Roboligent

Early Stage

Next-Gen Intelligent Robots

Analytics

Raised to Date: Raised: $323,932

Aggregate Commitments $

Platform

StartEngine

Start Date

06/01/2021

Close Date

11/29/2021

Min. Goal

$10,000

Max. Goal

$3,499,994

Min. Investment

$320

Security Type

Equity - Common

Funding Type

RegCF

Series

Pre-Seed

Pre-Money Valuation

$28,882,477

Rolling Commitments $

Status

Active

Reporting Date

09/26/2021

Days Remaining

64

% of Min. Goal

3,239%

% of Max. Goal

9%

Likelihood of Max
unlikely
Avg. Daily Raise

$2,769

Momentum
cold
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Location

Austin, Texas

Industry

Business Services, Software, & Applications

Tech Sector

AutomationTech

Distribution Model

B2B

Margin

Medium

Capital Intensity

High

Business Type

Growth

Roboligent, with a pre-money valuation of $28.8 million, is raising funds on StartEngine. The company makes next-gen intelligent robots that automate mundane and manual tasks in areas such as clinics and logistics. The robots are based on patent-pending force-control technology and are integrated with AI. Bongsu Kim founded Roboligent in May 2016. The current crowdfunding raise has a minimum target of $10,000 and a maximum target of $3,499,993, and the funds will be used towards the advancement of a new robotic automation era. Roboligent is vetted by National Science Foundation and has already established commercial collaborations for robot supply, with the first unit shipped.

Summary Profit and Loss Statement

Most Recent Year Prior Year

Revenue

$13,852

$0

COGS

$9,610

$0

Tax

$0

$0

 

 

Net Income

$-103,596

$-17,566

Summary Balance Sheet

Most Recent Year Prior Year

Cash

$76,168

$126,574

Accounts Receivable

$0

$0

Total Assets

$226,862

$193,019

Short-Term Debt

$78,497

$17,869

Long-Term Debt

$22,002

$10,209

Total Liabilities

$100,499

$28,078

Financials as of: 06/01/2021
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Ratings

Analyst Report

Synopsis

As artificial intelligence (AI) is integrated into many forms of technology, the time is ripe for further advances in automation. In the long-term, robots tend to be cheaper than salaried workers for most tasks. However, humans still do quite a lot of things better than robots currently. These tasks range from recognition of simple objects to fine manipulation to moderating force, such as in response to accidentally hurting a human being. Robots programmed to perform a task will rigidly perform that task to their full physical capacity, regardless of whether a human is in the way. Granted, many of these injuries can be blamed on human error and poor workplace design — but why not take those factors out of the picture entirely?

Roboligent (formerly known as LinkDyn Robotics) is combining recent innovations in AI-based object recognition with a proprietary force-control technology. Force control enables the machine to moderate its movement, so it can be gentle when appropriate and strong when necessary. This robot can learn to be intelligent and human-like with its actions, giving it more applications in fields like physical therapy. The robotic arm sits on a mobile base and is designed to be totally safe to work alongside humans, even outside industrial environments. The machine can also function in warehouses, automating logistics processes. The company is looking to expand into Asian markets as it waits for its FDA application to be approved.

Roboligent’s current StartEngine raise has been rated a Neutral Deal by the KingsCrowd investment team.

Price

Roboligent is raising capital through common equity at a pre-money valuation of $28.8 million. While high valuations aren’t unusual for experimental technology companies, this valuation is extremely high for a startup with a product that has yet to demonstrate market fit. Roboligent has seen very limited revenue thus far, so the revenue multiple on this round is very high. Therefore, Roboligent’s price score is its lowest across all of five metrics.

Market

Roboligent’s lineup of RaaS (Robots-as-a-Service) products fits nicely into the global autonomous mobile robot market — especially as it attempts to expand to Asia in the immediate future. The market isn’t large, as it was valued at $1.9 billion in 2019. However, innovation is driving growth at an impressive CAGR of 19.6% through 2027. Autonomous mobile robots are being adopted across a number of industries. Major competitors can largely be found in Asia, especially Japan, which hosts three of the world’s five largest robotics companies. Appropriately, Asian markets are the primary drivers of the market’s growth. 

While the current market is still limited, rapid growth indicates that this is an excellent time for an emerging company to claim a strong niche for itself. Thus, the market score for Roboligent is above average.

Team

Founder and CEO Bongsu Kim appears well-equipped to lead Roboligent. Kim holds a PhD in robotics with a focus in rehabilitative robotics from the University of Texas at Austin. There, he developed an advanced exoskeleton robot called HARMONY, designed to provide therapy to patients suffering from spinal and neurological injuries. Prior to his studies in the US, Kim studied at Korean engineering schools KAIST and Hanyang University, then worked as a research engineer for Korea Electric Power Corporation, the largest electric utility in South Korea. While he holds no exits, he brings considerable experience in a new and growing space.

To round out his team, Kim has brought on a number of experienced robotics and software engineers, two of which studied at UT Austin while he was conducting PhD studies there. Robotics Engineer James DeBacker worked as an engineer for Southwest Research Institute for two years, collaborating with General Electric and the Department of Defense on developing algorithms for research. Software Engineer Jovita Ezeokafor likewise spent seven months working with Southwest and developed software for a NASA proposal.

