04:16 - Selling Kiva to Amazon
07:43 - Working with hardware and software
16:23 - Their business models
25:46 - Ways to lower carbon footprint
31:13 - Reasons Switzerland is a good place to start a company
Raffaello D'Andrea is the co-founder and CEO of Verity, a robotics company specializing in self-flying drones that conduct warehouse inspections. He was born in Italy but moved to Canada during his childhood and, later in life, completed all his studies in North America. Starting with a BSc in engineering from the University of Toronto and, after that, a Masters' and a PhD in electrical engineering, both from Caltech. After his PhD, he started teaching at Cornell, which paved the way for his leap into entrepreneurship with his first startup, Kiva.
During a sabbatical from MIT, where he also taught, he met a fellow entrepreneur with an idea for a robotics-focused venture. It ignited their fire to start designing the software for how these drones would work, and Kiva was born and would inform the idea for Verity as well. While they have a faction of the business focused on live events, their main focus is warehouse inspection.
Kiva was bought and rebranded by Amazon, changing its name to Amazon Robotics, and Rafaello was thrilled with the outcome, but he was also ready to move onto the next project and build something new, and discovering how much potential there was in the warehouse inspection space was a game changer. As a leader in autonomous systems, Verity transitioned from hardware-heavy operations to software-based subscriptions, maintaining its hardware capabilities but streamlining its implementation. As the company focuses on expansion and perhaps eventually gaining an IPO or an exit, Raffaello is just enjoying the process of building and being a part of Verity.
"Failure not being an option is a value that is relevant no matter what part of the business it is applying to, whether an inspection or live event.”
“After selling Kiva to Amazon, I could have gone back to teaching, but making an impact is my biggest focus and made me want to continue on an entrepreneurial path."