Dallas-based ROBO Global has created and managed ETFs on public markets in the U.S. and Europe that track robotics, AI, and healthcare tech companies worldwide. Now, with around $4 billion total under management in its ETFs, ROBO is leveraging its expertise by launching a new VC fund in the private marketplace.
The ROBO Global Venture Fund is focused on early-stage disruptive technology companies that are advancing the robotics, AI, and healthcare tech revolution.
“We’re intimately familiar with the innovation and disruption in robotics, AI, and healthcare technology through our everyday work researching and vetting companies in the public equity market,” said Travis Briggs, CEO of ROBO Global U.S., in a statement. “Entering the private market is a natural extension for us, and we’re eager to bring this opportunity to investors.”
Headquartered in the McKinney & Olive building in Dallas’ Uptown, the company says it makes “real industry research” a cornerstone of its ETF selection process, selecting index members based on their potential to “drive change in the future.” It has a similar goal in mind for its new fund’s startup targets.
Aiming to raise between $50M and $100M
ROBO Global aims to launch a series of funds as part of the new venture, Jeremie Capron, ROBO Global’s director of research, told Dallas Innovates.
“We had our first close in November,” Capron said, without disclosing the amount at this time. “Our plan is to launch a series of funds, and we would expect them to be between $50 and $100 million.”
Investing $500K to $2M in startups with a ‘tech advantage’
Capron says the fund will be investing in seed rounds and Series A and B raises, aiming to invest with flexibility but with a “sweet spot” in the $500,000 to $2 million range.
“We’re looking for companies that have a technological advantage that are using innovation to grow the business,” Capron told us. “We’ve made a number of investments already in the last several months, including overseas, but the main focus is really the U.S.”
Recent investments include SLAMcore, RecoverX, and Vaidio
The ROBO Global fund has made six investments to date, Capron said. His firm shared specifics about three of them, without revealing the amounts invested.
In one recent investment, ROBO Global co-led a Series A in SLAMcore, a spatial intelligence robotics provider. SLAMcore’s solutions give a robot the ability to map its world and understand where it is. “This capability has unlimited potential in its reach in the smart mobility era,” ROBO Global said in a statement.
Other funding participations have included RecoverX, the first evidence-based digital healthcare provider using AI to transform medical diagnosis, and Vaidio, a cloud-native and enterprise-grade AI vision analytics provider for the security, safety, and access control markets.
Eying startups in warehouse automation, transportation, and healthcare
ROBO Global is currently researching “promising startups” whose founders are building novel technologies in warehouse automation, transportation, and healthcare, with a goal of partnering with the startups’ founders.
“The technological changes happening today are creating massive opportunities for investment, and the untapped potential in the private space is vast,” said Lisa Chai, partner at ROBO Global Ventures, who’s spearheading the VC fund. “ROBO Global was the first to bring a robotics-focused strategy to market and our access to the academic and corporate leaders across the globe of disruptive technology is unparalleled.”
Leveraging ROBO’s research platform
The new VC fund “is really an extension of what we’ve been doing now for years, which is researching and investing in robotics, AI, and healthcare technologies,” Capron said.
“So we’re going after companies in the private markets that are essentially playing in those same areas. We’re leveraging our research platform that we’ve been running now for eight years around public equities, and we’re taking that into early-stage private companies.”
ROBO Global’s emerging tech ETFs
As an index, advisory, and research company, ROBO Global launched its first ETF in 2013—the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index (ROBO). Since then it’s also launched the ROBO Global Healthcare Technology and Innovation Index (HTEC) and the ROBO Global Artificial Intelligence Index (THNQ). Corresponding ETFs for all three were also created in Europe to track the same portfolios.
The U.S. robotics and automation ETF alone has $1.7 billion in assets under management, Capron said.
In 2017, Dallas Innovates reported the news when ROBO Global first surpassed $1 billion in assets under management.
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