with a focus on how to disrupt, or shake up, the construction and real estate industries. KITE Robotics disrupts by introducing the innovative robotic way of window cleaning, while one of the other companies disrupts the construction industry by robotizing the construction of new buildings.
Our manned booth featured a video to demonstrate the system, and our task was to answer questions, explain the technology, and find potential clients (the early adopters). The most exciting aspect was the overhead, real-time demonstration, since the KITE Robot was suspended near the ceiling above the hall, continuously traveling back and forth above the visitors. This was an excellent presentation! It brought much attention from potential clients: architects were enthusiastic about the sustainability and the ability to clean exteriors without unsightly system equipment. Currently, all facade cleaning installations on the market have components that are visible. With the discreet KITE Robot this is not the case anymore. Contractors were also interested because of the simplicity in attaching the robot: only four attachment points are needed, which can be installed easily on a building. Facility managers were very enthusiastic about the speed of cleaning and the privacy factor for their tenants (unlike a human window washer, the robot can’t watch you as it is coming by).
We made special application forms for inquiries and follow-up with each visitor, but there were so many interested parties that on the third day we ran out of them! These forms were very handy. During the event you speak to so many visitors that at the end of the day you can’t remember all of their comments and inquiries anymore. So if you ever get the chance to show your product through a conference or fair, use some kind of simple response forms.
Our next step is to secure those investors and enlarge the team (mainly sales and operations). I’ll be reporting on progress with investors and the initial marketing campaign in the next installment. In the meantime, please visit our website, Twitter, and Facebook page for updates!