HELSINKI — Marvelmind Robotics, a Skolkovo resident startup that makes high-precision indoor navigation systems, has made it through to the semifinals of the Slush 100 Pitching Competition in Helsinki. 

Maxim Tretyakov, CEO of Marvelmind Robotics, at the Skolkovo stand at Slush on Thursday. Photo:

The company, one of four Skolkovo residents selected for the first stage of the competition, which began on Wednesday, pitched its product again to a panel of international investors and experts on Thursday morning after being named as one of 20 semi-finalists. Four finalists are due to be announced, who will battle it out later Thursday for an equity investment prize expected to total about 650,000 euros provided by the Finnish Business Angel Network and EVLI Bank. 

Marvelmind’s system uses stationary ultrasonic beacons united by a radio interface together with mobile beacons installed on robots to ensure indoor navigation technology that is precise to within two centimetres, Maxim Tretyakov, CEO of Marvelmind Robotics, told the audience of the pitching semifinals at the giant Slush event for tech startups on Thursday.

“You have the stationary beacons installed at distances of 30 metres,” he explained. “There is a central controller that controls all of them and tells them to listen to the mobile beacon installed on the robot.” 

The technology can be used in virtual reality to track a user’s movements, by installing a mobile beacon on a VR helmet, Tretyakov said. It can also be used on delivery robots in warehouses to send them exactly where they are needed, and on copters to direct the shooting of videos, for example.

Marvelmind previously won the first prize of 5 million yuan ($740,000) at the Slush Shanghai pitching competition for the best seed-stage companies in October. 

Many competing systems are being developed to overcome the problem of GPS technology not working indoors, but Marvelmind says nothing can compete with its technology in terms of precision and price. 

“Bluetooth and wifi give three-metre precision. The only real precision comes from ultra-wideband technology, but we are 10 times more precise and 10 times cheaper,” said Tretyakov. 

A complete set of beacons and the controller costs $349, he said, showing the audience a compact box. 

Marvelmind started developing its technology in 2013, made its first sales in 2015, and has now sold $80,000 worth of technology, said Tretyakov.  The company became a resident of Skolkovo’s space cluster earlier this year, and has used the territory of the innovation centre outside Moscow to test and refine its product.

Its customers include corporate giants such as Lufthansa, which uses the technology to guide vehicles in its hangars, and Boeing and Cisco, as well as fellow Skolkovo resident Promobot, which makes promotional robots.