Editor’s Note: Robotics Business Review’s coverage emphasizes innovation, including start-up companies (or ‘young’ companies). RBR “Start-Up Profiles” highlight individual start-up companies using a consistent, templated format that makes for quick, yet informed reading, that also simplifies comparative analysis.
FLX Solutions – Company Profile
|Country:||USA||# of Employees:||<10|
Founder – Matthew Bilsky (CEO)
Funding Status – $500k seed round
(FLX Solutions) initial target customers are in the telecom/utilities, oil/gas/energy, and construction/demolition industries which use piping systems that are difficult to inspect, remove obstructions, or repair.
FLX Solutions – Offerings Profile
Primary Target Markets – FLX Solutions offers highly functional, intelligent robots that are miniaturized to operate in spaces that humans and traditional robots cannot easily access. Our initial target customers are in the telecom/utilities, oil/gas/energy, and construction/demolition industries which use piping systems that are difficult to inspect, remove obstructions, or repair. Our first product, The FLX BOT, solves this problem.
Technology / Product / Service(s) – The FLX BOT is a patented, snake-like robot that is one inch in diameter. It expands, braces and climbs to maneuver within a customer’s infrastructure and then uses customizable end effectors such as drills, grippers, and vacuums to perform the necessary maintenance. Our modular robot is made up of identical, interchangeable links that have cameras to enable 3D mapping and autonomous navigation. The FLX BOT’s intuitive user interface and accessible pricing makes fleet-wide deployments possible, saving meaningful time and money for customers.
Value Proposition – Legacy non-robotic solutions within our target industries require costly demolition/repair and significantly increase the time to complete projects and perform routine maintenance. Service robots are the clear solution, and The FLX BOT is highly differentiated compared to similarly shaped competitors. Size and maneuverability are important characteristics for our robot as we need to be small enough to enter enclosed spaces such as pipes and wall studs and seamlessly navigate within them.
The FLX Bot is 1” in diameter and navigates using patented extension and rotation functionality with its modular links. Others in the market are 3X to 10X larger in size, preventing them from entering the spaces that we can and maneuvering within corners or T-shaped junctions. Price is another major area of differentiation and a big part of our value proposition for customers. Because of our modular design and our ability to use 3D printed and standard stock parts, our price is expected to be under $10k per unit depending on configuration, which is 10% or less than other solutions in the market. Our ability to fit within both large and small company budgets will be a big factor in driving our widespread commercial adoption.
Demand Drivers – The demand drivers for the FLX BOT are centered around our customers’ desire to reduce their operational costs and increase their automation capabilities. The cost savings are significant and are driven by lower equipment costs using our solution, faster project completion times, and reducing worker injuries.
With the introduction of our autonomous capabilities, we will offer a SaaS based model with a tandem software platform that delivers computationally intensive functionality for 3D image rendering and cloud based path planning.
FLX Solutions – Business Model(s) and Competition
Business Model – FLX Solutions will have three revenue models. Our initial launch model will be hardware sales of the FLX BOT to large B2B customers in the telecom/utilities, oil/gas/energy, and construction/demolition industries, with customer penetration primarily through distributor and OEM partnerships. The sales price is expected to be under $10k per unit depending on configuration, generating a healthy gross margin. Next, with the introduction of our autonomous capabilities, we will offer a SaaS based model with a tandem software platform that delivers computationally intensive functionality for 3D image rendering and cloud based path planning. With this revenue model, the hardware cost will be partially or fully subsidized by software fees.
Our third revenue model will be licensing of our IP and functionality to other robotics companies. We expect our patents to create a large opportunity for this licensing model as functional robotics become pervasive in every industry.
Partners – Despite being pre-revenue, FLX Solutions was recruited by the telecommunications industry to participate in the Boomtown Startup Accelerator and has resulted in a large cable/telecom company becoming an investor in FLX Solutions with whom we have begun to spec out short/medium term pilot opportunities. FLX Solutions is also a Ben Franklin Technology Partners Portfolio Company and are members of the South Bethlehem Keystone Innovation Zone. Matt Bilsky represents FLX Solutions on the industry advisory board for the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance (PITA) grant organization.
Customers – B2B and licensing for B2B2C
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