Softbank to invest up to $150m in Aldebaran

News and announcements related to Humanoids/walkers, robo-one/other conferences, intelligent servos, advanced robot controllers/sensors, and interesting new humanoid related developments.
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Softbank to invest up to $150m in Aldebaran

Post by limor » Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:45 am

Post by limor
Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:45 am

Image Softbank bought French company Aldebaran, makers of NAO humanoid (distributed in UK by RoboSavvy), for $100m in return for 80% stake. They plan to additionally inject $50m into the company, hinting that the $100m went into the investors and founders pockets.

I'm trying to guess the assumptions that led to this valuation. Aldebaran probably have a business plan that shows profits in that order of magnitude of $150m within say 7 years. Assuming the average per-unit price of the future killer-app robot is an affordable $3500 and that the operating profit on that unit is around $700, the number of units sold comes to around 200,000 robots. The retail figure of $3500 is not really high even within the 7 year horizon, given the costs of distribution of a mass-market product and the cost of materials that compose an "interesting" robot (especially the cost of quality machined mechanical actuators and sensors).
However, $3500 is a figure that doesn't fit into or replace today's typical annual expense budget for geeks, gamers, elderly or house-wives. Therefore there is a hidden assumption that articulated mobile robots will create a new budgetary item for the affluent household.

I am not skeptical that articulated robots will be a budgetary item for the average household within the next 7 years. But I am surprised that investors would buy into this on such a grand scale. Softbank, a $30b company with 22000 employees, has done some bold investments before and may has the time on its hands to see this robotics dream come to fruition.


    - 1995 - Softbank Bought COMDEX from The Interface Group
    - 2005 - SoftBank buys Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, a Nippon Professional Baseball team.
    - 2006 - SoftBank announces its agreement to buy Vodafone Japan, giving it a stake in Japan's $78 billion mobile market.
    - 2006 - SoftBank completed the purchase of 23% of Betfair, an Internet betting exchange.
    - 2006 - Vodafone Japan changes its corporate name, mobile phone brand name, and its mobile phone domain name to SoftBank Mobile, SoftBank, and [mb.softbank.jp] respectively.
    - 2008 - It was announced that SoftBank and Tiffany & Co. collaborated in making a limited 10 model-only cellphone. This cellphone contains more than 400 platinum diamond, totalling more than 20 karat. The cost is said to be more than 100,000,000 yen.
    - 2008 - SoftBank Mobile announced partnership with Apple and brought the iPhone (3G) to Japan later in 2008
    - 2010 - SoftBank acquired 13.7% in Ustream with the option to increase shares to 30%.
Image Softbank bought French company Aldebaran, makers of NAO humanoid (distributed in UK by RoboSavvy), for $100m in return for 80% stake. They plan to additionally inject $50m into the company, hinting that the $100m went into the investors and founders pockets.

I'm trying to guess the assumptions that led to this valuation. Aldebaran probably have a business plan that shows profits in that order of magnitude of $150m within say 7 years. Assuming the average per-unit price of the future killer-app robot is an affordable $3500 and that the operating profit on that unit is around $700, the number of units sold comes to around 200,000 robots. The retail figure of $3500 is not really high even within the 7 year horizon, given the costs of distribution of a mass-market product and the cost of materials that compose an "interesting" robot (especially the cost of quality machined mechanical actuators and sensors).
However, $3500 is a figure that doesn't fit into or replace today's typical annual expense budget for geeks, gamers, elderly or house-wives. Therefore there is a hidden assumption that articulated mobile robots will create a new budgetary item for the affluent household.

I am not skeptical that articulated robots will be a budgetary item for the average household within the next 7 years. But I am surprised that investors would buy into this on such a grand scale. Softbank, a $30b company with 22000 employees, has done some bold investments before and may has the time on its hands to see this robotics dream come to fruition.


    - 1995 - Softbank Bought COMDEX from The Interface Group
    - 2005 - SoftBank buys Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, a Nippon Professional Baseball team.
    - 2006 - SoftBank announces its agreement to buy Vodafone Japan, giving it a stake in Japan's $78 billion mobile market.
    - 2006 - SoftBank completed the purchase of 23% of Betfair, an Internet betting exchange.
    - 2006 - Vodafone Japan changes its corporate name, mobile phone brand name, and its mobile phone domain name to SoftBank Mobile, SoftBank, and [mb.softbank.jp] respectively.
    - 2008 - It was announced that SoftBank and Tiffany & Co. collaborated in making a limited 10 model-only cellphone. This cellphone contains more than 400 platinum diamond, totalling more than 20 karat. The cost is said to be more than 100,000,000 yen.
    - 2008 - SoftBank Mobile announced partnership with Apple and brought the iPhone (3G) to Japan later in 2008
    - 2010 - SoftBank acquired 13.7% in Ustream with the option to increase shares to 30%.
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Post by siempre.aprendiendo » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:49 pm

Post by siempre.aprendiendo
Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:49 pm

It seems that is not true Nao forum post. Posted by Bastien, Head of Communications :shock:
It seems that is not true Nao forum post. Posted by Bastien, Head of Communications :shock:
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Post by limor » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:02 pm

Post by limor
Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:02 pm

Strange that they haven't come up with a formal press release or statement (couple of words on their support forum doesn't constitute a formal statement).
FT is one of the leading publication and can not afford to publish something like that without validating.
Strange that they haven't come up with a formal press release or statement (couple of words on their support forum doesn't constitute a formal statement).
FT is one of the leading publication and can not afford to publish something like that without validating.
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