Skolkovo resident company VisionLabs has been selected as one of just six projects in the final competition of Innorobo, Europe’s biggest robotics trade fair.

VisionLabs will now pitch its facial recognition technology, software and cloud solutions to an investor panel at Innorobo on the first day of the international event, which runs from May 24 to 26 in Paris.

VisionLabs displaying its facial recognition technology at an earlier exhibition. Photo: Skolkovo Robotics.

The founders of VisionLabs, a resident of the Skolkovo Foundation’s IT cluster, were in Silicon Valley meeting with clients, partners and financial institutes when they found out they were finalists.

“This news was completely unexpected for us,” said Alexey Nekhaev, co-founder of VisionLabs. “Of course we’re pleased that our company is rated so highly by the jury. We believe that the revolution in robotics will take place as a result of computer vision technologies, and it seems we are not alone in this,” he said.

Moscow-based VisionLabs produces facial recognition software packages for companies such as banks and retail chains, allowing them to combat fraud, monitor the speed of client service and recognise loyal customers.

Of the 44 semi-finalists selected for the Innorobo competition, 10 were Skolkovo projects. The six finalists were selected by an investor panel based on three criteria: market, traction and execution. They are provided with a startup booth to exhibit their product at Innorobo free of charge, and their travel expenses to the event are covered.

This will be VisionLabs’ first visit to Innorobo, and Nekhaev said that taking part was more important to the company than winning the competition. 

Skolkovo robots took part in the opening ceremony of last year's Innorobo. Photo:

“It’s important for us to take part in Innorobo, as it’s a large international arena where we can share our vision with a large number of partners, clients and research groups,” he explained.

Innorobo aims to showcase the latest trends in robotics from around the world, in markets ranging from medicine and factories to smart cities and homes. In addition to the exhibition and competition for robotics startups, the event comprises conferences with leading robotics experts and workshops designed to encourage cross-innovation.

“I am pleased to see a Russian finalist in the jury selection,” said Catherine Simon, CEO of Innoecho, the company that organises Innorobo.

“The Skolkovo Robotics Centre and Innorobo share the common objective of supporting promising startups in their entry onto the market. VisionLabs’ algorithm for face recognition could find multiple fields of application when embedded in robotics systems,” she told

Among the speakers at this year’s Innorobo keynote will be Albert Yefimov, head of Skolkovo’s Robocentre, who will tell the conference about the Russian robotics market on May 25.

“As we [Russian robotics specialists] are very strong in the development of unique software, the jury’s choice of VisionLabs’ facial recognition programme is not a surprise,” said Yefimov. “Especially considering that the team has already achieved good results – it’s one of the world’s top three commercial facial recognition systems.”

At the competition final, VisionLabs will be battling it out against Open Bionics, which makes affordable 3D-printed bionic hands; Axilum Robotics, which works on robotized assistance in medical procedures; Muse Robotics, which makes light industrial, bio-lab and service robots; Grillbot, a robotic grill cleaner; and Terabee, which makes miniature sensors for distance measurement for use with robots and drones.

The Skolkovo Foundation will have its own stand exhibiting its other robotics projects at the Innorobo forum, which is attended by both startups and large corporations, as well as public agencies, investors and tech providers.

Last year, six Skolkovo projects exhibited at Innorobo in Lyon: Promobot, ExoAtlet, Wicron, Lexy, Tsuru Robotics and Cyber Tech. Robots made by Skolkovo companies took part in cutting the event’s ceremonial ribbon.