Looking out 20 years, do you think we will all have a Rosie-type robot in our homes, doing chores and fitting in as a member of our family? Most of us believe this future is likely. But how do we get to there?
Misty Robotics, from the makers of Sphero, the leaders in connected play products like BB-8, believes they have an answer. They view the path to universal robot adoption similarly to how other major tech products evolved, such as the personal computer. The world is not yet ready to buy a personal Rosie robot on Amazon. Instead, the path to this future is likely composed of many methodical steps.
The first PCs had very few applications. They largely appealed to innovators and developers as a platform on which applications could be built. The Apple ][ ads proclaimed that it shipped with BASIC and your first night you could be “entering your own instructions and watching them work.” It was a highly capable computer with great specs meant to inspire you to program it. Eventually, Apple believed, applications would emerge obviating the need for Apple ][ owners to need to know how to program. When Apple Writer and (later) VisiCalc appeared (both created by third-party developers), the computer took on entirely new purpose and general appeal.
The Misty team believes we are in the same stage of personal robotics. There are more than a million casual and professional roboticists in the world, tinkering and creating robots. But every time someone wants to program a robot to do something, they usually have to start by building the robot itself. There aren’t any fully-capable general purpose consumer robots.
Yet many of the great technology shifts emerge as platforms, on top of which innovators and creators build useful, diverse and ultimately world-changing applications.
Welcome to Misty. It will take time for Misty to become something all consumers want to buy. That is not the early focus here. But we believe the technology is in the right state to enable innovators to create the diverse set of skills and capabilities required for broad market use.
The Misty team is an incredible group of passionate roboticists and consumer product experts who have built and shipped consumer devices that have sold many millions of units. Ian’s Sphero background has taught him and his team plenty about the way consumers buy and engage with connected robots. Tim’s Apple and Nest experiences inform his passion for building high-performing teams who ship elegant and successful must-have products.
Together, this team has a grand vision — one day, we will all have a robot in every home and office, helping us, entertaining us, and joining us as part of our family. We are honored and proud to be along for the ride, along with some fantastic co-investors, like Brad at Foundry. I am also thankful to Paul at Sphero for helping see the promise of this idea and organizing a spin-out to allow it to reach its full potential.
As a partnership, before making an investment, we always ask, “if everything goes right, how big could this be?” In this case, the answer is “huge” and we look forward to trying to help the team build an incredibly meaningful and impactful company.