Who We Are

ROBO Global is an index, advisory, and research company focused 100% on helping investors capture the unique opportunities of fast-growing robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence (RAAI) companies around the world.

Our global team, including managing partners and advisors in San Francisco, Dallas, New York, London, Zurich, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, launched our ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation Index Series in 2013. Since then, the index has grown to become the premier benchmark for the vast value chain of this dynamic industry, supporting investment products in the US, Canada, UK, Europe, Korea, Taiwan, and Australia.

As experienced investors, we know just how difficult it is to pick the winners over the long term. To tackle that task, our team spends the bulk of our time deep in research, identifying new trends, understanding new innovations, and exploring every company on the radar—and even some flying below the radar—regardless of size, market cap, or technology. The result: ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation Index Series now includes over 80 rapidly developing companies across 12 subsectors focused on the entire robotics and automation value chain. In 2017, the index was up 46%.

 

Steve Wozniak once said, “Wherever smart people work, doors are unlocked.”

Our strategic advisors are the perfect example of that thought in action. Every day, these highly respected industry visionaries work closely with our experienced management team to identify industry trends and leading companies that are consistent with our industry classification and index strategy. Their constant research and influential insights have been a driving force of our outstanding performance to date.

We’re thrilled that we’ve been able to pull together an incredibly gifted team that includes men and women of such calibre. Every time we hear our team talk about what’s next, we love that we’re not just looking at numbers when we build the ROBO Global Industry Classification and our ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index Series.

With the work of a growing team of smart people, we’re combing the entire robotics and automation landscape to identify the companies that are poised to drive the greatest change tomorrow… and far into the future.

our team

 

Richard Lightbound

CEO - EMEA & Asia
FULL BIO
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William Studebaker

President & CIO
FULL BIO
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Brad Baker

CTO & Director of Operations
FULL BIO
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Erin Shepherd

Head of Global Marketing
FULL BIO
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Jeremie Capron

Head of Research
FULL BIO
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Chris Buck

Head of Capital Markets & Sales
FULL BIO
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Clay Shepherd

Director of Finance & Planning
FULL BIO
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Lisa Chai

Senior Research Analyst
FULL BIO
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Erica Allaby

Communications & Marketing
FULL BIO
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Travis Briggs

CEO - US

Travis is CEO and Partner of ROBO Global. A veteran of the finance and wealth management industry, Travis is responsible for managing daily operations and executing the firm’s business strategy.

Prior to joining ROBO Global in March 2014, Travis served as managing director at Smith Group Asset Management in Dallas, where he created and led the firm’s Private Client Group. Before joining Smith Group, Travis served as Chief Operating Officer and Director of Business Development at Dallas-based hedge-fund Discovery Management. Earlier in his career, Travis was the Director of Investor Relations at Triton Energy and worked as an analyst at Bank of America.

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Richard Lightbound

CEO - EMEA & Asia

Richard Lightbound joined ROBO Global in 2014. In addition to managing daily operations in Europe and Asia, he is responsible for executing the firm’s global business strategy.

Richard has worked for 15+ years within the financial services sector with Wells Fargo and Standard Chartered Bank in senior management positions with responsibility for Institutional and Corporate clients across Europe, MENA and Asia. He enjoyed a 7-year break from banking to join an early cloud computing company funded by Warburg Pincus (now part of Infor) where he launched and managed operations across Asia and Europe.

A frequent speaker at Robotics & Automation conferences and events, he has lived and worked in Hong Kong, USA, Europe, and Sri Lanka.

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William Studebaker

President & CIO

Bill Studebaker joined the ROBO Global team in 2015 after more than 20 years in capital management. For more than a decade, he served as a portfolio manager at Apex Capital where he covered industrials and the economies of supply chain management. Earlier in his career, he held a number of positions at Merrill Lynch, including as a trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and as a director in institutional equity sales, and he was an analyst in the structured finance group of Cargill.

Bill received his BA in Political Science and International Relations (double major) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Brad Baker

CTO & Director of Operations

Brad joined Robo Global in March of 2018 as Chief Technology Officer and Director of Operations. Prior to joining Robo, he spent the previous 16 years at Smith Group Asset Management, a Dallas-based investment advisor, where he was the head of the firm’s technology, software development, and trading operations and a member of the quantitative research team.

Brad earned a BBA in Finance from the University of Texas at Arlington, graduating Summa Cum Laude.  He was awarded the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 2004 and is a member of the CFA Institute and CFA Society of Dallas-Ft. Worth.

