80: Independent Investment Banking in Robotics, Automation, and AI with Cascadia Capital’s Firdaus Pohowalla

What’s the role of investment banking in manufacturing and logistics? Our guest this week is here to answer that question.

Firdaus Pohowalla is Managing Director at Cascadia Capital, where he leads investment banking coverage for robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence, or if we’re talking in acronyms, RAAI.

In this episode, Firdaus gives us a little backstory on how he got to where he is now and why he’s always had an interest in tech and robotics. He explains why there’s such a big focus on RAAI in the investment world and what he thinks are the most exciting areas of these growing industries.

Firdaus goes on to explore the idea of robotics as a service (RaaS) and why that business model is so attractive to companies, customers, and investors. Firdaus also highlights the biggest challenges in the RaaS space and his advice for new companies looking to get involved in robotics. Finally, Firdaus breaks down the confusing alphabet soup that is Series A, B, and C funding rounds.


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3 Quick Things from this Episode

  1. The world of robotics, automation, and AI are becoming the future in many industries and that’s why RAAI is gaining so much investor interest.
  2. Robotics-as-a-service is a attractive model because it’s cheaper and easier for customers to integrate robotics into their companies without forking out for the equipment themselves.
  3. Series B funding is where you make or break your company. It’s where you’ve built a working product but you’ve got to demonstrate you have a scalable solution to get any further.

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Tweetable Quotes

  • “B round is critical. If I think about all the rounds out there, the B round is where you really make or break your company.”
  • “If you look at the development of the technology, and you see the sophistication of the software that’s complementing all of the earlier stage solutions that have been coming out, the market is really poised for significant growth.”
  • “I’d say the most important thing, and this is emotional, is make sure that you have real passion and conviction around your business idea. That’s kind of entrepreneurship 101.”

Please Scroll Down for Recommended Resources from this Episode

Do you want to connect with other leaders that are moving the needle in manufacturing everyday? Then make sure to join us in the Manufacturing Happy Hour Industry Community on LinkedIn.

A3 is the leading global automation trade association of the robotics, machine vision, motion control, and AI industries. Their events are some of the best places to get connected in the industry. Make sure to check out their marquee event Automate taking place in Detroit, MI June 6-9, 2022. Head to AutomateShow.com to register for free today.

Interested in generating leads through videos, podcasts, or other digital content? Then make sure to check out our 6 Strategies for Growing Your Manufacturing Business Using Social Media.

What We Discuss with Firdaus

  • How he got involved in investing and robotics
  • Why Cascadia Capital focuses on the RAAI space
  • The most exciting areas of RAAI
  • How robotics as a service works and why it’s attracting so much interest
  • The challenges of RaaS and why the markets are slow to move on it
  • Advice for new companies looking to get involved in RAAI
  • How the Series A, B, C funding rounds work
  • The effects of robotics and automation on the job market

Recommended Resources

Connect with Firdaus and Cascadia Capital

LinkedIn | Firdaus Pohowalla