The robots have arrived and are here to help
With innovation in technology and robotics, many fear that robots will one day replace the work done by human beings. Although robots have tremendously helped in terms of efficiency, it still seems humans are handy to keep around. The founders of Clearpath Robotics (Matthew Rendall, Ryan Gariepy, Pat Martinson and Bryan Webb) think a little differently. Upon graduating from the University of Waterloo, these four friends decided to start a robotics company that would in fact eliminate the need for human capital. This may seem like a terrible thing for those of us looking to keep our job but it is important to understand their true mission. This team is dedicated to automating the world’s dullest, dirtiest, and deadliest jobs. So many jobs which are unsafe are still performed by real people who step into work every day risking their lives. These new grads are looking to change this. They are using robots to make the world a little safer and a lot more efficient.
“If an entrepreneurial idea is to succeed, it needs to go global.”*
It is hard to imagine that Clearpath Robotics, now an international brand started in a basement with four engineering students. The founders all had a passion for robotics and the desire to really disrupt the industry. As new graduates they felt the industry they were entering was outdated. By stepping onto the scene fearless and unafraid to make mistakes, their company was able to take off within the first year.
“We decided it was not worth starting a business if we couldn’t convince someone to give us money.” As a student startup, Clearpath Robotics definitely faced financial barriers. The four founders decided not to incorporate before knowing their sales projections. They marketed toward researchers and their first supporter was the University of Waterloo which helped them build credibility and ultimately got their foot in the door.
From the very start these entrepreneurs wanted global growth and they wanted it fast. Some may call this ambitious but the results speak for themselves. What is their code for success? Clearpath Robotics always ensured prices lower than their competitors, they also pride themselves on great customer service. Perhaps there was a little luck thrown into this formula but whatever it was this company is no where near slowing down. With customers such as Nasa, MIT and the United States Military these Canadian engineers have truly made a name for themselves.
The future is now
Clearpath Robotics has a lot to be proud of over these last few years. From starting their business in a basement they are now running a multi-million dollar corporation. Matthew Rendall was even named an EY entrepreneur of the year award winner in 2013. It is incredible just how far you can take a business when you are truly passionate about something. These engineers loved robotics and were able to turn their hobby into a profitable profession.
As for the future of Clearpath Robotics, it seems they will continue their growth strategy while always focusing on the customer. Robotics is an industry that is constantly evolving and they will be on the cutting edge of innovation. For right now Clearpath is still focused on tossing in some fun alongside their hard work. Sometimes they are doing hackathons other times they are playing frisbee at lunch. Matthew Rendall (CEO) believes in being a coach over a boss which has shaped the culture at Clearpath. This strong culture and love for robotics has made these new grads and their robot friends a serious force to be reckoned with.
One last piece of advice from Matthew Rendall, “Don’t wait. The longer you wait, the harder it will be. The great thing about starting a company fresh out of school is that you’re already used to living like a broke student.”
Things to consider
If you are an entrepreneur here are some things to consider:
- Your customer is your boss, always put them first
- Before creating your business make sure there is someone willing to buy your product or service
- By keeping prices lower than competitors it can be easier to break into the global market