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Erin Shepherd

Head of Global Marketing

Erin was recruited to the ROBO Global team after adding impressive value as a consultant with iris Concise in Atlanta. In her role as Director at Concise, she partnered with clients to drive the commercial performance of leading brands such as IHG, Shell, and Zaxby’s, as well as ROBO Global. Prior to joining Concise, she worked in NYC developing integrated marketing campaigns designed to drive awareness, brand love, and customer retention in the retail space.

Erin holds an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and a BS in Business and International Studies from Wake Forest University.

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Jeremie Capron

Head of Research

Jeremie joined ROBO Global in 2017 with more than ten years of experience as an equity research analyst in Asia, Europe, and the United States, with a focus on industrial technology.

Most recently, Jeremie led CLSA’s industrial research out of New York. For the prior seven years he served as a Senior Research Analyst with CLSA in Singapore and Japan, receiving a No.1 stock picker award from Nikkei/Starmine and ranking No.1 for Japan Materials Research in Asiamoney Brokers’ Poll for three consecutive years. Earlier in his career, he was a project manager with Veolia Environment in Europe and Asia.

Jeremie is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), holds a Master’s Degree in Science and Executive Engineering from the École des Mines de Paris, and holds FINRA series 7, 63, 87 licenses. He is fluent in French and Japanese.

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Chris Buck

Head of Capital Markets & Sales

Chris Buck brings more than 25 years of experience in capital markets and sales to his role of head of capital markets and sales for ROBO Global.

In his role as Head of Client Execution Services, Americas iShares Capital Markets at BlackRock, he was responsible for leading institutional and private wealth sales engagement across US, Canada, and Latin America. He also served as Director of Global Sales for Capital Institutional Services (CAPIS) in Dallas and spent seven years at UBS Investment Bank in NY, where he was Head of Alternative Research Provider Marketing Sales and Global Head of Soft Dollar and Directed Commissions Sales.

Chris received his BA in Economics and Management from DePauw University. He holds FINRA Series 7, 66, 63, 9, 10, 24 licenses and is a Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®).

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Clay Shepherd

Director of Finance & Planning

At ROBO Global’s founding in 2013, Clay acted as the Operations Manager and currently serves as the Director of Finance & Planning. Prior to joining ROBO Global, Clay co-founded Presidential Advantage Tutoring, which he sold in early 2013. He also worked as an associate intern for Silicon Valley Bank and a financial analyst at Bamford Partners.

Clay graduated with honors in business from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University.

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Lisa Chai

Senior Research Analyst

Lisa Chai brings more than 17 years of experience investing in disruptive technology companies to her role as ROBO Global’s Senior Research Analyst.

Prior to joining ROBO Global, Lisa was a corporate strategy consultant at Bluemont Partners where she worked with emerging growth technology companies. She also spent 10 years at Palisade Capital Management and AG Asset Management (a subsidiary of Angelo, Gordon & Co.) where she was a sector head of technology investing in the semiconductor, software, and Internet industries. Earlier in her career, she served as a Research Analyst/Portfolio Manager at Tavistock Group and Ridgecrest Partners, a hedge fund focused on the technology and telecom sectors.

Lisa is currently a member of the Empire Angels, a professional angel group investing in early stage technology ventures with a strong focus in Internet, fintech, and enterprise software. She is also a Strategic Advisor to MState.io, a Blockchain growth lab backed by Comcast Ventures, IBM and Boldstart Ventures, focused on scaling the most promising blockchain companies globally for the Enterprise sector. She graduated from Boston University Questrom School of Business.

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Erica Allaby

Communications & Marketing

Erica first joined the ROBO Global team as a content marketing specialist in 2014 and currently serves as the firm’s communications and marketing manager. She manages the creative content, social media, and marketing strategies that lie at the convergence of investing and robotics.

Erica graduated from High Point University as a Presidential Scholar with a BA in Journalism. Prior to ROBO, she had bylines in both print and digital media and dedicated three years to editorial, research, and social media internships.

Our Strategic Advisors

 

Henrik Christensen, PhD

Dr. Henrik I. Christensen is the Qualcomm Chancellor’s Chair of Robo...

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Raffaello D’Andrea, PhD

Raffaello D’Andrea is Professor of Dynamic Systems and Control at ET...

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Ken Goldberg, PhD

Ken Goldberg is a Professor and Chair of the Industrial Engineering an...

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Manish Kothari, PhD

Manish Kothari, Ph.D., is president of SRI Ventures and vice president...

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Wyatt Newman, PhD

Wyatt Newman’s is a leading researcher in the areas of mechatronics,...

