February 20, 2013      

Bolt, a new Boston-based hardware incubator, has gained another investor in Grishin Robotics, the first venture capital firm in the world to focus on consumer robotics.

Bolt has acquired $3.52 million, according to an SEC filing filed February 14. The company aims to raise a total of $4.94 million in investment capital to help hardware startups (including robotics and connected devices) with seed capital and an extensive mentorship program.

Along with Grishin Robotics, there are another two strategic partners – Logitech and Autodesk–that also agreed to support Bolt’s startups with capital and parts/services. Among the prominent angel investors, partnered with Bolt, are Mick Mountz (Kiva Systems, acquired by Amazon) and Brad Feld (Foundry Group, investor in companies such as MakerBot and FitBit).

Bolt’s leadership team includes Ben Einstein (formerly of Brainstream Design), former Atlas Venture partner Axel Bichara and former iRobot VP of engineering Scott Miller, who is currently founder and CEO of Dragon Innovation.

Investors in Bolt seek to address the lack of early stage funding and emerging companies in the field of robotics, as well as promote robotics research with practical applications.

The incubator’s scope is global, but should serve as a boon to the abundance of Boston area robotics researchers and entrepreneurs who face major cost and time disadvantages when it comes to commercializing their products.

“But this disadvantage means it’s ripe for disruption. We’ve built a model that changes the equation and enables startups to get capital-efficient hardware to market at unprecedented speed,” said Bolt’s Managing Director, Ben Einstein.

Over the course of the next two years, Bolt will accept 25 hardware startups into its program. The application process for the first batch opens today at www.bolt.io and will last for 2 months–10-15 companies are going to be accepted for the 6-month program.

Projects’ founders will receive seed capital, access to office and prototyping facilities, and extensive support from a full-time engineering/design staff and a wide array of hardware-centric mentors.

Bolt’s program is focused on key aspects of ideation and development of any successful mass-market hardware products, including manufacturing and commercialization.

“The key to the upcoming consumer robotics revolution, I believe, is in the startup ecosystem. Talented hardware entrepreneurs, dreaming about a new generation of smart devices, do not have today a supporting community around,that is as developed as software developers do. That’s why we have decided to invest in Bolt–this is an investment into the market’s future,” said Dmitry Grishin, founder of Grishin Robotics and co-founder of the Mail.Ru Group.

Grishin, who graduated with distinction from the Faculty of Robotics and Complex Automation at Moscow State Technical University, has leveraged his extensive knowledge of software and Internet companies to invest in simple robotics technologies that answer specific consumer needs. Grishin Robotics has previously invested in Double Robotics and the Robots App Store.