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 47%.

 

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

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Travis Briggs

CEO - US

Travis is CEO and Partner of ROBO Global. A veteran of the finance and...

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William Studebaker

President & CIO

William Studebaker is ROBO Global's President and CIO, while also serv...

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Richard Lightbound

CEO - EMEA

Richard Lightbound has worked for 15+ years within the financial servi...

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Chris Buck

Head of Sales

Chris Buck is head of capital markets and sales for ROBO Global US. He...

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Jeremie Capron

Head of Research

Jeremie Capron is the Director of Research and serves on the Index Com...

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Lisa Chai

Senior Research Analyst

Lisa Chai is a Senior Research Analyst with over 17 years of experienc...

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Erica Allaby

Communications & Marketing

Erica first joined the ROBO Global team as a content marketing special...

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Clay Shepherd

Director of Finance

At ROBO Global's founding in 2013, Clay acted as the Operations Manage...

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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 of the firm, executing business strategy and serving on the Index and Classification Committees.

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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William Studebaker

President & CIO

William Studebaker is ROBO Global’s President and CIO, while also serving on the Index & Classification Committees. Prior to joining ROBO, he was with Apex Capital from 2002 through 2015 where he served as the portfolio manager covering industrials. For the previous seven years he held a number of positions at Merrill Lynch, including as a trader on the New York Stock Exchange floor and, most recently, as a director in institutional equity sales. From 1991 to 1994, Bill was an analyst in the structured finance group of Cargill. He received his BA in Political Science and International Relations (double major) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991.

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Richard Lightbound

CEO - EMEA

Richard Lightbound 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.

Richard 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. In 2014, Richard joined ROBO Global. In addition to managing daily operations in Europe and Asia, he is responsible for executing business strategy and serves on the Index Committee and Classification Committee.

Richard is a frequent speaker at Robotics & Automation conferences and events. During his career, he has lived and worked in Hong Kong, USA, Europe, and Sri Lanka.

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Chris Buck

Head of Sales

Chris Buck is head of capital markets and sales for ROBO Global US. He brings over 25+ years of experience in capital markets and sales.

Prior to ROBO Global, Chris was Head of Client Execution Services, Americas iShares Capital Markets at BlackRock, where he was responsible for leading institutional and private wealth sales engagement across US, Canada, and Latin America. Prior to joining iShares, he was 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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Jeremie Capron

Head of Research

Jeremie Capron is the Director of Research and serves on the Index Committee. 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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Lisa Chai

Senior Research Analyst

Lisa Chai is a Senior Research Analyst with over 17 years of experience investing in disruptive technology companies and is a member of the Industry Classification Committee.

Prior to joining ROBO, Lisa was a corporate strategy consultant at Bluemont Partners where she worked with emerging growth technology companies. Previously, she 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 Semiconductor, Software and Internet industries. Lisa was also a Research Analyst/Portfolio Manager at Tavistock Group and Ridgecrest Partners, a hedge fund focused on Technology and Telecom sectors. Lisa is currently a member of the Empire Angels, a professional angel group investing in early stage technology venture 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.

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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 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 B.A. 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.

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Clay Shepherd

Director of Finance

At ROBO Global’s founding in 2013, Clay acted as the Operations Manager and currently serves as the Director of Finance as well as a member of the index committee. Clay graduated with honors in business from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. Previous to his employment at ROBO Global, Clay worked as an associate intern for Silicon Valley Bank and a financial analyst at Bamford Partners. Clay also co-founded Presidential Advantage Tutoring, which he sold in early 2013.

Our Strategic Advisors

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Henrik Christensen, PhD

Henrik I Christensen is the director of Robotics at Georgia Tech. He i...

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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 Chair of the Industrial Engineering and Operations Res...

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Manish Kothari, PhD

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

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Wyatt Newman, PhD

Wyatt Newman’s research is in the areas of mechatronics, robotics an...

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Illah R. Nourbakhsh, PhD

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

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Louis-Vincent Gave

After receiving his bachelor's degree from Duke University and studyin...

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Frank Tobe

Frank is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report. After selling hi...

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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

Henrik I Christensen is the director of Robotics at Georgia Tech. He is the KUKA Chair of Robotics and a distinguished professor of computing. He was the founder of the European Network of Excellence in Robotics that included 192 universities. He was also the coordinator of formulation of the US Roadmap for Robotics initially released 2009 and revised 2013. He is the coordinator of the Robotics Virtual Organization that formulates the national robotics agenda, coordinates educational efforts and promotes technology transfer of research results. Dr. Christensen has published more than 300 contributions across robotics, computer vision and artificial intelligence. He collaborates with many of the major companies in the US on utilization of robot technology. Dr. Christensen is also the co-founder of 5 companies.

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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, a robotics company that revolutionized material handling by deploying thousands of autonomous mobile robots in warehouses. He was the faculty advisor and system architect of the Cornell Robot Soccer Team, four-time world champions at the international RoboCup competition.

He recently founded Verity Studios, a company developing a new breed of interactive and autonomous flying machines. 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 Chair of the Industrial Engineering and Operations Research Department at UC Berkeley Professor, with secondary appointments in EECS, Art Practice, the School of Information, and 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. 

Despite has over 250 peer-reviewed publications and 8 U.S. 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 is a vice president of SRI International where he leads the creation of high-value venture opportunities. Kothari joined SRI in 2013 as a business development consultant and entrepreneur-in-residence. He 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.

Prior to joining SRI, Kothari 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.

Kothari received his M.S. degree and Ph.D. 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 research is 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, M.I.T., 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, he 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. Newman 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. His current research projects explore community-based robotics, including educational and social robotics and ways to use robotic technology to empower individuals and communities. 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.

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

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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. Following Paribas, Louis launched GaveKal Research with Charles Gave and Anatole Kaletsky in London in 1999. Since 2002 he has been based in Hong Kong where he oversees GaveKal’s money management business as well as contributing to the firm’s research. He is the author of five books, including his latest Too Different for Comfort, published in October 2013.

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Frank Tobe

Frank is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report. After selling his business and retiring from 25+ years as provider of targeted campaign materials and consultant to the Democratic National Committee as well as major local and national campaigns and initiatives across the U.S. and abroad, he has energetically pursued a new career in researching, writing about and investing in robotics.

In 2008 he 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, funding 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. Mr. Paulsen was among the first financial analysts to highlight the Asian Automation trend as an underlying driver for the sector one decade ago, and he has built strong relationships with automation equipment suppliers and system integrators across Asia.

Mr. Paulsen joined CLSA Japan from WestLB Securities Pacific in 2003 and he has received numerous rewards for his research. He was among others ranked number one in his field by AsiaMoney every year from 2007 to 2013 (the Capital Goods segment was discontinued in 2014), and he was also 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 47% 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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