Industry: Information Technology
Funding Received: Academic Startup Assistance Program Grant, Acceleration Grant and SC Launch, Inc. Investment
“SCRA was the first to believe in our vision to transform student learning through robotics and AI. With SCRA’s grant funding and commitment of key resources, we were able build and test our initial robot prototype, conduct field testing in schools and collect early customer feedback from teachers, parents and students. This recent investment from SC Launch, Inc. will enable us to complete the necessary engineering redesign and manufacture of our first commercially-ready robots and to launch sales to schools and consumers at home. We are thrilled to have such an outstanding partner and are excited about the road ahead.”
Vän Robotics is revolutionizing student learning by combining artificial intelligence and proven teaching techniques into friendly, approachable, and funny robots. The company’s initial robot, ABii, complements classroom learning, or can be used to facilitate learning at home. ABii is the first artificial intelligence tutor and was created by Laura Boccanfuso, Ph.D., based on ten years of research at University of South Carolina and Yale University and her passion for integrating technology into the classroom.Boyd Cycling, is a wheel manufacturing company, based in Greenville, SC, which was borne out of a passion for cycling and 10 years of cycling design engineering. The company’s craft wheels are made from high quality carbon fiber and shipped throughout the world. Boyd Johnson and his wife, Nicole, created the company in 2009 and today have more than 6,000 customers worldwide and stock racing wheels in more than 150 bike shops. Boyd Cycling is an innovative company known for their unique designs that are improving the industry. The shape of the rims, spacing of bearings and type of materials used in the wheels are all critical elements in the overall design.
The innovative, Columbia-based company was accepted into SCRA’s entrepreneurial program, SC Launch, in January 2017. In addition to the recent, $200,000 SC Launch, Inc. investment in 2019, Vän Robotics received three grants from SCRA to build a prototype that was used in product testing to get user feedback and to conduct larger consumer tests. The investment will be used to manufacture the company’s first 700 consumer robots.
HOW SC LAUNCH WORKS
The SC Launch Program provides the framework to grow South Carolina’s innovation economy by providing the resources necessary to successfully launch startups in the state.