A UK robotics company has been heralded the best startup of its kind at an international conference in the US.
Q-Bot, founded by ideas-man Tom Lipinski, won the award at the Invention and Entrepreneurship in Robotics conference in Seattle this week for his 4-wheeled robot that can survey and apply insulation to the underside of floorboards after it's inserted through an air vent. Previously, the only way to insulate floorboards was to lift them – a relatively expensive and inconvenient procedure.
“A UK start-up winning a world entrepreneurship award in robotics might sound odd – we consider Japan as the leader in robotics and the US the leader in enterprise,” said Lipinski. “However, very little of current robotics is being applied in real life, especially in the US. With Q-Bot we are helping to reduce fuel poverty and improve lives while saving energy and helping the environment.”
Q-Bot has already been trialled by social housing clients including Camden Council, Peabody and CityWest Homes.
The company claims that insulating under floorboards can save people between £200 and £300 a year on their energy bills.
Lipinski is now talking to private investors in the hope of securing further funding that will enable him to meet the demand he claims to have seen for the Q-Bot.
The serial entrepreneur, is being backed (not for the first time) by Innovate UK – the government innovation agency with an annual budget of around £500 million.
“None of this would have happened without Innovate UK. We identified the problem through the Retrofit for the Future programme, and Innovate UK has supported us at every stage since, from proof of concept to where we are now," said Lipinski. "It’s allowed us to sit down and look at all the options, all the consequences and all the risks.”