The UK has provided a loving home for robots ever since Captain Richards & A.H. Reffell built one of the world’s first in 1928.

The metal automaton named Eric enjoyed a brief stint of global fame before being consigned to the scrapheap of technological obsolescence. He’s now reborn after a Kickstarter campaign raised the money to bring him back to life. 

Eric will soon begin a starring role in a robots exhibition that opens at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester on 19 October 2017. The country’s startups are ensuring he won’t be lonely in future.

The robotics market is set to reach $226 billion worldwide by 2021, according to market intelligence company Tractica, more than six times its current value. 

Research by CB Insights suggests British startups currently account for six percent of the global market, but a growing ecosystem of ambitious visionaries supported by the recently-announced £17.3 million of funding from the government means many are well-positioned to become world-leaders in the sector.

Further support comes the British Robotics Seed Fund, the only investment fund specialising in UK-based robotics startups, and Britbots CROWD, the world’s first dedicated equity crowdfunding platform for high-potential companies in the field.

Here’s our pick of the best robotics startups competing for their cash.

Read next: AR and VR startups you should know about