Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR), Hardware/Robotics

Pittsburgh, PA
Full Time

Innovation Works, Inc. - Job Description


Job Description:             Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR), Hardware/Robotics


Overview of Position:


The EIR role is highly visible within the startup community - both in Pittsburgh and globally. The EIR will lead the Startup Studio in the newly formed Robotics Factory. This position is responsible to identify industry segments and recruit potential commercial partners to explore the development and formation of new startups as part of the Robotics Factory. S/he will work closely with the Pittsburgh Robotics Network and will build relationships with key groups and leading individuals in the commercial, research and startup community, with a specific focus on identifying new robotics opportunities. S/he is a key part of the Hardware/Robotics group, including as an operational team member of the group’s programs to support the Innovation Works’ robotics portfolio.


Primary Responsibilities:


Industry Engagement

  • Act as primary relationship owner to commercial and industrial end-users to identify industry needs and opportunities. Work directly with the PRN to recruit companies to participate in industry workshops.
  • Identify, evaluate and select pre-launch entrepreneurs for entry in a multi-week program designed to validate, modify, or abandon startup ideas quickly, or pivot to a successful idea.
  • Create and lead pre-launch programming which will immerse entrepreneurs in all the operational and business aspects of their target industry while enabling rapid feedback and idea generation with fellow entrepreneurs, industry experts and mentors.
  • Work direclty with entrepreneurs to create their new enterprise and provide assistance with funding, launch, and rollout plans.  
  • Work with CEO, founders/senior management of portfolio companies and represent Innovation Works as Board of Directors Observer as appropriate.
  • Leverage IW resources and networks for benefit of pre-formation companies. Identify opportunities that can be beneficial for companies (e.g. events, competitions, investor or corporate visits)
  • Maintain and enhance the alumni/portfolio network by building community among the entrepreneurs.


Investment Strategy and Management

  • Lead decisions on recommendation for seed funding for Studio graduates, (including market due diligence), presenting to IW Investment Committee and BOD for approval. Work with company to define milestones for investments.
  • Thought leadership and current market knowledge of one (or more) key robotics sectors of focus for team (e.g. Manufacturing, construction, agriculture, warehousing, etc. )) - e.g. market trends, investment landscape, key metrics
  • Support overall team recruiting strategy and efforts and execute recruiting plans for key sector(s) of leadership - including nurturing key relationships, participating in office hours and attending priority community events
  • Support Studio and accelerator investment process, including reviewing applications and participating in interviews.
  • Ensure completion of Administrative (and CRM systems) requirements including state reporting, final client reporting, client surveys and site visits.



  • Participate in Robotics Factory accelerator program including, but not limited to: content creation, leading sessions, mentor accelerator and portfolio companies, provide constructive feedback on progress and help identify gaps and nurture relationships with potential customers. funders and partners, and attending events.
  • Support IW and hardware/robotics sector strategy for programs and other scalable methods to benefit companies in portfolio. Programs may include programming, content development, or networking events for portfolio companies.
  • Contribute to programs including content creation, leading sessions, attending events.


Partner and Network Relationships

  • Build IW networks for benefit of hardware/robotics product portfolio companies. Examples include investor, corporate, manufacturing, mentor and digital networks.
  • Build new and nurture existing relationships with key partners, especially in hardware/robotics sector(s) of focus  – including community, university, and economic development.
  • Represent Innovation Works, hardware / robotics group and accelerators at community and partner events, through attendance, participating and speaking.
  • Work closely with Pittsburgh Robotics Network to promote the Pittsburgh ecosystem and support regular industry workshops. Represent Innovation Works at national conferences or other forums convening robotics, hardware or technology development leaders


Internal Collaboration

  • Work collaboratively with internal partners (e.g. Investment Committee, Legal Counsel) to execute on seed investments including legal due diligence
  • Deliver against team and individual performance against KPI’s around network development and engagement with companies
  • Represent hardware / robotics group within Innovation Works and work effectively in a collegial, cross-functional organization. In particular, work with teammates within Hardware/Robotics Group and in other Industry Groups (software, life sciences) to ensure appropriate level of consistency across our programs - including shared learnings on investments and company engagement


Qualifications and Requirements:


  • Bachelor’s degree in a technical field, minimum 7-10 years of experience
  • Prior experience working in a robotics or advanced technology startup company with demonstrated success in business development and/or deploying technical solution into a new market.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, leadership, teamwork, verbal and written communications are a must.
  • Demonstrated ability to simultaneously handle time-sensitive issues for a diverse set of portfolio companies.
  • Ability to drive results (both individually and collaboratively in an organization)
  • Needs to be flexible and adaptable in a fast moving environment.
  • Ability to think strategically and execute tactically.
  • Comfort communicating with substance in a transparent, direct manner.
  • Needs to be able to balance advocacy for companies with representing IW investment interests
  • The highest level of integrity and the ability to maintain confidential information are a must.



  • Prior experience as a founder or founding team member working in a robotics or advanced technology startup company is strongly desired.
  • Domain and industry expertise in at least robotics domain such as autonomy, factory automation, AI, computer vision, etc.
  • Advanced degree in business or technical field incudling product and/or business development
  • Online presence and passion for entrepreneurial/startup community is important. Demonstrated ability with building community and partnerships is a strong plus.
  • Fluent in modern productivity tools such as Google Apps and/or MSOffice suite, Slack and Salesforce, are important. Individuals should be comfortable using various social networks to promote the Robotics Factory, Innovation Works, its companies and to engage with the startup community.


Complete other duties and projects as assigned.


Innovation Works provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.


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