Dr. Simon Haddadin, CEO, Philipp Zimmermann, Managing Director, and Dirk Engelmann, Managing Director, Franka Emika GmbH

Dr. Simon Haddadin, Philipp Zimmermann and Dirk Engelmann are on a mission to make robots into companions and as readily available and easy to use as smartphones. As the trio behind Munich-based robotics company Franka Emika, they believe machines are revolutionizing factories and assembly plants but are often expensive and require technical know-how to operate. Franka Emika set out to disrupt the industry by building robots that are user-friendly and cost-efficient.

Simon, a scientist and robotics expert, developed an app-based automation system — the “Panda” robotic arm — inspired by human agility and the sense of touch. He teamed up with two fellow entrepreneurs, computer scientist Philipp and business manager Dirk, to launch Franka Emika in 2016.

The company’s robotic assistants can be used in factories or small businesses and are easily adaptable to different tasks. Just two years after launching, Franka Emika’s Panda robotic arm was the only German product to be featured on the cover of Time magazine as one of the year’s 50 best innovations.