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Illah R. Nourbakhsh, PhD

Illah R. Nourbakhsh is Professor of Robotics, Director of the Communit...

 

Daniela Rus, PhD

Daniela Rus is the Director of CSAIL at MIT. She serves as the Directo...

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Louis-Vincent Gave

After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Duke University and study...

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Frank Tobe

After selling his business and retiring from a decades-long career as ...

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Morten Paulsen

Morten Paulsen is the Head of Research and a Managing Director at CLSA...

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Henrik Christensen, PhD

Dr. Henrik I. Christensen is the Qualcomm Chancellor’s Chair of Robot Systems and a Professor of Computer Science at Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering UC San Diego and director of the Institute for Contextual Robotics. He was also the founding director of the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent machines (IRIM) at Georgia Institute of Technology (2006-2016). He performs research on systems integration, human-robot interaction, mapping and robot vision at the Cognitive Robotics Laboratory and has published more than 350 contributions across AI, robotics and vision.

Actively engaged in the setup and coordination of global robotics research, Henrik collaborates with institutions and industries across three continents with an emphasis on solving “real problems with real solutions.” In 2011, he received the Engelberger Award, the highest honor awarded by the robotics industry, and was named the “Boeing Supplier of the Year.” He is a fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

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Raffaello D’Andrea, PhD

Raffaello D’Andrea is Professor of Dynamic Systems and Control at ETH Zurich, where his research redefines what autonomous systems are capable of. He is co-founder of Kiva Systems, now operating as Amazon Robotics, the robotics company that revolutionized material handling by deploying thousands of autonomous mobile robots in warehouses. He was also the faculty advisor and system architect of the Cornell Robot Soccer Team, four-time world champions at the international RoboCup competition.

Raffaello founded Verity Studios, a company developing a new breed of interactive and autonomous flying machines, in 2014. He is also a new media artist with exhibitions at various international venues, including the Venice Biennale, Ars Electronica, and the FRAC Centre. His most recent awards include the IEEE Robotics and Automation Award and the Engelberger Robotics Award, two of the highest achievements in the field.

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Ken Goldberg, PhD

Ken Goldberg is a Professor and Chair of the Industrial Engineering and Operations Research Department at UC Berkeley, and he has secondary appointments in EECS, Art Practice at the School of Information, and in Radiation Oncology at the UCSF Medical School. He is also the Director of the CITRIS “People and Robots” Initiative and the UC Berkeley AUTOLAB where he and his students pursue research in geometric algorithms and machine learning for robotics and automation in surgery, manufacturing, and other applications.

Ken has more than 250 peer-reviewed publications and 8 US Patents. He co-founded and served as Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering. Ken was awarded the NSF PECASE (Presidential Faculty Fellowship) from President Bill Clinton in 1995, elected IEEE Fellow in 2005, and selected by the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society for the George Saridis Leadership Award in 2016.

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Manish Kothari, PhD

Manish Kothari, Ph.D., is president of SRI Ventures and vice president of SRI International where he leads the creation of high-value venture opportunities. He joined SRI in 2013 as a business development consultant and entrepreneur-in-residence and became a program director in the Robotics Program in 2013. In 2014, he moved to SRI Ventures as director of commercial ventures and licensing, with an emphasis on healthcare, engineering, and physical sciences. He co-founded and was CEO of Mytrus, and was vice president of R&D quality and operations for Simpirica Spine. He holds multiple patents and is the author or co-author of several peer-reviewed publications and book chapters.

Manish received his MS degree and PhD in biomechanical engineering from Cornell University, and was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. His bachelor of technology degree in aerospace engineering (summa cum laude) is from the Indian Institute of Technology.

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Wyatt Newman, PhD

Wyatt Newman’s is a leading researcher in the areas of mechatronics, robotics and computational intelligence, in which he has 12 patents and over 130 technical publications. After earning degrees from Harvard College, MIT and Columbia University, he was named an NSF Young Investigator in robotics, and subsequently was named a Herbold Fellow, a Tau Beta Pi “distinguished engineer,” a Woody-Flowers FIRST-robotics mentor awardee, and a CWRU awardee for teaching and for leadership. In 2007, he led “Team Case” in the DARPA Urban Challenge, involving autonomous vehicles operating among live and robotic traffic.

In addition to visiting appointments at Sandia Labs, NASA, and Princeton, Wyatt has held international appointments at Philips (Eindhoven, The Netherlands), as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at U. Edinburgh, and The Hung Hing Ying Distinguished Visiting Professor at U. of Hong Kong. Prof.  He is currently leading HKU’s team in the DARPA Robotics Challenge, involving humanoid robots for disaster response.

