Two important questions: are robots the new growth market and is New York currently the best place for an (European) investment fund
Grishin Robotics
by +Kellya Clanzig, +EuroTech; Germany

Dmitry Grishin, CEO and chairman of, announced last Friday the launch of Grishin Robotics, an investment fund focused on backing next generation technology in robotics. 

As the CEO of (a popular Russian portal for e-mail, blogs, social networking, and file hosting) Grishin is considered one of the most successful young entrepreneurs in Russia. Thanks to his experience in the evolving Web, he wants to see similarly brisk innovation drive the robotics sector. 

Grishin Robotics will invest $25 million toward the development of robotics with a focus on bringing the technology into private households. With this investment, Grishin comes back to its first interests, as he earned a master in robotics and complex automation at Bauman Moscow State Technical University.

Dmitry is the sole investor in Grishin Robotics and personally considers each prospective opportunity, supported by a team of professionals. Individual investments by Grishin Robotics are expected to range from $500,000 to $3.5 million. He will look for early- and mid-stage companies developing new technology to make robots part of consumers’ lives. Grishin would also look at technology born at universities, as he explained “If you look at startups in robotics right now, they are usually spin offs from universities.” Such companies can have trouble getting venture capital funding because personal robotics is a newer, riskier market. “It is very important for robotics that you have long money, not short money,” he said. “It’s a capital intensive business. You need someone who will believe in your startup.”

Grishin says he sees a chance now to be part of a sector that has the potential for rapid growth. “If you look at the robotics industry, it is similar to PC industry in the early 1980s,” he says. Indeed, industrial robots had worldwide sales of $5.7 billion compared with personal robot sales of $538 million in 2010, according to the International Federation of Robotics. But the robotics association expects the fast-growing personal robot market to reach $4.3 billion by 2014.

There may be opportunities, according to Grishin, for robots to be used for entertainment, education, and transportation. “Historically it was very expensive to build robots, because of recent innovations, it gives you the ability to build robots much more cheaply,” he declared. Grishin will provide more than funding to bring personal robots to market, using his background as CEO of an Internet company to help robotics companies get beyond the engineering issues and market their products to meet consumer demands. He also stressed that entrepreneurs in robotics must create technology that responds to real-world needs. 

He chose New York as the home for the new fund because of the access to capital – which he hopes to see channeled into the sector. The city can also be a springboard for reaching other innovation hubs across country such as Boston and San Francisco, he says. Furthermore, Grishin says, he was drawn to New York’s growing tech community. “Combining all these elements, this is the perfect place to be,” he says. The New York-based fund will also look for investment opportunities abroad.

To apply for Grishin Robotics funds, you simply have to send your project description, business plan and any other relevant materials to

Do you think it was necessary to go to the US to create this fund, or would an European fund have create more opportunities?


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