Imagine you want to create something. In the case of Ian Bernstein and Adam Wilson, that thing was a platform to create robotics controlled by smartphones. It was that initial idea that set Bernstein and Wilson out on a mission to get into an accelerator program. They tried for most of the big programs but really wanted Techstars “primarily because of the mentorship”. Bernstein and Wilson are both techie software and hardware guys, and knew they needed help.
That was three years ago, and yes they got into Techstars. Back in August we brought you the story of how a brow beaten Wilson and Bernstein turned to startup community leader, mentor and investor Brad Feld. It was that meeting with Feld where they decided to create the Sphero ball.
I was first exposed to Sphero at the International CES in 2011. Wilson and Bernstein barely had a couple of prototypes but they were determined to show Sphero off to the world at an annual CES event called “Show Stoppers”. At that time I was still working on Thedroidguy and was amazed at how cool the Sphero ball was. Wilson and Bernstein were talking about freaking out cats and creating apps. That was 3 CES’s ago.
At last years CES (2012), Wilson and Bernstein were back, they had a product, and they had started selling it. Talks turned to apps and games that you could play with Sphero. Sphero had also been the center of attention at the previous years Google IO conference. Sphero had a section of the official Google after party where amidst pulsating music party goers could control Sphero around an obstacle course of sorts.
2012 was the year they really broke through though. Sphero attracted one of it’s biggest fans in President of the United States Barack Obama. Bernstein talks about that story in our video interview below.
Not only did they get the Presidential seal of approval on the Sphero ball, they had other big news just before the holidays. Back in October, it was announced that Sphero would be available in Target stores across the country.
It’s been a whirlwind three years for Orbotix and the Sphero ball. After covering the fun and cool factor of controlling a robotic ball with your smartphone, we got a chance to interview Bernstein on video about starting up. Check out the interview video below.
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