Sizing Something That Doesn't Exist: Forays into the Robotics Market

The “robots are coming” narrative has two parallel conversations. One is a dialogue over whether or not this is a good thing. Team Bee collaborated (argued, postulated, wrote, erased, and wrote again) over several months last year to develop our core thesis, Machines Will Win on that topic. Spoiler alert: Yes, they will win, and we’re excited to be among those leading the way to positive human-machine engagement as evidenced by the companies in our portfolio.

The other conversation is around financial rewards and it goes something like this: Robots are coming and they bring with them dramatically reduced labor costs, blindingly fast efficiencies, and embarrassingly large profits for their makers, users, and investors.

If only any of it were that simple.

Yes, a global robotics industry is rapidly emerging. Writing about it has been like trying to describe the ground under my running feet. And the industry, as well as the investment it requires, faces all the challenges of any emerging business field. It also has some unique and unprecedented challenges, and has us posing questions we’ve not asked before.

In “Demystifying the Robotics Market,” I set out to define the developing space, looking at the simplicity (not) and cost (high) of implementing robots, market conditions among the two dominant robotics producers and users (the U.S. and China), and possible solutions to the problems of business models and expense. Please have a look. I eagerly await your thoughts and opinions, so start a conversation with me at kira@beepartners.vc, and use that email address as well if you’re interested in a job in robotics. Our robotics investments in Skycatch, Carbon Robotics, and Iris Automation have given us fascinating and unique insights and we know them to be exciting and rewarding places to work.