CORDIS - EU research results

KOBOT – a VOice-responsive RObot for the COnstruction floor

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - VOROCO (KOBOT – a VOice-responsive RObot for the COnstruction floor)

Reporting period: 2019-08-01 to 2020-01-31

KOBOTS is a spin-out from a craftsman company in 2018 to attract competences and investments to fuel our ambition of disrupting robot adoption at the building construction sites.

Only 1/3 of working hours in construction industry are pend on value added work. Traditional ways of working keep a considerable number of “manual” tasks at the construction site: As example, 80% of all materials delivered to a site needs further processing like cutting meaning that craftsmen will spend up to 50% of their total work time on low-value tasks such as measurement and cutting boards. The derived productivity loss of 18M construction workers in the EU tops €120Bn.

We have invented Amigo, a voice-responsive robot platform, which can be used on the construction site to automate up to 75% of time spend on routine cutting tasks. The robot is voice-responsive, flexible and transportable – it requires little training, leverages the craftsmen know-how and investment in power tools. Amigo also improves working environment (removing craftsmen from direct exposure to noise, dust and vibration) and safety (remove craftsmen from direct exposure to saw and heavy lifts of horizontally placed boards).

The business opportunity is vast. Our Total Addressable Market (TAM) is €43.2Bn. We aim to rapidly penetrate this market by introducing a far superior technology. Through our scalable distributor-based business model, we expect to capture a market share of 1.7% (of Serviceable Available Market), a turnover of €15.4M EBITA of €1.6M and additional employment of 45 people by 2022.

The SME-Instrument Phase 1 project VOROCO has allowed us to 1) strengthen our IP management strategy, 2) develop a clear go-to-market business plan, and 3) pilot the Amigo concept to gather further documentation of productivity gains and other tangible benefits. Output from this project will set the bases for validating our upcoming Amigo Generation 2, which we will ready for commercialisation with a SME-Instrument EIC Accelerator Pilot Project.
This Feasibility Study has enabled our company to perform key activities for validating the commercial and technical feasibility of the Amigo concept.

We have taken important steps to extend our IP asset portfolio and ensure our freedom to operate in our primary target markets – EU, UK and USA. During Phase 1, we have worked closely with our patent firm to develop and implement a robust IP protection strategy, performing various activities to ensure our successful market entry and later scale-up – monitor our patent applications, carry out an ongoing technology watch and file 1 additional national patent application protecting key features of the Amigo solution. Moreover, two national applications have been approved, with the possibility to continue with one or more national applications or PCT application, which we plan to initiate in Q2 2020 to secure protection of our Amigo innovation internationally. Finally, we worked with our solicitor to revise and strengthen our customer and employee contracts to further protect our IP assets.

The Amigo innovation is completely new to the construction industry, and thus we face many uncertainties when developing the optimal strategy for the successful introduction of our products onto the market. During this SME-Instrument Phase 1 project, we continuously developed our Business Plan with ‘on-the-ground’ knowledge we gathered from our lead-customers, distribution partners, suppliers and other key stakeholders.

We have engaged in following key areas of our business plan to validate the commercial feasibility of Amigo: Users/Customers and their Needs; Unique Selling Points; Market Analysis; Competitors and Competitive Advantage; Revenue Model; Scalability of our model; Commercialization Strategy and Plan in addition to Financial Projections, Growth and Impact; Key Performance Indicators and Risk mitigation

In this project we have carried out various activities that generated strong interest in the Amigo concept. In total, we held +50 in-person meetings, including prototype presentations, with +30 key decision makers from carpenter/plasterboard installer companies, construction equipment distributors, equipment rental companies, contractors, as well as construction industry associations. We have made pre-agreements with five large distributors and expect to sign three more pre-agreements in Q3/Q4 2020.

The conclusion of our Phase 1 Feasibility Study is to continue the VOROCO project. As a result of the work undertaken, we have evolved the strategic vision of our business idea. Below, we detail the changes made to the objectives, concept and approach and impact, of our business idea. Finally, we describe key areas of support that will help us develop our business further.

Changes to the objectives
The overall objectives of the VOROCO project remain the same – bring our core innovation to TRL 9 and reach high-volume sales in 2022. We have now detailed specific objectives and estimated costs to reach TRL 9 including detailed commercialization and dissemination plans.

Changes to the concept and approach
For commercially exploiting our Amigo innovation, our business model remains the same: KOBOTS assembles the Amigo units at its facilities in Odense (Denmark). The KOBOTS team performs Quality Assurance and product labelling before shipping the units to authorized distributors. KOBOTS will provide support to distributors to develop compelling marketing materials, as well as technical product support. Distributors are responsible for 1st-level support while KOBOTS will handle 2nd- and 3rd-level support.

Changes to the impact
We have changed the commercial impact that we expect the VOROCO project to have on our company. Based on our meetings with equipment distributors during Phase 1 and overwhelming demand for the Amigo product, we have increased our forecast sales to reflect the rapid growth that we expect already in year 1 of full commercial launch. Major equipment distributors have expressed to us their overwhelming interest in the Amigo concept to help them meet end-customers’ needs.