Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to invest in machine vision

If you read “Analyzing the global machine vision business” you’ll know machine vision has excellent growth potential. Today let’s talk briefly about how to seize this opportunity.

I know of only three pure machine vision companies that are publicly quoted, Cognex in the US and Basler and Augusta in Germany. (Augusta is the parent of camera-maker AVT and is pretty much just in to cameras.) If you’re interested in other vision companies you’ll need to investigate their parentage.

For example, Dalsa is part of Teledyne, a far bigger data acquisition company. Likewise, PPT is owned by Datalogix, and Microscan by Spectris. Then there are the sensor companies like SICK and Keyence, which I’m not sure how you’d get into. Investing in any of these means exposing yourself to risk beyond the pure machine vision industry, (which may or may not be a good thing.)

Many other vision companies – probably the majority - like MVTec (Halcon software vendor,) are privately held. If you want a piece of their action you’ll need to talk with the existing owners. Good luck with that!

So are there any other options? Well I think you’re left with starting your own machine vision business, developing some innovative technology, and selling out to one of the big vendors. But here’s a question to my community of readers: are there any private equity or venture capital businesses specializing in machine vision?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sick is not publicly traded company. Gisela Sick, widow of the founder Erwin Sick is still "horary chairman of supervisory board".