There are two types of people in this world, those willing to take a risk and everyone else…


AtonRâ Partner's investment themes are exposed to several risks which are constantly monitored by the investment and research teams.

We highlight the main ones below.

Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

Potential risks

The scope of the theme is less evident – up to where can we go

What are the limits of Artificial Intelligence and do they even exist? Even though many projected innovations sound more like science fiction than reality, most scientifically advanced teams are working to make those come true. The underlying idea of the theme is to serve people, but where is the frontier when serving switches to harming?

Responsibility issues

Machines will partially replace people in their day-to-day tasks. Thus, who is responsible for the outcomes, if those are negative (injury)? Is it the company, that developed and programmed the AI system? The person or the company who bought it? The society? Anyone else?

Misaligned interests of algorithms (robots) and the mankind

We cannot ignore the risk that the technologies and their applications might get out of our control. Algorithms might achieve the level of consciousness where robots may be able to set their own objectives, that are not aligned to mankind’s.

Fewer jobs for skilled and unskilled workforce

The influence of the industry on the job market is still widely discussed. From one point of view, it will create an enormous number of new positions, but from the other side, many unskilled jobs (e.g. truck drivers) and skilled workers (including financial analysts) might be partially (or completely?) replaced by machines and algorithms.

New hacking technologies and viruses

Every new technology has its own contra technology (computer viruses, data hacks), that also evolve constantly following the new inventions.


Potential risks

Market potential smaller than expected

Even though these developments are undoubtedly exciting and very useful, it is very hard to estimate the market potential with accuracy. Thus, there is a risk of overestimation.

Misuse of synthetic biology (bio-threat)

Synthetic biology broadens the horizons of the thinkable and unthinkable, it will allow not only modifying what already exists, but also creating biological substances from the scratch. Thus, we cannot always be sure of the purposes and potential applications of the new inventions (e.g. dangerous viruses).

Lack of reimbursement by insurances

These technologies are relatively expensive (e.g. artificial organs), thus, only a limited number of people have access to bionic technologies. The fastest insurance companies worldwide realize the long-term benefits these devices offer, the more chances the industry players will have to monetize their discoveries.

Transplantation for reasons other than health

As with any other development, usage abuses are inevitable. People may seek physical advancement of their capabilities or pursue other goals not connected to health issues.

Patients’ data protection

IoT devices will generate and process enormous amount of data about people. As a consequence questions about data rights and storage arise.

New hacking technologies and viruses

Every new technology has its own contra technology (computer viruses, data hacks), that also evolve constantly following the new inventions.


Potential risks

Consumer adoption

Banks and insurance companies have something that Fintech do not have yet - trust. This trust is based on a track record. The lack of confidence could lead to a slower adoption from users.

Operational risk and security

There are implications for consumer protection and fraud. Money laundering and identity fraud are two of the biggest challenges to the industry’s credibility.

Supervisors and regulators

The complexity of Fintech business models requires a clear regulation, but not too heavy. Then, regulators and supervisors should avoid a total deregulation but be careful to not handicap the emergence and the development of new businesses.

Counterparty risk

B2B and P2P lendings allow small businesses or people to receive money quickly and cheaply from all over the world, often bypassing onerous collateral and credit requirements. This lack of credit requirements could lead to a counterparty / credit risk.

Financial instability

Fintech companies have an impact on all financial services: front office, mobile payments, loans, asset management, capital raising and money transfers. The rapid growth of the industry increases the volume of financial transactions and could lead to financial instability. For example, e-trading platforms and algorithmic trading could rise the price volatility.

Biotech 360°

Potential risks

Pricing controls imposed by the US administration

U.S. market, the leading market for biotechnologies in the world, is the only market that does not control prices of medications. As a result, if today’s government changes the rules of the game, the stock market shock is inevitable.

Expensive R&D

The cost of R&D is rising exponentially, and it becomes more and more difficult for the companies to recover these expenses. Further increases might have even more dramatic consequences.

Biosimilars and generic drugs

Medications that are interchangeable with FDA-approved products, have limited differences in terms of safety and effectiveness. These are cheaper substitutes for biotech drugs.

Less stringent FDA procedures

Even though faster and simpler FDA process will speed up the road from the pre-clinical stage to drug approval, the chances that data might be manipulated or misleading are higher.

Changing payer dynamics

In the U.S., Medicare decides on the reimbursement of drugs (followed by private insurance companies). In case it is given the right to directly discuss the prices with producing companies, the business model for biotech will change significantly.

Mobile payments

Complicated regulation

Mobile payments require a coordinated and secure exchange of payment information among several unrelated entities. Laws and regulations applicable to underlying payment methods (credit and debit cards, mobile phone bills…) govern mobile payments today. Lack of rules governing mobile payment transactions makes consumers more cautious.

Technical limitations of smartphones

There are resource limitations in mobile devices including battery life, memory space or processing power.  Like credit cards or cash, mobile phones still can be stolen or lost.

No acceptance by banks

Additional cost for the banks and retailers could be a major obstacle to adoption. Collaboration among ecosystem players will be critical to new mobile payment solutions.

Banking data security

Consumers worry about personal data being hacked or stolen. With tokenization technologies and the emergence of biometrics, mobile payments could become more secure than contactless card payments.

No user adoption

Users will need time to change their perception and gain confidence. Increasing marketing, improving ergonomics, security and value-added services (such as rewards, loyalty and couponing) should give a major boost to adoption.

Security & space

Potential risks

Reallocation of governments’ spending into other sectors

Governments worldwide are the largest and most influential “consumers” of defense technologies and products, thus the industry is highly dependent on budgetary decisions.

Political weight

Companies that operate in this industry are directly impacted by political decisions, such as the ban on landmines and cluster bombs.

Increasing countries’ budget deficits

As budgetary spending is one of the principal sources of funding of these technologies, increasing budget deficits worldwide (e.g. U.S., Russia) raise a question about the stability of these investments.

End of the modernization

We are going through the cycle of modernization (maintenance, upgrade, or replacement of existing/old machinery). The end of the cycle will cool down investments and hence discourage innovation.

Negative image

Companies that produce defensive equipment and machinery are often viewed as socially irresponsible.

Sustainable future

Potential risks

Lower Fossil Fuel Prices

Dropping fossil fuel prices (notably oil and natural gas) could impact the cost competitiveness of renewables and electric vehicles, hence resulting in a slower-than-expected market adoption.

Rising interest rates

Many large-scale projects (e.g., solar, wind, energy storage) use debt financing to pay for high upfront costs. Rising interest rates impact profitability of such projects and could slow-down their development.

Geopolitical Tensions

Most clean technologies rely on globalized supply chains. Increased tensions between countries (especially with China) could result in rising import tariffs on key materials/ technologies, making such technologies less attractive to end customers.

Unsupportive regulations

Unsupportive regulations and policies enacted by climate-skeptic governments could impact the local adoption of clean technologies.

New hacking technologies and viruses

Every new technology has its own contra technology (computer viruses, data hacks), that also evolve constantly following the new inventions.