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For AI and Robotics Startup Dorabot, Success is All About Creating Solutions that Tackle your Customers’ Biggest Challenges

For AI and Robotics Startup Dorabot, Success is All About Creating Solutions that Tackle your Customers’ Biggest Challenges

Spencer Deng, CEO and Co-Founder of Dorabot

“We started off small, but we aimed big, and that’s why we went international from the very beginning. I believe settling down in Hong Kong will definitely put us on the next level and help us bring in more high-tech talent and business opportunities from all over the world.”

Spencer Deng, CEO and Co-Founder of Dorabot

Founded in 2014 by Spencer Deng, Hao Zhang and Dandan Zhou, Dorabot is a leader amongst global AI-powered robotic solution providers, for logistics, express delivery, smart manufacturing, retail and more. Named after the fictional Japanese anime character Doraemon, the startup aims to make the impossible possible, creating robotic solutions that help companies around the world tackle their biggest logistical challenges.

Originally from Shenzhen, Dorabot has offices in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Brisbane and Atlanta. With its international presence and founders coming from different backgrounds, including investment and logistics, robotics, and software engineering, the startup has quickly established itself as one to watch in the AI and robotics industry following a string of significant breakthroughs in cutting-edge technologies.

Navigating through challenges and understanding your customers’ needs

Since its first collaboration with UPS, to the company’s current partnership with the global leader in the logistics industry, DHL, Dorabot has witnessed high-speed revenue growth, achieving 10x growth since the onset of COVID-19. However, it hasn’t always been plain sailing, and the startup has faced challenges along the way.

A key challenge Dorabot faced in the beginning was how to efficiently understand customer needs. In its early years, the startup focused mostly on technology development. After facing several obstacles in business development, the team realised it needed to understand more about their customers’ main challenges and pivoted to designing solutions that were inherently customer-centric.

COVID-19 brought with it a myriad of challenges for businesses everywhere. When the pandemic spread beyond Asia in 2020, Dorabot experienced a setback in its global supply chain just like many other companies with international business operations. With some overseas suppliers temporarily closing their factories, the startup found itself facing possible deployment delays. However, Dorabot turned this challenge into an opportunity to expand its vendor pool. As people began to return to work in Mainland China, it searched for Chinese brands to partner with that offered the same product quality as its other suppliers, and successfully continued to serve clients across the globe.

Hong Kong’s R&D ecosystem allows Dorabot to forge new business partnerships

For Dorabot, Hong Kong isn’t an unfamiliar locale. Many of Dorabot’s employees graduated from top universities in Hong Kong, including its CTO Hao Zhang, who is pursuing his PhD from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, currently ranked no. 27 in QS World University List 2021.

Hong Kong’s robust research capabilities, globally-minded universities, and exceptional pool of talent is what attracted Dorabot to set-up their office in the city. Over the years, the startup has been involved in a number of Hong Kong’s key startup events, such as those organised by Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks (HKSTP), where Dorabot is planning to set up its next office. These initiatives, along with the support from InvestHK, have helped the startup collaborate with others and explore new business opportunities.

What advice does Dorabot offer to young startups?

Be prepared and keep in mind that entering the startup world involves challenges. Be ready to make mistakes – mistakes and failures are a must if you want to succeed in the long term!

Dorabot engineer working on a de-palletising robot

Dorabot Team

Dec 2021