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When investing in robotics and AI, the devil is in the details

Common business sense says that rising competition is one surefire way to know you’re on to something good. Clearly, ROBO Global’s approach to investing in robotics and AI has been validated—in spades! In the past 24 months, more than 10 new ETFs have come onto the market in an attempt to generate returns by investing in robotics and automation. With the heightened competition, however, come questions. How should investors sift through the noise? What should investors be looking into when choosing a robotics ETF?

The answer lies in experience. Beyond traditional financial metrics like market cap and so forth, investors need to ensure they are partnering with tried and true experts in the space—not just professionals with degrees and credentials in finance, but rather a team of professionals that combines financial expertise with a decades of knowledge, research, and focus on robotics and AI.

Robotics and AI is so disruptive that its expected trajectory is every investor’s dream. Machine learning. Logistics automation. Robot-assisted surgery. 3D printing. These and other key innovations are already creating massive transformations in productivity and capability in nearly every industry and every region worldwide. Like the Internet has changed the world as we knew it—giving us instant, global communication, eCommerce, social media, and more—robotics and AI are poised to drive even greater change, and in ways we can only imagine. Hold on to your hats: the robotics and AI revolution is here!

That said, wise investors know that investing in robotics and AI requires serious due diligence and research, and building expertise in these fields takes time. Because of the sheer momentum of the industry, everything about robotics and AI is changing at lightning speed. New ideas are morphing into real technologies and applications at an incredible pace, and business models are being rewritten overnight. That means that today’s top stock picks are far from tomorrow’s sure bets, and names that aren’t even on the radar of industry outsiders may be delivering the greatest returns just 6 months from now.

As the CIO of ROBO Global, that’s precisely why I’m thrilled that I get to work with an amazing team of true industry insiders every day. Our amazing (and growing) team of strategic advisors includes 7 PhDs, and every one of these individuals is a bona fide expert in the field.

Wyatt Newman literally wrote the book on robot programming with ROS. Raffaello D’Adrea and Henrik Christensen are two of the biggest brains behind today’s machine learning and factory automation. Daniela Rus heads MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and has been helping drive robotics innovation for more than 30 years. Ken Goldberg is a professor and chair at UC Berkeley and a prolific researcher in geometric algorithms and machine learning for robotics and automation in surgery and manufacturing. Manish Kothari applies his knowledge of deep-learning architectures to his work at SRI International, holds multiple patents, and publishes regular research. Illah R. Nourbakhsh is professor of robotics and the director of the Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment (CREATE) lab at Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a founder and chief scientist of Blue Pumpkin Software, and CEO and Chairman of Airviz.

And that quick list doesn’t do any of them justice. This is a group who offers invaluable insights into the industry itself, including the newest, most promising technologies and the companies that are likely to continue to drive change far into the future.

With the help of our experienced advisory team, we’ve spent the last 5 years digging into the weeds to identify index members based not on market cap, but on a rich set of predetermined rules and objective criteria. The result is an index populated by real companies with very real revenues that are driving real innovation using the power of robotics and AI.

Am I passionate about robotics and AI? Clearly. Am I enamored? Absolutely. But I count on our team of experts to be sure I’m looking in the right direction at all times. Instead of focusing on the current highfliers and market cap leaders, our team is doing the heavy lifting and due diligence to uncover tomorrow’s leaders and help investors tap into that success early on to capture the greatest possible returns. With our advisors’ guidance, the ROBO Global Index has delivered year after year. Q2 of 2018 marked the sixth consecutive quarter of more than 18% EPS growth (following a stunning 29% in Q1). An incredible 79% of index members beat EPS estimates, and 65% of index members beat sales estimates for the quarter.

At ROBO Global, our performance record is based on real returns delivered by real companies that are earning real revenue. We believe our approach is not only the best way to identify the best possible index members, but the most effective way to capture the tremendous growth of today’s most exciting investment opportunity: robotics and AI.

Bill Studebaker, President & CIO, ROBO Global

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