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Posted on December 21, 2018 by staff

Sky’s the limit for UK robotics start-up

The 27-year-old entrepreneur behind Reach Robotics has outlined his ambitions to become the world’s “leading consumer robotics company”.

Silas Adekunle is the founding CEO of robotics, augmented reality and mobile gaming business Reach Robotics, which last year celebrated two enormous milestones: a game-changing distribution deal with Apple and raising almost £6 million in funding.

Along with Chris Beck and John Rees, Adekunle has spent the last four years developing MekaMon, hailed as the world’s first intelligent gaming robot, which made headlines globally when it launched in November 2017.

More recently, the start-up has celebrated the launch of MekaMon V2 and secured a distribution deal with Amazon. Adekunle says the £5.8 million investment “allows us to start really planning for the future”.

“We really want to bring the price down to make the product more accessible,” he said, adding that a portion of the funds will be invested in R&D to make that feasible.

“We’ve also started planning our future roadmap – from looking at different product categories to the industries we want to play in.”

In addition to being a popular consumer product, Adekunle says education is “a big market” for the company but remains tight-lipped about where the business might go next. “Without giving too much away, there are other directions we’re starting to look at,” he said.

Adekunle moved with his family to the UK when he was 11 after what he describes as a “magical childhood” in Lagos, where he says he had a “deep love” for science and engineering and spent “a lot of time tinkering with stuff”.

This included building a rudimentary robot which consisted of a motor with two batteries stuck to the side.

“When I moved to the UK I started going to after school clubs, that was kind of my introduction to computers and robotics,” he said. “I just fell in love with it and I knew that at some point in my life I’d work in the robotics field.”

Adekunle launched the start-up while still at university but admits that he needed to find co-founders to help him get the idea off the ground as he didn’t have business experience.

Since its inception five years ago, Reach has grown 129 per cent and made a number of key appointments including Dr Jonathan Quinn from Cardiff University to lead the games team.

The team now also consists of CFO Philip Green, former finance boss at Deliveroo and finance director for EU operations at Amazon; marketing director James Honeywell, who has 21 years of experience at Nintendo launching Gameboy Advance, Wii, DS and 3DS; and computer vision engineer Ian Hales, who joined from Boeing.

Reach’s flagship product, MekaMon Berserker, was met with high praise when it launched last year, with Apple listing the unit as part of its select product push during the Christmas period in 2017.

The company’s MekaMon Berserker V2 is now also available on Amazon and in Selfridges, Harrods and other major department stores across Europe. It boasts a “complete overhaul” of the app and gaming experience and features a more durable and ‘expressive’ robot.

Adekunle’s five-year vision is to build Reach into the leading consumer robotics company in the world. “There aren’t many of us at the moment so we have to aim high,” he said.