May 2, 2017

According to this investor, the moment for robotics has arrived

Chuck Kennedy / Axios

For two decades, Jim Robinson, managing partner of RRE Ventures, had thought about investing in robotics start-ups but never pulled the trigger. In recent years, that finally changed.

"We've looked on and off at robotics companies frankly for close to 20 years. ... Every half a dozen years we make the rounds to usual suspects. ... [But] it was only in the last fund that we decided it was time, or sort of feeling that the robots are coming."

In a talk today on stage with Axios' Mike Allen, Robinson warned that robotics and automation "will certainly create a great schism'' that will upend scores of professions, not just blue collar jobs. The question, he said, is whether robotics technology will follow historical trends for new technologies and eventually create more jobs than it destroys.

Why this matters: As Robinson explained, a "multi-decade series of policies" is needed from governments to prepare for the disruption that robotics and automation will unleash on all types of jobs, from manufacturing to medicine.

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