In 2005, Esben Østergaard, Kasper Støy and Kristian Kassow founded Universal Robots, which Teradyne acquired for DKK just ten years later.
In 2003, the three founders meet at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense. Østergaard and Støy were PhD students at the time. Together they recognized the heavy, expensive and unwieldy robots that flooded the market. Thinking of a more user-friendly option that was lightweight, easy to install and program, their internationally renowned collaborative robot arm was inspired.
Their first product, the UR5, sold in 2009. The UR5 is a six-jointed articulated arm robot, weighing 18 kg, with a lifting capacity of up to 5 kg and a working radius of 85 cm. This revolutionized the market for industrial robots. In 2010, the UR10 launched which has a lifting ability of 10 kg and a reach of 130 cm. Universal’s latest development is the UR 3, which launched this year. The UR3 has a lifting capacity of 3 kgs and a reach radius of 500 mm. Currently, there are eight new adjustable safety rated functions, and Universal Robots’ robot arms are the only robots in the world that intelligently adapt advanced safety settings to each specific application.
Over the years, Universal has grown exponentially. Their collaborative robot arms sell worldwide; they have subsidiaries and regional offices in Spain, U.S., Singapore and China. Esben Østergaard, the only remaining founder at Universal Robots, looks back at how the company developed from an idea at university to an internationally recognized name. 10 years down the road he has become a Start Up icon himself. The two young founders of Odense-based Internet of Things- company Sensohive (sensohive.com), Casper Harlev and Tobias Ejersbo, named Esben Østergaard as their entrepreneurial idol. Full circle. Full Stop.