But what to do after achieving the long-time goal? After all, it is not that motivating to break your own record and get the chance to call oneself bigger than the previous – already the most successful of its kind – event. As it happened, one new initiative led to another.
Ahti Heinla, the founding engineer of Skype and lately, the founder and CEO of Starship Technologies – the company behind its namesake delivery robots – had previously attended the Robotex competition, thinking building robots would be easy and fun. While it was definitely fun, it didn’t turn out to be that easy. Yet it ignited the interest to keep on exploring the field.
When developing Starship, Heinla had a new challenge – how to find more hireable talent. The Estonian universities are constantly gearing up to meet the needs of the job market, but that’s not enough to support all the various startups. Hence the idea was to import talent from elsewhere by first attracting them to Estonia. But how?
This is where Robotex proved its usefulness, again. The festival had already set some activities in motion by starting to work on attracting more international talent to Estonia. With the extra funding from Heinla, Robotex wanted to make sure the 2017 event would attract more talent than ever before. And for that, Sander Gansen, the chairman of Robotex, started to travel towards all directions – Colombia, France, Japan, China, the United States, India and other countries – with the sole mission to promote the event.
And it worked. For the first time, Robotex 2017 had groups of participants from Mexico and China, as well as multiple journalists from Japan and Singapore.