Willow Garage, a research firm established back in 2006 by Scott Hassan, is shutting down. This is very significant for the robotics industry because the firm was among the pioneers in robotic research and software.
The way Willow Garage worked was fairly amazing. Hassan used to fund the venture with $20 million of his money each year, hire the best brains in the robotics industry and allow them to pursue their own robotics-related ideas.
Being a pioneer in the robotics industry, Willow Garage was able to create many other spin-off startups. The company also created an operating system which has since become a standard for the robotics industry. Among the spin-offs created by Willow Garage is Suitable Technologies.
Hassan has now decided to shut down Willow Garage and will focus his attention on Suitable Technologie, where he is the CEO. However, for many years still, Willow Garage will continue to be cited as a pioneer entity in the robotics industry. It was among the rare ventures which are privately funded by individuals and still go on to inspire an entire industry, leading the way with cutting-edge innovations.
Hassan was able to land a significant number of Google shares when he became among the early investors in the company. When the company eventually became public, that earned him a huge pile of cash. It was then that he decided to create Willow Garage and spend his own money on robotics research.
Ultimately, although the company is being shut down, it was able to create an entire ecosystem of robotics hardware and software. And that was precisely its aim since it wasn’t meant to create profitable products.
Source: Business Week