In the area of robotics, automation, and industrial AI, the path to success often comes from following your passion, leveraging innovation, and learning the right skills. In this interview, we explored the personal journey of Megi Mejdrechová, co-founder of RoboTwin, a startup pioneering human-centric automation solutions. From the early days of university exploration to the founding of the startup, Megi shares insights into the academic pursuits, professional experiences, and the most important skills that shaped her trajectory.   

Keep reading to discover this story and learn how to succeed in the dynamic fields of robotics, automation, and industrial AI.  

How did you enter the field of robotics, automation, and industrial AI? What academic qualifications and experiences paved the way for your career path? 

When I was choosing which university to attend, I wasn’t sure about which industry to pursue, but I knew I wanted to work on something tangible and with a positive impact. That’s when I thought that mechanical engineering would be the right path to explore, because there, you can truly apply what you’ve learned and see the result. 

I found that automation, in particular, resonated with me because it’s a constant improvement of a status quo. With automation, you take something that is already effective and find ways to make it even better. So, I became interested in the more high-tech aspects of mechanical engineering, and engineering in general, to efficiently improve things. I had the chance to combine high-quality traditional education with new approaches I learned abroad, which allowed me to blend various skills acquired across different parts of the world, and shape my journey to where I am today. 

What aspects of your role as a startup founder and CTO do you find most fulfilling? 

Building your own project and company from scratch is an extremely complex task. At the beginning, you have nothing but an idea, and then, step by step, you create the whole structure to bring it to life. It’s hard; however, it gives you the power to shape things the way you want and be aligned with your vision. Being the entrepreneur allows me to work on solutions that make 100% sense to me. Besides, I’m part of a great team that I helped to build, and I’m proud that they feel happy at work. We are adopting cutting-edge technology and I enjoy learning and trying out new things.  

What skills are essential for success in the robotics and automation sector, particularly when focusing on sustainable solutions? 

I think the essential skills for success in robotics and automation are twofold. On one side are the hard skills – understanding the technology, exploring different options, and recognizing its limitations. Technology is in a constant state of evolution, demanding continuous reskilling to stay current. Second – you must keep the users at the forefront. Automation serves to address issues such as workforce shortages, low quality, or inefficiencies in time and resources. When designing an automation solution, it’s crucial to identify and comprehend these issues. Listening to the market and the users is imperative, offering solutions tailored to their needs rather than relying on assumptions.  

Hand in hand with this approach is the necessity of gaining hands-on experience in the field – visiting factories, testing solutions on-site, gathering data, and collecting feedback. It may sometimes require getting your hands dirty, but it’s essential for delivering robust, scalable, and sustainable solutions.   

Could you share more about your experience co-founding RoboTwin? What inspired the creation of this startup, and how does its mission align with the goal of driving sustainable innovation in manufacturing? 

The RoboTwin project happened to be the topic of my master’s thesis. At that time, an industrial company approached the university and pitched a challenge – they were looking for automation solutions, but traditional methods didn’t meet their needs. Motivated by this challenge, I decided to do something about it. So, instead of following the classical approach to automation, which involves buying a robot and paying someone to create programs for it, resulting in a lengthy and inefficient process, I developed a prototype for a solution that puts humans at the centre of automation. It’s a 100% human-centric solution that allows workers to directly teach robots movements through simple demonstrations. 

After creating the prototype, I aimed to turn it into a real industrial solution to help companies automate more easily. However, it took a long time, maybe months, before I gathered enough courage and skills to pursue this goal. As a technical graduate, I needed to learn about entrepreneurship and business skills before feeling confident enough to start a company and leave my normal job. 

This is where the EIT (European Institute of Innovation & Technology) played an essential role. They offered various programs and mentoring schemes, including EIT Jumpstarter, which was like a crash course teaching us about business plans, business models, customer value, and more. My co-founders and I participated in these programs and workshops, which were crucial in helping us reach where we are today. It has been a lengthy process, and we’re still learning, but I believe we’re doing a good job. 

Megi Mejdrechová’s journey teaches us the importance of constantly upskilling and reskilling to stay up to date on market and technology trends. 

It also emphasises the value of complementing technical skills with entrepreneurial knowledge to create solutions that can solve real-world problems, putting humans in the very centre. 

If you’re interested in exploring courses to develop your skills in robotics, AI and entrepreneurship, don’t forget to check out the EIT Campus course catalogue.