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The Fed has cut rates between regularly scheduled policy meetings only six times since , and in each instance, it cut rates again at its next meeting—March 17, in this case. Today the nominal yield on the year Treasury plunged below 0. This had the effect of lifting gold prices up nearly 8 percent for the week, its best weekly advance since There could be other deals than airline stocks for bargain hunters.
According to CLSA, stocks have historically been up 86 percent of the time 10 trading days following these conditions. The risk may be too high for some investors, in which case I recommend gold as a diversifier. Trade-Weighted Dollar tumbled 2. Global Investors, Inc. This does not mean that we are sponsored, recommended, or approved by the SEC, or that our abilities or qualifications in any respect have been passed upon by the SEC or any officer of the SEC.
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These returns reflect simple appreciation only and do not reflect dividend reinvestment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 blue chip stocks that are generally leaders in their industry. The Hang Seng Composite Index is a market capitalization-weighted index that comprises the top companies listed on Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, based on average market cap for the 12 months. The Korea Stock Price Index is a capitalization-weighted index of all common shares and preferred shares on the Korean Stock Exchanges.
The Philadelphia Stock Exchange Gold and Silver Index XAU is a capitalization-weighted index that includes the leading companies involved in the mining of gold and silver. Trade Weighted Dollar Index provides a general indication of the international value of the U. The index was developed with a base level of 10 for the base period. The NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index is a modified market capitalization weighted index comprised of publicly traded companies involved primarily in the mining for gold and silver.
Presidential candidate John Edwards was tweeting from the campaign trail, and there were fake Bill Clinton and Darth Vader accounts. Local police stations and fire stations were tweeting. But the service kept on buckling under the strain. The screen became well-known as a sign that Twitter was having serious scaling problems. The Twitter team needed to raise money to hire engineers and fix their infrastructure.
Since they were in agreement on the central thesis, they could also agree that both revenue, and a business model, could be figured out later. The capital we are investing will go to making Twitter a better, more reliable and robust service. Many VCs had already pulled out of potential deals into Twitter, citing the lack of revenue and lack of any plan to get to revenue.
Negotiations for a possible acquisition by Yahoo! From Hatching Twitter:. While Twitter confused Yahoo! The firm made that abundantly clear on their blog, and when Twitter wanted to raise money, it came knocking. For USV, it helps the firm find companies that the investors believe are growing along successful trajectories. Zynga — and its historically massive IPO — is the perfect case in point. He believed the company could quickly scale the game based on the network effects of existing social platforms.
But the most important thing is to plug into the APIs of the various social networks so that you can easily find out which of your friends are online and ready to play with you. Doing both well is hard and to date, no company other than Zynga Game Network has done that with multiple games on multiple networks. Zynga was in a good position to scale up their network by using data on consumer behavior to increase user engagement.
Notably, Zynga pioneered event-based analytics to innovate and add sticky features and mechanics to their games. They also built their own internal analytics platform called ZTrack to do the heavy-duty analysis. In addition, they created models for analyzing the performance of games and features before they launched, so that they could use the behavioral data they gathered during gameplay to begin iterating immediately. Since many Zynga games are free-to-play and involve the purchase of virtual goods with real money, it was incredibly important for the company to figure out what game events and features users would pay to gain access to.
They figured this out early by analyzing user data. This helped them to rapidly grow their revenue from virtual goods. Zynga could echo the growth of Facebook and build a large, engaged network of their own. TechCrunch reported that Zynga had 1. This is when other companies and investors started paying attention.
USV contributed again in this round. But their decision to invest in a later round with Lending Club provides a model for how a thesis-driven firm must sometimes rewrite their own rulebook. At the time of its exit, Lending Club had amassed many prominent backers.
USV had been aware of Lending Club since they were first founded. Investors could come on Lending Club and lend out money, collecting on the interest, while borrowers could get a loan at a lower interest rate than they would from a bank. They were interested in the idea of peer-to-peer lending, but initially, chose not to invest in the company.
