Linda Pouliot is a serial entrepreneur specializing in robotics, based in Silicon Valley.
In 2004, she co-founded Neato Robotics (acquired) with the idea that robots can perform household chores as effectively as humans. Neato’s award-winning vacuums sell at big-box retailers throughout the world, making Neato the number-two consumer robotic vacuum company globally. At Neato, Linda Pouliot was Vice President of Product Management and Operations, where, in addition to product management and operations, she oversaw hiring and manufacturing.
Linda Pouliot also served as COO of Adiri (acquired), where she worked on the internationally award-winning Adiri Natural Nurser. She has also developed products for retail brands, including Disney, Banana Republic, and QVC, as Director of Operations at Gouda. She has been awarded multiple patents and international awards.
Currently, as the CEO of Dishcraft Robotics, Linda and a team of the award-winning technologists in Silicon Valley are working on solutions to revolutionize the commercial kitchen and helpline staff adapt to the shifting needs of an increasingly automated workplace.
Linda, could you let us know about your background and what brought you into 3D printing in the first place?
My background was in Operations. Originally I worked for a manufacturer in NY, and then in 2004, I co-founded a robotics company called Neato Robotics, which produced an autonomous vacuum. For Neato, we needed to rapidly prototype parts to test on the robot.
What was your very first experience with 3D Printing?
We purchased an FDM printer for Neato Robotics, which we used to prototype a variety of parts.
Could you explain furthermore what Dishcraft Robotics is and the products that you are offering?
We are developing robots for commercial kitchens to improve operations in the back of the house. We are currently in stealth mode, so stay tuned for updates!
How did you come to build the company?
It started by learning about a problem within the restaurant industry. A couple of years ago, I met someone who grew up in restaurant industry whose family owned 22 restaurants. He knew about my background in robotics, and he asked if robotic technology could improve their operations.
Have you run into any challenges from being a woman in robotics?
I thought that as a female CEO, I would have an easy time hiring female engineers. The reality is there are so few female roboticists that it is extremely challenging to obtain the diversity I strive for.
What is the most impressive or impactful use of 3D printing you’ve seen so far?
I am most excited by 3D printing in the medical industry.
What do you consider game-changing technologies in additive?
What makes the 3D printing industry particularly interesting for you:
- As an entrepreneur?
Previously I was dependent upon costly and time-consuming tooling; now my company can quickly prototype parts and iterate on the design quickly prior to tooling.
- As a woman?
My niece has been 3D printing items for herself including a belt buckle and some jewellery. I think the ability for her to create items she herself would use encourages young girls to pursue engineering careers in a tangible way.
What do you think of the 3D printing industry today? And how would you like to see it evolve?
I think we are still in the early stages. I would love to see advances in the speed and durability of the products printed.
In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with 3D Printing and/or Robotics?
We need to mentor and encourage young women starting when they are in school. I’ve noticed that my niece, who shows a real talent for mechanical engineering, does not want to be the only girl within her class, so it seems to me we need to make it fun for a group of young women to participate and engage in 3D printing and robotics. I would like to see more social products like jewelbots.
Thank you for reading and for sharing!