Mechanical Engineer Yi Herng Ong holds a master’s degree in robotics from Oregon State. For his degree he specialized in robot learning and manipulation and published research at robotics conferences. Operating Officer Seonhwa Shin rounds out the team. She holds a master’s degree in Statistics from Ewha Womans University, the world’s largest female educational institute. Shin spent more than six years working as a researcher with the Korean Institute of Oriental Medicine and Korean Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology. She manages Roboligent’s marketing and finances.

Finally, Roboligent also brought on serial entrepreneur Alessandro Biglioli and software developer Karen Smetana as advisors. 

The Roboligent team brings deep expertise in robotics and software development, both key skills in a company like this. Although there is little past entrepreneurial experience, that may be compensated by the company’s advisors. Overall, the team score for Roboligent is very strong.

Differentiators

While the robotics market remains small and undeveloped, it is growing rapidly. Well-funded competitors are emerging in Asia and the world’s research universities. Applications of robotics vary widely, from drones and self-driving vehicles to warehouse robots, but industrial uses are the most prevalent currently. Robligent is targeting warehouses and physical therapy for its machines. The company is likely to have first moved advantage in the clinical space, as there has only been limited use of robots in surgical tasks thus far. Roboligent has initiated five patents for its force control technology, all pending. As for the product itself, development is in the pilot program phase. 

Robotics is a time and capital intensive field, and Roboligent has already spent years developing its dexterous machines. Its pending patents help add to the company’s defensive moat. Targeting the physical therapy space could be a major advantage as it is one of the first companies to do so. Overall, Roboligent has developed a unique product offering, and its differentiators score is quite high as a result.

Performance

Roboligent is pre-profit thus far but has performed relatively well. After several years of up-front work and a name-change, the company took in $13,852 last year with a COGS of $9.610. That year saw some drain on the business’s cash reserves, and its short-term debt more than quadrupled to about $78,500. Overall, its liabilities are fairly manageable for a startup. On the development side, the business has established a contract with Seimitsu Factory Automation in Singapore as a supplier for the Asian rehabilitation market. The first pilot unit was shipped out in mid-April.

To fund its early development, the business secured a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovation Research Program. The program provides funding to hundreds of businesses, including many robotics startups, but it is quite rare for a business to secure funding from both rounds. Roboligent has also conducted friends and family fundraising to gather $500,000 in investments.

With growing revenue and strong past funding, Roboligent’s performance score is above average.

Risks

The risk profile for Roboligent is quite high. As a new and potentially dangerous technology, robotics is a highly-regulated industry. In Roboligent’s case, robots are working directly with both human medical patients and human warehouse workers. While the therapeutic entry point is likely to be Roboligent’s anchor to standing out in a space, acting as a medical device means even more regulatory concerns. In addition, robotic devices are complicated, and scaling production is likely to take time and be hugely capital-intensive.

In addition, while the team as a whole is solid in educational credentials, there are some notable gaps in legal expertise as well as sales and marketing experience. Roboligent will need to expand its roster as it moves beyond development and testing into full-fledged business operations. Such processes are guaranteed to take a number of years, as the business must complete convoluted approval processes while securing manufacturing processes and sales contracts.

Bearish Outlook

While Roboligent isn’t as early in its development as a number of overly ambitious startups, it hasn’t yet secured proof-of-product, as it awaits results from its first pilot program. The concept is excellent, but theory is always secondary to how well the product actually works. In addition, attempting to enter through two different market spaces entirely separated from each other is likely to be a difficult lift for a startup without any current expertise in business or entrepreneurship.

Roboligent’s overly high valuation is a definite concern for investors. The business has operated on a tight budget thus far, but up-front costs for scaling up production of these robotics units will be unavoidably large. The company will likely need to raise additional funding as it expands globally, and that could lessen the advantage received by early investors in this round.

Bullish Outlook

Roboligent has a number of challenges ahead, but it has made ample progress. Robotics is an industry growing by leaps and bounds and has been since the 1970s. Making robots safe for human interaction is the necessary next step according to some experts, and Roboligent’s patent-pending force protection technology could be just the thing to propel it to the head of the market. The founder’s expertise in robotics has led the company to secure a significant amount of grant funding from the National Science Foundation, which could portend future success in securing the funding necessary to scale up manufacturing.

Executive Summary

Roboligent is bringing the power of advanced automation to a global robotics market with its next-generation, AI-augmented robots. These devices, including the Optimo Regen and Optimo Dex, automate tasks traditionally performed by human workers — specifically, logistics supply in warehouses and therapeutic exercises in clinical settings. Roboligent’s patent-pending force-control technology enables these robots to precisely manipulate products and assist users in a safe and intelligent way.

As Roboligent awaits approval of its FDA application, it is reaching into Asian markets through a partnership with a Singaporean company for robotic rehabilitation. While its team has impressive technical credentials, its early stage of development and limited revenue make its pre-money valuation relatively high. In addition, the business is still awaiting its proof-of-product and will likely struggle to break into warehouse logistics markets that are already getting competitive. Up-front funding is likely to be a further challenge, as the business seeks to scale its manufacturing in the future. Still, the robotics market is growing at a rapid enough pace to have plenty of room for ambitious startups. If its force-control technology works as the business presumes it will, it could have all manner of applications for robotics. Therefore, Roboligent is a Neutral Deal.

For questions regarding the KingsCrowd staff pick or ratings for this company, please reach out to support@kingscrowd.com.

Analysis written by Benjamin Potts.

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