Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a popular theme among investors as companies use technology to turn what was once the subject of sci-fi movies into reality. One such company is Boston Dynamics, whose legged robots can dance, perform athletic tasks, and navigate uneven terrains like hills and stairs.
As more organizations look to utilize robots with ever-developing capabilities, Boston Dynamics can expect strong revenues after years of research and development.
This growth potential has many investors wanting to know how to buy Boston Dynamics stock.
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What Is Boston Dynamics?
Originally an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston Dynamics began as a robotics and engineering startup in 1992. Today, this robotics pioneer focuses primarily on developing mobile robots for commercial and industrial uses.
Other companies have also provided Boston Dynamics funding and gained an ownership stake. For example, Google is a previous stakeholder, and now Hyundai Motor Group and SoftBank are co-owners.
The company eventually began making advanced robots with funding from various U.S. military agencies, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Those early-stage research and development contracts have helped advance robotics technology to its present state.
Police and fire departments are starting to use the Spot Robo-dog to inspect suspicious packages and assess high-risk environments. Factories can also use Spot to inspect the plant at regular intervals within defined parameters for safety issues with cameras and sensors.
In addition, it was recently announced that new robots from Boston Dynamics would have OpenAI’s ChatGPT capability.
So far, these robots are not being sold to the general public, but needless to say, the company is pursuing consumer applications once the capabilities improve and the machine is safe to be near children, pets, and the public.
How to Buy Boston Dynamics Stock
Unfortunately, you cannot buy Boston Dynamics stock as it’s a privately-owned company. However, you can gain exposure indirectly by investing in Hyundai Motor Group (HYMTF) and SoftBank (SFTBF), which own Boston Dynamics and are both publicly-traded companies.
Let’s take a closer look at these two companies.
Hyundai Motor Group (HYMTF)
Hyundai Motor Group owns an 80% controlling interest in Boston Dynamics, making it the majority owner. It finalized the acquisition in June 2021 from Softbank. In a press release, the Group stated they will “create a robotics value chain, from robot component manufacturing to smart logistics solutions.”
This holding company is best known for its Hyundai and Kia personal automobiles. As a result, most of the stock’s performance relies heavily on gas-powered car sales and potentially its success in autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, and electric batteries.
The South Korea-based company trades as an over-the-counter OTC stock in the U.S. stock market under the stock symbol HYMTF. This type of stock doesn’t have as much liquidity as common shares, and brokerages are more likely to charge trading commissions.
In addition, not every investing app trades the HYMTF stock ticker. So, for example, you can’t buy Hyundai stock through Robinhood or M1 Finance, which are both easy-to-use platforms for beginner investors.
If you’re comfortable investing directly on foreign stock exchanges through a participating broker, Hyundai trades on the Korea Stock Exchange (KRX) with stock number 005380.
Through most investing apps, investors can purchase U.S.-listed ADR shares (similar to OTC stocks) of SoftBank Group Corp. through the stock ticker SFTBF. For example, you can buy SFTBF shares on Robinhood, although liquidity can still be thinner than common shares.
Consider buying SoftBank shares directly from the Tokyo Stock Exchange with ticker 9984.T for more liquidity.
Boston Dynamics is only a tiny portion of the SoftBank portfolio, which also invests in the following niches:
SoftBank is primarily a telecommunications company with cell phone plans. The Softbank Vision Fund is a venture capital fund investing in tech startups, including Boston Dynamics, DoorDash, and Uber.
Private companies like Boston Dynamics raise capital through late-stage startup investing platforms. These funding rounds help the company grow to go public when angel investors can sell their privately held shares. You must be an accredited investor to participate.
If you’re eligible for these platforms, consider investing in robotics offerings as they become available.
Other Ways to Invest in Robotics Stocks
Until Boston Dynamic goes public, consider investing in the following companies if you want to profit from smart robots. Note that a stock analyzer can help you complete your due diligence to understand a stock’s risks, rewards, and how it might fit into your investment strategy.
iRobot Corporation (IRBT)
iRobot (Nasdaq: IRBT) holds the largest market share for consumer-focused robots. The producer’s Roomba robot vacuums are the most recognized consumer product. Customers can also add robotic mops and air purifiers to their home cleaning system.
These machines don’t perform the same functions as the Boston Dynamics robots, but they help solve customer needs for daily tasks.
Rockwell Automation (ROK)
Rockwell Automation (NYSE: ROK) produces industrial automation components and controls. These devices and machines increase productivity and contain smart sensors that provide real-time updates and alerts.
Rockwell’s machines are mostly stationary instead of bi-ped or quad-ped roving robots with the ability to move within certain boundaries.
Nvidia (Nasdaq: NVDA) is an artificial intelligence darling that provides computer chips and graphic processing units for many AI-powered devices. Boston Dynamics is one of its many customers, so the share price could increase when demand for high-tech chips is strong.
Global X Artificial Intelligence & Technology ETF (AIQ)
A sector ETF such as Global X Artificial Intelligence & Technology ETF (Nasdaq: AIQ) provides instant exposure to multiple companies offering AI services. Its 0.68% expense ratio is higher than most broad market index funds but slightly lower than competing funds.
If you want more diversity to manage risk, consider this investment option, as picking individual stocks can be riskier. Additionally, the artificial intelligence industry is relatively young, and knowing which companies will be successful is challenging.
A recent example of the fund’s top 10 holdings include:
Some holdings are direct competitors that might be developing similar technology, although with different applications. Other companies like Amazon may use AI to improve efficiency and automate more processes.
Boston Dynamics doesn’t have a stock symbol as it’s a private company.
The company hasn’t filed to become a publicly-traded company. As of June 2023, there are no indications that Boston Dynamics is taking steps to have an initial public offering (IPO). For now, investors wanting exposure to AI should consider other stocks or sector ETFs.
Hyundai Motor Group has an 80% controlling interest and states that Boston Dynamics operates as an independent business within the company’s broader portfolio. Further, a SoftBank affiliate owns the remaining 20%. Previously, Alphabet (formerly known as Google X) owned a controlling stake in the company from 2013 until 2017. Softbank held a 100% controlling interest from 2017 until 2021 when Hyundai purchased an 80% interest.
Boston Dynamics doesn’t release financial data as it’s a private company. During the 2020-2021 acquisition from Hyundai, the deal valued the robotics company at $1.1 billion. It’s probable that the company will be worth more in 2023 as it has more investor interest and product sales.
There are no risk-free investments, and investing in Boston Dynamics carries several risks. First, it’s a private company that holds a tiny position in the holdings of Hyundai (HYMTF) or SoftBank (SFTBF).
The price performance for either stock is more correlated to other business ventures than robots. Also, many remain cautious about artificial intelligence ethics as there are concerns that law enforcement or military agencies can use robots to harm or target individuals.
Boston Dynamics and several other leading AI companies have pledged not to sell units to buyers with intentions to use the robot as a weapon or for harmful purposes.
While Boston Dynamics remains a private company without any hints of going public shortly, you can gain indirect exposure by purchasing shares in the two companies with a controlling interest (Hyundai Motors Group and SoftBank).
Your other option is to invest in the broader tech sector through an exchange-traded fund and wait patiently for Boston Dynamics to go public if it ever happens. Regardless of your decision, it’s important to remember that AI companies make up a small part of the overall market and that portfolio diversification should always be a priority when deciding where to invest.