Thank you to David Reger, CEO and Founder of Neura Robotics, for joining us.
Thank you to David Reger, CEO and Founder of Neura Robotics, for joining us.
Neura is a leading robotics company working to give robots what they currently lack – a sense and a mind!
The business is currently based out of Germany and 2023 will see them expand their cognitive robots platform internationally. Neura brings its technologies to diverse markets in record time with partners from different industries through their established sales channels.
To find out how the Private Financing Markets team at UBS can support you on your journey, get in touch.
Can you tell us a bit about the genesis of Neura Robotics – what was the initial motivation and inspiration for the company?
Early on, I recognized key innovation gaps within the robotics industry that could not be overcome in more established corporate structures with modular systems. Together with my trusted core team, I established Neura Robotics, with the vision to create not only a new company, but an entirely new paradigm for the industry. One of the core goals for Neura is to no longer limit the use of robots to just industry, but also enable them to be used in all areas of society. Neura is creating the platform equivalent to a smartphone for robots, for which almost any conceivable industry application can be developed.
What is the core mission and aspiration for Neura Robotics?
Neura Robotics' mission is to empower humanity by enabling people to spend their time in enjoyable activities. I expect Neura's cognitive robotics to take on a variety of repetitive and dangerous tasks in society and industry. Neura offers solutions to skills shortages in areas where humans are currently severely overworked. In a not too distant future, cognitive robots will also help in private households and enable elderly people to live independently.
When you first started the business, how did you go about setting targets and milestones? What are some of the key goals and milestones you have planned for this new year?
Neura started with the goal of rapidly presenting a prototype of a fully autonomous, cognitive robot for the current industrial demand that combined components for perception, processing, reaction and learning within its body. All components were conceived from scratch and developed in-house. Agile methodology, and a small team allowed to operate free of conventions, were key to achieving a first prototype in just seven months – an industry record. Since then, and due to the overwhelming success of our products, which is reflected in orders worth 400 million euros, the Company's focus for 2023 is on expanding resilient production structures and a partner network around the world. Also in 2023, the first cognitive robot platform for service applications outside industry will be ready for series production. My long-term goal for Neura is for it to become the best-known robotics brand in the world.
What is your vision for Neura Robotics over the next 5-10 years?
Before ten years have passed, I foresee humanoid robots based on the Neura cognitive platform everywhere in public life where humans need to be relieved of heavy, dangerous or repetitive work. Through this, I hope to help provide solutions to many of today's problems, especially in areas such as health, care and public services.
Can you please describe to our readers the concept of collaborative and cognitive Robots? How do these differentiate from traditional robots?
Typical collaborative robots (cobots) only perform pre-programmed actions and cannot meaningfully react to unforeseen events. Thus, complex and costly safety precautions which also lead to performance losses and other disadvantages, are necessary. Cognitive robots on the other hand, can process sensory (vision, hearing and touch) stimuli and react independently to new and unfamiliar things – without having been programmed to do so beforehand! They can "remember" experiences for the future in order to further develop existing abilities. A cognitive robot safely recognizes a human being and adapts its actions accordingly. For example, in arm wrestling with a human, a cognitive robot will adjust the force of its motors every millisecond, letting the human win nicely by a very narrow margin. Collaborative robots are tasked with working together with humans!
Who do you consider to be your competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
I don’t believe Neura Robotics to have any direct competitors. Rather, Neura’s open partnership platform approach has brought in some of the world's largest robotics companies as partners. These corporate partners are licensing and adapting Neura’s breakthrough technologies for their own products and customer solutions. In the race with Tesla to produce the first humanoid robot ready for series production, Neura benefits from many years of robotics experience and a decisive location advantage in Europe for the production of high-precision quality hardware.
Can you please tell us what separates your MAiRA robot from other robots? What are some of the key use cases for the MAiRA robot?
Typical robots are the equivalent of a dial-up phone. Our MAiRA robots on the other hand are the smartphone equivalent. Thanks to proprietary, ground-breaking components such as force sensors and human recognition sensors already integrated into MAiRA, we believe it is one of the most accurate, fastest, safest, smartest cognitive robots currently available on the market. This makes MAiRA, the robot of choice for high-precision optical measurement processes of a truly well-known brand. MAiRA is the first robot that knows what a human being is and can safely plan their presence into their movements from a distance in order to safely exclude "collisions". Even difficult tasks for which other robots require time-consuming programming can be taught to MAiRA intuitively with words and gestures – in just a few minutes.
What do you think are the biggest problems facing humanity that can be solved with cognitive robots?
There are many problems that cognitive robots can help solve. For example, cognitive robots can take on many unpleasant service tasks such as garbage disposal and transport/delivery of loads. In care facilities and hospitals, cognitive robots can relieve the workload on specialist staff, leaving more time for human relationships with patients. As household helpers, cognitive robots can ensure that older people can live in their own homes for longer. Cognitive robots can potentially be further used in the active cleaning of rivers and oceans to curb the spread of plastic waste.
Can you please tell us more about the Neura Robotics Neuraverse platform? How do you envision clients to be able to leverage this service?
The easiest way to explain the Neuraverse would be to compare it to an app store for smartphone applications. While Neura Robotics provides the robotics hardware and components, including an operating system; manufacturers, system integrators and service providers worldwide can contribute applications and extensions to it, which are available to users in industry and society to use their robot for a wide variety of flexible applications.
Most young robotics companies are trying to sell DTC with a RaaS model. Can you talk a bit about the business model at Neura Robotics?
Neura Robotics' products are available through established sales channels and at the terms and conditions of our global partners. Preference is given to models that are comparable to Robot as a Service (RaaS), so that users can predictably calculate the expenditure for our platforms as operating costs and permanently benefit from the latest technological developments. In the future, Neura will also receive fees from application developers who offer their apps in the Neuraverse. When products for private households are rolled out, it will also be possible to purchase certain standard products directly from Neura Robotics, just as you would buy hardware from an Apple store.
What have been some of the biggest hurdles that Neura Robotics has had to overcome to reach where it is today?
Rapid growth is of course always challenging for established and especially young companies. I think Neura’s greatest challenge is to balance between: today's industrial applications that make Neura a economically strong and independent company, and Neura’s vision of a near future in which Neura as a brand for cognitive robots is everywhere in everyday life.
How does the current economic situation affect you, especially in Europe?
To-date the current global economic situation has not negatively impacted Neura. We are monitoring the situation very closely. Supply chains, especially from China, are not a problem for Neura, as 90% of all components come from Germany right from the start. The development of energy costs is a factor, especially since the entire production was relocated from China to Germany at the beginning of 2022. However, it has not yet been necessary to pass on the higher costs to customers, as there is sufficient scope in the margins due to in-house production of all components. Neura has successfully tapped into investor’s appetite to invest into quality European technology companies like Neura, to raise additional capital which will allow Neura to continue its growth, regardless of global market situations.
What are your three biggest takeaways in your journey as an entrepreneur?
- Agile, smaller teams can use unconventional processes to develop world-changing solutions in a very short time
- Sometimes, it actually makes sense to literally reinvent the wheel, even if everyone says: why should we do that?
- Faith can move mountains. Really!
Is there anything else you would like investors to know about Neura Robotics?
We are committed to peaceful robotics!