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Illah R. Nourbakhsh, PhD

Illah R. Nourbakhsh is Professor of Robotics, Director of the Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment (CREATE) lab and Associate Director for robotics faculty at Carnegie Mellon University. He has served as Robotics Group lead at NASA/Ames Research Center, and he was a founder and chief scientist of Blue Pumpkin Software, Inc. His current research projects explore community-based robotics, including educational and social robotics and ways to use robotic technology to empower individuals and communities.

The CEO and Chairman of Airviz, Inc., Illah is a World Economic Forum Global Steward, a member of the Global Future Council on the Future of AI and Robotics, and a member of the IEEE Global Initiative for the Ethical Considerations in the Design of Autonomous Systems. He also serves on the Global Innovation Council of the Varkey Foundation and is a Senior Advisor to The Future Society, Harvard Kennedy School.  Illah earned his BS, MA, and PhD degrees in computer science from Stanford University and is a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Daniela Rus, PhD

Daniela Rus is the Director of CSAIL at MIT. She serves as the Director of the Toyota-CSAIL Joint Research Center and is a member of the science advisory board of the Toyota Research Institute.

Rus’s research interests are in robotics and artificial intelligence. The recipient of the 2017 Engelberger Robotics Award from the Robotics Industries Association, she is also a Class of 2002 MacArthur Fellow, a fellow of ACM, AAAI and IEEE, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Daniela earned her PhD in Computer Science from Cornell University.

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Louis-Vincent Gave

After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Duke University and studying Mandarin at Nanjing University, Louis joined the French Army where he served as a second lieutenant in a mountain infantry battalion. After leaving the army, he worked as a financial analyst with Paribas in Paris and Hong Kong. He then launched GaveKal Research with Charles Gave and Anatole Kaletsky in London in 1999.

Since 2002,  Louis-Vincent has been based in Hong Kong where he oversees GaveKal’s money management business and contributes to the firm’s research. He is the author of five books, including his latest, Too Different for Comfort, that explores the impact of robotics on the world around us.

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Frank Tobe

After selling his business and retiring from a decades-long career as a provider of targeted campaign materials and consultant to the Democratic National Committee and other major political campaigns and initiatives across the US and abroad, he has energetically pursued a new career in researching, writing about investing in robotics.

In 2008, Frank started The Robot Report, a regularly updated web-based resource for news and links about the business of robotics. The site focuses on startups, acquisitions, IPOs, fundings, and failures; about successes, technological achievements, and forecasts; overall, the site tracks the business of robotics. Frank is also a panel member for the Robotics by Invitation series sponsored by Robohub, a Swiss-based online platform that brings together leading communicators in robotics research, start-ups, business, and education from around the world.

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Morten Paulsen

Morten Paulsen is the Head of Research and a Managing Director at CLSA Japan. He has covered the Japanese robotics and machinery industry as a Tokyo-based equity analyst since 1999. Morten was among the first financial analysts to highlight the Asian Automation trend as an underlying driver for the sector over a decade ago, and he has built strong relationships with automation equipment suppliers and system integrators across Asia.

Morten joined CLSA Japan from WestLB Securities Pacific in 2003, and he has received numerous rewards for his research. He was ranked number-one in his field by AsiaMoney every year from 2007 to 2013 (the segment was discontinued in 2014), and he was ranked by Starmine as one of Japan’s top 10 stock pickers in 2013.

A History of Innovation

From the beginning, ROBO Global has been all about innovation.

 

Like any great idea, the concept of an index focused exclusively on robotics, automation, and AI (RAAI) probably seemed a bit crazy at the time. But as we began to look more closely at the companies that were focused on these technologies and applications, we soon realized the sheer scope of the opportunity. Just because no one had looked at investing through this particular lens before didn’t mean it wasn’t a lens that provided the greatest clarity.

 

We knew from our research that simply selecting companies by the size of their market-cap was not a strategy that would meet our goals. There were simply too many smaller players with too much potential to ignore. With that concept as our springboard, we created an investment strategy that was consistent and diversified, and that provided unique exposure for investors. And we made real industry research a cornerstone of our process, leveraging the insights of established industry visionaries—not Wall Street stock pickers—to select index members based on their potential to drive change in the future rather than what they had already achieved in the past.

 

In 2013, the ROBO Global® Robotics & Automation Index was born. In 2017, the index returned 46% to investors. Today, ROBO Global is dedicated to continuing to innovate by remaining focused on the world’s greatest innovators in robotics, automation, and AI. Won’t you join us?

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