In this installment of Startup Diaries, Greenfield Robotics founder Clint Brauer discusses the availability of tech talent and investors in Wichita and why it's so important for our city to integrate available talent into the emerging robotics industry. Check out last week's post to learn more about gaining early investment for Greenfield Robotics.
TECH IN WICHITA
I think Kansas, specifically the Wichita area, has a chance to be a major player in robotics. With multiple engineering universities and aerospace talent, the city could be a hardware powerhouse. Robotics are going to become one of the major-growth industries in the world.
There are a couple of robotics companies in Kansas already. Robotzone in Winfield, Kansas, is doing some pretty cool stuff. We have met with them and already use some of their components.
We would love nothing more than for Wichita to become the hub for robotics. But it’s not going to happen if we do not source investment that keeps us here in the form of hardware partners, investors and talent. Thus far, we have heard more about investment and technical partner opportunities in NE Kansas than in the Wichita area.
Our robotics solution requires a combination of mechanical, electrical and software development.
Hardware development includes mechanical engineering and electrical engineering, through both internal development and partnership with robotics design partners. Right now, we have partners far away from Wichita. We enjoy working with them and probably will continue to work with them for the foreseeable future, but having a local firm work with us would help the project move forward that much faster.
Given the engineering talent in local aerospace firms, we hope to find partners or partner/investors here that can help us further with sourcing, development and refinement of the hardware. We could also use some help with assembly and, potentially, light manufacturing.
Instead, so far, we are getting pinged by firms and talent on the coasts. And by talent, I mean NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL)-level talent. Where is the Wichita talent, and why haven’t we heard from them?
As funding develops, we also would like to find someone with a serious mechanical engineering background to join our team. Carl is filling that role currently, but he wants to find that person with an extensive background and capabilities. The capabilities of our machine will morph quickly, as we find success with our initial application, and the vision is there to creatively solve a lot of agricultural challenges and disrupt multiple industries.
We are hiring mechanical and/or engineering interns! Would love to hear from engineering students at Wichita State and K-State. Possibly even KU if forced to (kidding).
The ideal paid intern would have a farm background, would be highly motivated and able to be outdoors in the Kansas summers. They are going to be out there alongside us old guys in the heat, lugging machines across fields when they inevitably have something go wrong in these early stages.
Our software development includes machine vision, networking and security. Opportunities will exist in all those areas as the firm achieves its objectives. I am not sure what sort of software talent we will find in this city, but the opportunity exists for some young hotshot to learn from some formerly young hotshots.
Startup Diaries delves into the lives of Wichita entrepreneurs as they do everything they can to grow their businesses.
For six weeks, Clint will update us on his business and his journey. If you, as a reader, have questions for him, reach out to The Chung Report via social media or our contact page.