A Videogame ETF? A Drone ETF? Thematic Funds Fly In

Investors can choose from a growing number of funds that invest in tech niches

PHOTO: JAMES MACDONALD/BLOOMBERG NEWS By GERRARD COWAN

Want to invest in robots, drones or 3-D printing? There are exchange-traded funds for each of them.

Many of these so-called thematic funds have short track records and spotty performances so far. But their advocates see them as a way for investors to profit from some of the biggest changes happening now in how we lead our lives.

The past few years have seen an increase in the number of tech funds catering to a particular sector, or even a subset of a sector. Several investment firms have launched them, including New York-based PureFunds, established in 2010, which has ETFs in cybersecurity (ticker symbol HACK), videogames ( GAMR), drones ( IFLY) and mobile payments ( IPAY), among others.

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