Q. Can you give us a little introduction (where you are from, what you studied, career, etc.) about yourself?
I started off studying Mechanical Engineering. After I graduated, I worked as validations engineer for 1.5 years and through this work I did a course in PLC programming, which opened my world to programming. I’m a traveler at heart, so after this work I went solo travelling for 2 years, always with the intention of coming back and continuing my studies in robotics. In 2012 I graduated from a European master’s in advanced Robotics – EMARO. Since then, I have been working in the mobile robotics industry. In 2016 I moved to Odense to work for a company, again focused on mobile robots, and 2018 is when I started my own company Coalescent Mobile Robotics ApS.
Q. What are your roles at work?
At work I pretty much do everything. Since I started, I’ve had 3 months learning cycles, from developing software, integrating hardware components to learning all about business development, how to get funding to keep the company going and getting a team together that works as a team and on the same goal. It a roller coaster journey – constantly solving new problems.
Q. What motivates you / when do you feel most rewarded?
My motivation changes all the time, because the requirement behind building a company continually changes depending on what stage you are at. I love meeting new people and finding solutions to new problems. But one of the biggest motivators is having gotten this far in developing this technology and working with great partners and people, to keep this journey going. The retail world is also much more exciting than I could have ever imagined.
Q. What is your perspective on robots and why retail robots?
I’ve been working with mobile robots for over 9 years, so starting a company was always going to be based on mobile robots. Focusing on retail came about because a friend of mine used to spend long unsocial hours restocking shelves in supermarkets. She had to push and pull heavy trolleys long distances, all night and she’s not a very big woman. Automating the transportation of goods within retail would not only help people in her situation, but also save on costs for retailers. This market for robots was also new, and so it was exciting to have the possibility of being first movers in it.
Q. What is the vision / mission of your company?
The main vision / mission for the company is to build a company where people enjoy coming to work, to develop state of the art technology which will bring a lot of value to a lot of people. We want to work closely with our customers, so that we can build something that is useful for them, and that they look forward to integrating into their processes and systems.
Q. How did you make the decision to found a company?
I like bringing people together to work on a common goal. Robotics is also very exciting, so why not combine the two of them?
Q. Do you look forward to coming to work each morning?
I love my team. I love the people I interact with every day. I love the unknown, and the willingness of other people to share their knowledge. The technology we are developing is also groundbreaking and super exciting.
Q. Tell us the work environment / CMR in three words!
Collaboration. Inspiring. Fast-moving.
Q. Where do you see your company in five years?
Our robots will be in many different stores, and we will have changed the retail world and people’s perspective on the benefits of robots. Consumers will have more time to enjoy shopping and retail workers more time to help consumers. This will be because our cobots will provide a lot of help in reducing stress and increasing working standards. Everyone will be happier.
Q. Do you think you have a good work-life balance?
I don’t think I am the right person to answer that, my hobby is working, so I work all the time. I enjoy what I do, and so wouldn’t change it. While working is my hobby, I fully embrace work-life balance, and my colleagues at work are free to decide how best to make this balance, themselves.
Q. What is most important to your organization: mission, vision, or values?
Values. People should be respectful of each other’s differences in many ways. People learn differently, communicate differently, have gone through many different things in their life, and so we all need to be mindful of these things. Be honest and direct, so you eliminate miscommunication as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to be wrong, but also to explain yourself based on your perspective. Try and find a middle ground, and if that can’t be done, don’t take things personally. Spend the time to understand how people think, rather than forcing your way on others.
Q. What is the n.1 aspect that you look for as a trait in all your employees when bringing them onto the team?
I think the ability to listen is very important. Your opinion matters, but make sure you give the space to others to also give their point of view.
Q. What is your mindset that you carry while developing your company?
Keep moving and find solutions fast. The world moves quickly and so it requires us to move quickly too.
Q. A word to future employees / customers.
People work for quite a big chunk of their life, so you should aim at doing something that you enjoy, and this is the environment we hope to foster. I think the same goes for integrating new technology into your company, it needs to be enjoyable and useful, and this is one through honest and transparent partnerships.