Throughout the entire 2015 the Ekso Bionics stock was bouncing off a $1.00 valuation acting as a support. In the beginning of the 2016 calendar year the panic surrounding the Chinese market sunk the Ekso Bionics stock below its support and after several days it still hasn’t recovered. This could be the end of one of the largest and most influential exoskeleton companies in the world, but the company can still rebound. Ekso Bionics has a lot going for it and with better communication it could still bring in fresh investments.
Ekso Bionics is working on three major projects. The company is similar to ReWalk Robotics in that it has a medical exoskeleton line, the Ekso GT™. Ekso Bionics is also working on a passive exoskeleton for industrial use, just like Lockheed Martin. If that wasn’t enough, the company also has a soft exoskeleton project sponsored by DARPA. So one stock purchase of Ekso Bionics nets you the equivalent of 3 exoskeleton projects and research work! This would be a great deal in any market environment, with the exception that few people know what state the three projects are currently in! Stock price of a company is not about how the company is doing now, but how the company will do in the future. If Ekso Bionics communicates more clearly the state of their projects it would put many of its investors at ease.
By all accounts Ekso GT™ for medical use is a phenomenal product. Ekso Bionics has conducted multiple studies with this suit, (as a matter of fact they announced another one yesterday). The suit is also a favorite of Soldier Socks which has purchased and donated 10 devices so far. At the same time however, companies such as ReWalk and Parker Hannifin (amongst many others) have started competing for medical centers, but it is not clear how much space they have gained. More importantly, while the ReWalk has FDA approval for home use, the Ekso exoskeleton does not. Ekso Bionics needs to address why this is the case and explain how they are going to catch up.
In the exoskeletons for industry market Ekso Bionics has the Ekso Works. The Ekso Works is a wonderful, passive exoskeleton that uses the zeroG spring arm to hold a heavy tool and then direct the weight into the ground, bypassing the user’s body. This is a great device that can potentially find a home in shipyards and other heavy industries. Ekso Works promises to increase worker productivity by allowing them to hold heavy instruments in position for longer while also potentially reducing the risk of injury. But once again there is a catch, Lockheed Martin has argued that they are the primary developer of the technology. At this point, the status of the Ekso Works project is unclear and the device has not even made it to the main company website. Ekso Bionics PR team should shed some clarity on the situation.
Finally Ekso Bionics is also working on a soft exoskeleton. Originally funded under the DARPA Warrior Web project, Ekso Bionics reportedly worked with SRI International. A picture on Ekso’s Facebook site from November 18, 2015 reads: “…Our engineering team has worked 24/7 over the past few months to reach a TALOS project deadline…” but there is no exosuit pictured. What is the status of the Ekso Bionics exosuit? When did it become part of TALOS?
Ekso Bionics is working on many projects, but doesn’t deem it important to inform the public of what stage they are in. This reduces the perceived worth of the company and lowers the stock value. At $0.87 the company is clearly undervalued, but Ekso Bionics has to make that case to investors soon. According to various reports, after the purchase of the zeroG Arm Technology in Dec 2015, Ekso Bionics has enough operational cash until the middle of 2016.