news    views    talk    learn    |    about    contribute     republish     crowdfunding     archives     calls/events

Business Deal

by   -   April 22, 2014

M01_x011_tmp_1y_x3_ROBOJOBS

RoboJobs is a new dedicated jobs board for the global robotics community that connects both seasoned robotics experts and recent top graduates with entrepreneurs and established businesses seeking the brightest minds to fill their ranks. We’ve just launched our beta site in collaboration with Silicon Valley Robotics in an effort to connect our readers with the top jobs in robotics. Roboticists can post their resumes and view ads for free. Prospective employers can publish job postings at competitive rates, and at the same time know that the dollars they are spending will help support Robohub’s non-profit efforts to bring you the latest in robotics news. 

by   -   October 23, 2013

Throughout my 35-year career in the computer business, I always read and thought about what disruptive technology was ahead. When I had an IBM mainframe, I was looking at the DEC mini-computers and even the stand-alone word-processors to see if they could do my work without the humongous monthly lease rates and $250,000 computer room (with its special flooring, power supply and air conditioners) that I was paying for at the time.

by   -   June 11, 2013

The definitive list of private funding in robotics–or at least the most widely cited is the Hizook VC Funding for Robotics list.  The list for 2012 is out.   Please help make it complete by adding a comment if you know of private funding for a robotics company that is not included.  I am certain that there are deals that are not included.

by   -   April 24, 2013

irobot-stock-jumps-on-q1-news2

iRobot’s stock (ISRG:NASDAQ) jumped 15% today on yesterday’s earnings report which exceeded analysts’ expectations for both the quarterly earnings and the annual projections.

by   -   February 21, 2013

Before I start bashing bankers, I’d like to congratulate the ExOne Company on a successful initial public offering (IPO).  I haven’t seen much about ExOne [NASDAQ:XONE] on the robotics sites, but if we’re calling Stratasys [NASDAQ:SSYS] a robotics company, we should call ExOne a robotics company.  It is wonderful to see another company in our industry succeeding and listing their stock in the public markets.  Hopefully, this will encourage more investment of both capital and entrepreneurial energy in our industry.

Last time I checked 26 is a lot more than 18.

Last time I checked 26 is a lot more than 18.

[Image Source:  Google Finance]

By the criteria of the market commentators, the ExOne IPO was a huge success.  You can Google things like “3D printing red hot.”  The IPO was priced at $18, at the top of the range $16-18, it opened around $26 before shooting up over $33.  Almost a week later it is trading roughly at its opening price.

Now this is all fine and dandy as far as it goes, unless you were an ExOne shareholder.  One shareholder sold 300,000 shares in the IPO.  This shareholder transferred a gain of $2.4M to some connections of the underwriters–great if you know the underwriters, not so great if you’ve built the company from nothing.  This shareholder is getting $5.4M, less fees and discounts–call it $5M–from the IPO, so $2.4 is not exactly a rounding error.  Presumably, this shareholder is also more inclined to build companies with the capital than whatever speculators are hovering around the IPO.  Similarly, the company lost out on $40M of capital that could be invested in projects.  Think about that!  The company is worth less than $350M and the IPO mis-pricing cost it $40M of cash.  Cash!  That is cash that could be invested to grow the company and make even more money.

I’m not familiar with the track records of FBRBB&T, and Stephens, the underwriters for the ExOne IPO, but I’d think twice or three times about hiring them if I was making an initial offering.  They seem to have not only underpriced the IPO, but also floated too much of the company–almost 40%.  Underpricing the IPO might be tolerable if the bankers had only floated 5-10% of the company.  To raise additional capital, the company could have done a secondary offering once the stock had a well established market price instead of getting ripped off during the IPO.  However, the large offering certainly did do one good thing for the bankers: it increased the underwriting fee.

It is hard to explain an IPO price that is so far below the fair market value of the company.  There are a lot reasons why bankers and even executives try to justify under pricing an IPO, but giving-up over 10% of the firm’s market value in a single transaction is really hard to justify no matter what.  Some small part of the economic gains from listing publicly could be given to financial intermediaries and incoming investors to get a deal done, but giving up more than 10% of the company is excessive.  These new shareholders have no restrictions on ownership and are quite likely to flip their shares instead of taking an active roll in growing the company, which seems to further erode any claim they might have to extraordinary gains.

If my company ever goes public, I hope I’ll have the good sense to hire Morgan Stanley–because unless an underwriter is involved in litigation for overpricing an IPO, how can you be sure they’re any good?  Heck, they even give discounts.  What’s not to like?

UPDATE:  This post is adapted from the original posted on robocosmist.com following the ExOne IPO.  At market close on March 4th, a bit less than a month after the IPO, ExOne shares were priced at $27.26–more than 51% over the IPO price and very close to the opening price.

by   -   February 20, 2013

Bolt Idea

Bolt, Ben Einstein’s hardware and robotics accelerator in Boston, today announced the close of their first funding round and the opening of the first round of applications for 2013 hardware startups. Bolt has a 4000 sq ft high end prototyping shop under their offices in the Downtown Crossing district and plans to open the doors in May.

by   -   February 12, 2013

Robohub - PR2 waving

So, depending on who you ask, Willow Garage is shutting down, pursuing commercial interests, or changing direction. But things are not as dire as some may think: ROS is fine (the OSRF will support it) and there are many options for Willow Garage to explore. Personally I’m hoping it will be snatched up by Stanford or another academic institution and become a research institute. But given the number of robots they have out (and their price tags!), a commercial path into the future seems even more likely. In any case, I doubt that Willow Garage will disappear just like that.

What caused the changes is that Willow’s founder and funder, Scott Hassan, has decided that it’s time to wean Willow Garage from his private financial support.

by   -   February 6, 2013

Box Layers

We all know that robots are the gateway to STEM education, so what’s not to love about getting 4 robots in a box, complete with lessons preloaded on a tablet. As both the US and UK undergo core curricula changes to better reflect the changing workforce and education needs, the market potential for robotics in education grows. As well as workng in the consumer and cloud robotics space, Elad Inbar is the CEO of RobotsLab, a new educational robotics company, who launched their “BOX” of robots today at the TCEA education convention in Austin TX.

by   -   February 5, 2013

SamsungLaunch
Samsung today offered hope to robot startups with the launch of its new Catalyst Fund, a $100 million commitment to the development of components, subsystems and disruptive technology. This is almost overshadowed by the simultaneous launch of their $1 billion Venture Americas Fund and the new Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center (SSIC), the Innovation Fellows program and the Samsung Create Challenge for entrepreneurs.

by   -   January 29, 2013

111209_turtlecore
One of the exciting announcements at Automate 2013 is also one of the smallest. Gumstix, providers of Linux computers-on-modules (COMs) are offering ROS on a stick. For $45, Gumstix provide a bootable microSD card with ROS preloaded, joining their Overo range of expansion boards for iCreate and similar platforms. ROS in COM format responds to the rapid growth in Ubuntu systems powering robotic devices, as evidenced by the growing number of public ROS repositories, with more than 175 to date. New offerings from Gumstix will really speed up the development of small robotic devices. See also Frank Tobe’s wrap up of all the robots at Automate 2013.