11.09.2005AKA the market
From The Boston Globe: Test for iRobot
n a rare public stock sale by a robot maker, iRobot issued 5 million shares for $24 per share yesterday, raising $120 million for the company. IRobot will begin trading on the Nasdaq exchange this morning under the symbol IRBT.
IRobot's initial public offering will be a test of whether robotics, a field that long has drawn public fascination but Wall Street skepticism, is finally ready to emerge as a business sector worth investing in. The company's public launch will also measure the health of the nation's IPO market, largely frozen since 2001, which has been slowly thawing the past two years. The ability to take a company public is critical to entrepreneurs and their backers.
I have faith in the American consumer to take advantage of our robot brethren. iRobot has a particular kind of quaint charm (that of course comes right out of Brook's own academic work on AI), but I'm not as sure that the company will take robotics outside of the 'charmingly useful' arena and into the 'essential social infrastructure' level.