Is Formic Publicly Traded?

Is Formic Publicly Traded? Cathie Wood and the ARK Invest Team specialize in identifying innovative technologies that have the potential to disrupt entire industries. A common thread connects the biggest, most transformative technological breakthroughs: tumultuous times.

The past few years have been tumultuous indeed. Trade wars, a pandemic, and supply chain shortages are just a few of the extraordinary events that have made permanent marks on the world. Along the way, these events have inspired entrepreneurs to rethink business-as-usual and explore new options for meeting complex challenges.

High up on the ARK Invest watch list is Formic Technologies, a company that is reimagining how robots are designed and deployed.

In a recent conversation with Formic CEO Saman Farid, ARK Invest asked what the future of robotics looks like – and what that means for investors who want to be a part of the journey.

Farid said in no uncertain terms that there will be two types of robotics companies: those that build robots and those that provide robotics-as-a-service, like Formic.

What Is Robotics-as-a-Service?

Traditional robotics companies haven’t had much luck deploying robots at a substantial scale. There are significant barriers, and the process is time-consuming, expensive, and risky for the manufacturers who are putting automation in place.

The process begins with analyzing tasks to determine which can be automated, and it is far too easy to make a costly mistake. Assuming the selected task can be automated, there is the question of exactly how to automate it – and what equipment is right for the job.

Next comes acquisition, and it is not just the acquisition of a single machine. There is hardware and peripheral equipment, as well as a variety of vendors who are responsible for customizing, programming, installing, and managing robotics.

Even if all of that goes smoothly, there is one more potential disaster looming on the horizon. Manufacturing needs change. Robots don’t – at least, not without retooling, reprogramming, and so forth. It is quite common for costly equipment to become obsolete after a few years, and all too often, it is dismantled and left to gather dust.

Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) takes on automation in an entirely different way. Instead of creating a robot and selling it to a manufacturing company, RaaS starts with solutions. What sort of robots could be useful? Are there tasks that meet the criteria for automation?

RaaS providers partner with robotics manufacturers to create customized cloud-based automation equipment, and they manage the entire process from start to finish. There is no need for end-users to deal with acquiring equipment, contracting with vendors for installation, or hiring staff to maintain and manage the robots. That keeps costs low and efficiency high – both key to widespread adoption of this technology.

What Does Formic Technologies Do?

Formic Technologies is committed to making widespread adoption of robotics possible, and now that tumultuous times have highlighted the risks of relying on overseas manufacturing, demand is growing. Even before the pandemic, there were millions of open manufacturing jobs, and the problem has only gotten worse.

As a result of staffing issues, factories typically sit idle approximately 70 percent of the week. This creates a downward spiral in terms of demand for the products being manufactured.

Most of the costs associated with factory operations are fixed, and the per-item price is set high enough to cover those costs. When factories only operate 30 percent of the time, the price of each item must be higher. That drives demand down, which in turn reduces utilization rates, sending prices up even further.

Automation makes it possible to increase output without increasing staffing. The cost to produce each item goes down, which allows for lower prices – and higher demand. However, most manufacturing companies can’t afford the initial cash outlay and downtime associated with installing robotics. That’s where Formic Technologies comes in.

Formic’s experts understand the intricacies of automating manual tasks, and they know exactly how to choose, program, and install equipment that meets the specifications necessary to complete a given task. The company specializes in turnkey automation solutions with no large up-front costs.

Users pay for performance – specifically, they pay an hourly rate for the use of the automation equipment. That means no risk of running into unexpected maintenance and reprogramming expenses, and the issue of robots becoming obsolete no longer applies. There is no downside for the companies that choose to implement robotics, and Formic’s case studies show a significant upside.

Formic Technologies has already amassed an impressive list of clients, including PNC, Honeywell, the US Navy, and HCM Home Systems. Formic says that it is democratizing automated systems by working to make such systems accessible to those who need them most.

Is Formic Technologies Publicly Traded?

Formic Technologies is a startup based in Chicago, Illinois. It launched in September 2020, and it immediately caught the interest of venture capital firms focused on emerging technology.

In January 2022, Formic leadership announced that its Series A business funding round was a success. The company secured $26.5 million in new cash, bringing its total valuation over $100 million.

Formic Technologies isn’t ready for an IPO, but that doesn’t prevent investors from adding other robotics stocks to their portfolios. Four of the best robotics stocks to buy now include iRobot Corporation, Rockwell Automation, UiPath, and Teradyne.

Alternatively, there are exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that specialize in the robotics industry. These tend to have low fees, and each share offers instant diversification. Some of the most popular robotics-focused ETFs include:

Finally, investors may wish to consider the ARK Invest family of funds, all of which are dedicated to disruptive innovation. The ARK Innovation ETF offers wide exposure to a variety of emerging technologies, while the ARK Autonomous Technology & Robotics ETF narrows in on robotics.

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The author has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Financhill has a disclosure policy. This post may contain affiliate links or links from our sponsors.