I had the fortune of participating in a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new headquarters of Harvest Automation, a Billerica-based materials handling robotics company. Pictured here are Fouad Azzam, General Partner of Life Sciences Partners, Billerica Town Manager John Curran, State Representative Bill Green, Charles Grinnell, Founder and CEO of Harvest Automation, Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Gregory Bialecki, Andy Ziolkowski, Partner at Midpoint Food and Agriculture, me (Tom Hopcroft, President & CEO, Mass Technology Leadership Council) and Dina Routhier, Principat at MTDC.
The company was founded by ex-iRobot and ex-DEKA executives and recently funded to the tune of $4M by MTDC, Life Sciences Partners, and Midpoint Food and Agriculture. Harvest Automation has ambitious plans and expects to grow from 10 to 25 employees this year. In fact, they hired one person they met at MassTLC's RoboTuesday: Hiring Here event just last month.
Harvest Automation is representative of a cluster of about 100 robotics companies in Massachusetts that employs over 2500 people (90% local hires) and generates close to a Billion in revenue annually.
Earlier this year, MassTLC issued a Challenge to the broader technology community to create 100,000 new jobs in the coming decade. Harvest Automation is part of a trend in recent weeks towards investing and growing in Massachusetts. Some other recent examples include: Verizon breaking ground on a new Technology Innovation Center in Waltham, Microsoft announcing significant expansion of their New England Research and Development (NERD) center in Cambridge, Mass-based Constant Contact’s acquisition of CA-based NutshellMail, and IBM’s forthcoming opening of their largest software lab in North America right here in (Littleton) MA.