R&D focus bodes well for future
The competitiveness of Robotous lies in the technology it has developed. Most small and midsize companies are either incapable of or unwilling to conduct serious research.
However, Robotous dedicates a great deal of resources to its research and development center, where Ph.D. holders from prominent research universities such as Kaist work. Researchers represent 20 percent of the entire work force, and Robotous invests more than 25 percent of its revenues in research.
The research is focused on developing humanoid robots in the future, one of the ultimate goals of CEO and founder Moon Hong-yeon. This shows that Robotous is more concerned with long-term growth than short-term profits.
In addition, its major businesses have shown stable growth. Supplying parts to IBM has become a cash cow for the company. Its major product, Frelle, is widely recognized both at home and abroad for its novel and distinguished micro-bubble technology. As people take more care with their skin and health, there will be more demand for the shower system.
If it is successfully commercialized, the product could bolster the financial status and drive further growth of Robotous.
Technology-oriented companies that specialize in business-to-business services tend to neglect the importance of marketing. However, Robotous sought to enhance its marketing strategy by receiving consulting services. Its efforts paid off when Frelle went on sale this year.
The CEO’s strong commitment to creating valuable technology also makes Robotous stand out. Moon doesn’t merely consider his company a money generator. Instead, he often has stated that the top priority of the company is to contribute to mankind.
He also emphasizes the importance of his employees, fostering an environment in which they can stay with the company as long as they want. Many people speak of those values, but I feel this CEO really tries to stay true to his word.
When I worked as a consultant for the company and spent a lot of time at their offices, I was assured that he is sincere with his vision. His attitude appeared to motivate other workers. I still remember the moment when workers were delighted and cheered with joy after Frelle was introduced on a local home shopping channel. The workers often struck up discussions about the product when they encountered each other in the company hallway.
I believe such scenes represent evidence of the potential of Robotous that might not explicitly appear in its financial records.
Company fact sheet
* CEO: Moon Hong-yeon
* Established: 2004
* Employees: 48
* Plants: One
* Products: Robots, motor actuators and micro-bubble shower head
* Major customer: IBM
Graduate of Yeungnam University (bachelor’s in chemical engineering)
Worked at Dong-A Pharmaceutical