Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do? Please introduce yourselves!
Angsa Robotics: We are Lukas Wiesmeier (25), Karl Schulz (28) and Bilal Tariq (25). Together, we’re the founders of Angsa Robotics. As a team, we have a comprehensive academic background as alumni of the TUM degree programs Management & Technology (Lukas), Mechanical Engineering (Bilal) and Robotics, Cognition, Intelligence (Karl).
We met in April 2019 at the “makeathon” Think. Make. Start., which was organized by TUM in collaboration with UnternehmerTUM. In short, it’s a ten-day event in which you identify real world problems and solve them using hardware prototyping. Karl and Lukas’ team came together to work on the topic of sustainability and Bilal was on board as the coach.
Sustainability on its own initially sounds vague and a lot like a buzzword. But by working effectively, the team was able to quickly validate not only that the identified problem was an ecological issue, but that it also causes our customers financial headaches. With the team’s expertise, it was possible to quickly demonstrate that the targeted use of artificial intelligence could create significant added value.
Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?
Angsa Robotics: Small bits of trash on lawns and gravel pose both an ecological and financial problem. In contrast to asphalt, it isn’t possible to use conventional street sweepers on these areas, which is why they have to be cleaned by hand. The time-consuming process entails considerable costs after large events and for operators of parks and other green spaces.
“Yet to be solved in this form in sustainable and cost-effective terms”
Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!
Angsa Robotics: You might think that, since there are some interesting projects in research and the industrial sector where we have some similarities. Recognizing trash on conveyer belts using neural networks or navigating autonomous street sweepers and lawn mowers are some examples that could be mentioned. But the AI architecture that we’ve developed to recognize trash on heterogeneous terrain and its combination with targeted removal using our hardware is new and has yet to be solved in this form in sustainable and cost-effective terms.
Munich Startup: Was there a point when you nearly failed?
Angsa Robotics: I think we’re not the only ones, but the corona crisis has definitely presented us with a few challenges. As a startup that develops hardware, we had to quickly respond to the situation. Not only working from home, but also our market posed us some questions because we had arranged multiple pilot projects in the festival area. But we reworked all our areas of business and found ways to continue to develop our product with hardly any delay and were even able to acquire new pilot customers during the time.
Market launch for Angsa Robotics in summer 2021
Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, and where in five years?
Angsa Robotics: In the years to come, we will bring our robot to market maturity to launch it as a product on the market in the summer of 2021. In addition to the German market, we would also like to gain more customers from abroad in fall and winter. As the “Outdoor Roomba,” we see a great deal of potential for continued rapid and sustainable growth in the years to come.
Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?
Angsa Robotics: Outstanding. The TUM and UnternehmerTUM network along with all of the accelerators and incubators as well as contact with other startups in the Munich area have been helpful quite a few times. And even beyond TUM and UnternehmerTUM, the startup community and network are closely linked in Munich. In total, the world is usually smaller than you think and you often meet up through multiple channels. At the same time, having this kind of infrastructure, links to suppliers and proximity to customers is something we would not want to do without. The combination gives us the ideal conditions to strategically grow based in Munich.
Munich Startup: Bike or e-scooter?
Angsa Robotics: Definitely bikes! Technology for technology’s sake is not part of our concept. A trusty bike needs fewer resources and also gives you more flexibility than an e-scooter.