There was a short, stunning second for a number of months in 2021 when it felt like robotic investments could be immune from broader market forces. All of us basically and implicitly understood this to not be the case, however it was a pleasant second however.
Reality is, there was a little bit of insulation in there. There was nonetheless sufficient ahead momentum to maintain cruising for a bit, at the same time as headwinds grew. However every part comes all the way down to Earth ultimately. Now that we’re roughly a month into 2023, we are able to start assessing the harm. these graphs collated by Crunchbase, issues appears pretty stark.
Picture Credit: Crunchbase
A few high line factors:

2022 was the second worst 12 months for robotics investments over the previous 5 years.
The figures have been on a reasonably regular decline for the previous 5 quarters.

Per the primary level, 2020 was the bottom. It was additionally an anomaly, what with the worldwide pandemic. Uncertainty doesn’t breed investing confidence. The total 12 months determine is much more putting given how investor confidence prolonged into early final 12 months. Issues actually began slowing down in Q2. A cursory have a look at the bar graph would possibly counsel that 2021 is an anomaly. Sure and no. Sure, so far as acceleration. No, so far as the lengthy view. The query is just not if these bars will begin rising 12 months over 12 months, however when.
Picture Credit: Crunchbase
The identical factor that stalled investments in 2020 accelerated them the next 12 months. Whilst issues reopened, jobs have been more and more troublesome to fill and corporations throughout the board have been in a determined push to automate. As good because it could be, we’re not able to classify automation and robotics as “recession-proof” simply but. I do, nonetheless, suspect that those that management the purse strings basically perceive that these downward developments are extra a product of the macroenvironment than something particular to robotics.
For some early-stage startups, nonetheless, that’s chilly consolation. Plenty of runways shortened dramatically this 12 months. Comfort may come someplace down the highway, however in lots of circumstances decisive motion must be taken for individuals who instantly discover themselves unable to shut a spherical which may have felt like a foregone conclusion 12 months in the past.
Given the selection between getting acquired and shutting down that some will inevitably face, it appears seemingly that M&A exercise will spike. Positive there’s much less cash floating round, however few can flip down a great hearth sale. In some circumstances, that can go a methods towards strengthening merchandise and portfolios.
Anecdotally, I’m seeing investments ramp up for the 12 months, however that seems a part of the pure cycle of firms ready till after the vacations to announce. A correct bounce again, then again, appears inevitable, however solely these with high-powered crystal balls can say exactly when.

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