VC Activity

Travis Deyle at Hizook has some widely cited data about venture capital activity in robotics.  I’ve sorted his data to make a cluster comparison.


  • Pittsburgh is further behind in the venture capital race than first appearances would indicate if the $25 M growth round from ABS Capital is not included in venture capital. No other deal in the data would qualify as “late stage growth capital.”
  • According to this data, the rest of the robotics world (not in Western PA, New England, or Silicon Valley) combined got $37.3M in venture capital funding– about 19% of total identified funding–or almost exactly what Boston got.
  • Silcon Valley got 49% of total identified robotics funding …and they have the best weather.  Not fair!

Relative Strengths of Robotics Clusters

Helen Greiner has kindly circulated a slide about the relative strengths of robotics clusters.  It compares Pittsburgh, Silicon Valley, and Boston to one another.  She circulated the slide with the cautions that it was based on nothing more than her perceptions and that she was trying to be controversial.

In summary her slide basically shows that Boston is in the lead in developing a healthy robotics ecosystem in most dimensions.  Silicon Valley is nipping at Boston’s heels in the race to be the best robotics ecosystem with leadership in some areas such as investments by high net worth individuals.  Pittsburgh lags in most ways with some notable exceptions in government support.

It is all fine and dandy that someone as esteemed as Helen Greiner thinks these things, but we should be able to measure most of them.  Here are the dimensions that Helen uses:

Employee Base

Cluster Activities

Venture Capitalist Interest

High Net Worth Individual Interest

Gov. Investment

University Pipeline

Corp Lab Research


State Support

Other categories that I’d like to propose a least proxy measures for are:


Access to Customers

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be trying to measure these items.  Here is the link to the analysis of the dimensions.


Dear Reader,

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I’m Robert Morris.  A former Army officer and consultant, I am currently an MBA student at Carnegie Mellon University and a nascent robotics entrepreneur.

I’m engaged in creating the future that I saw when I when I was leading a drone unit in Afghanistan.  The technological swords that makes drones are being beaten into robotic ploughshares of unimaginable promise.  These tools will give our society the security and prosperity to continue our moral progress.  Now a civilian, I am engaged in making business work as the vehicle for this positive transformation of our society.

I hope that this can be  repository for useful ideas and observations about robotics, business, and society.