The service only seemed to be attracting risky borrowers. Lenders were losing money. It also opened the door for real growth for Lending Club. In , Fred Wilson and his team decided to invest. Its investors started to see far better returns.
Usage started to grow. Suddenly, there were real network effects to Lending Club. Large networks of engaged users, differentiated through user experience, and defensible through network effects. It would be very much worth the premium to get in. Recently, USV invested in other marketplace lenders by backing a new credit startup called Upgrade. By the time they invested in , they knew they were making an investment that they had conviction about. The firmness of conviction may sound like a hard-to-quantify feeling, and it is.
Conviction helps investors to lean in, and in turn gives more support to growing companies. In fact, investor conviction was essential to fueling another company on our list — Genentech. Through his relentless effort to make Genentech a success, Perkins himself created a new mold for the entrepreneurial venture capitalist. With no expertise in the subject himself, Perkins had to teach himself the basics.
Then he had to vet and doggedly nurture one of the most unusual companies to ever hit Silicon Valley. All along, he considered it highly likely the investment would be a total loss for the firm. Today, there is no such skepticism. And the wider biotech sector drives hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue every year. Perkins saw market potential for an emerging scientific field. And instead of relying on validation from other investors or companies, Perkins proactively sought out scientific advice from specialized researchers and used that to inform his investment decisions.
Both believed the new technology of recombinant DNA could be used in a mass-market therapy. But common scientific and business opinion at this time said this technology was 10 to 15 years away. After living on unemployment and a shoestring for a few months, they sought out investment capital. According to an article from the Wharton School, Perkins did his research before making what might have seemed like a crackpot investment. He identified two technical questions that he felt underpinned the potential success of the company.
That began a long history between Perkins and Genentech. The New York Times reports that he has called Genentech his favorite investment. Perkins was known as a pioneer in the movement for VCs to take larger hands-on management roles in their portfolio companies. Unless, that is, the entrepreneurs involved can make their biotech company look like a software startup. In software, code is always broken for a reason. If you figure out the error, you can make it work again. You can put out a minimal viable product of most any software product after a few months and start iterating based on customer feedback.
In biotech, you get one shot to make your product work, and you can never fully eliminate the risk that it will simply fail in clinical trials. In , a paper in Oral Oncology had to be retracted after it was discovered that the widely-used line of cancer cells in the study had been entirely contaminated by HeLa cells. All around the world, trials have had to be retracted and retraced after discovering contamination in the cancer cells being used for experiments. For a VC who invests primarily in software, this kind of randomness presents a massive risk.
A software startup relies only on code deterministic, clear and developing an audience. Over the long term, it can provide unmatched returns on capital. So approaching it analytically, the question is how do you discount [the risk of failure at each step]. They are just made-up numbers.
And our feeling with many biotechs is that people understate these probabilities. And even if just one of these steps is one in 10, you are really screwed. Still not anywhere near perfect — but better. The key, for Founders Fund, was seeing that Stemcentrx was devoted to reducing contingencies.
He needed someone with experience to explain whether what Stemcentrx was doing could really be a success. When he did, they came back asking if they could invest in the company. Founders Fund had started out with the same trepidations about biotech that every other investor in Silicon Valley had. They were able to overcome those trepidations by finding a biotech company that acted as if it was a Silicon Valley startup.
They went hunting for de-risked investments in a land full of risk — and they found one. With Workday, Greylock Partners was about as far from a hands-off partner as you could have. The confluence between company and VC was strong in this case.
Workday co-founder Aneel Bhusri, who was also a senior partner at Greylock, had noticed a huge transformation emerging in consumer technology. He started Workday, in part, as a bet on the idea that the same transformation would be coming to enterprise technology.
There were so many options for software out there and with the cloud, virtually limitless possibilities that the user experience had to be good. In human resources and finance, you see many intra-organization users needing to access their tools at key points. They need to check their benefits at the end of the year. They need to update their personal information when they move.
Since everyone needs to do these things, Bhusri realized, it should be simpler. The same way that products like Facebook and Amazon made previously complicated processes like communicating with friends or buying products off the web simple, Workday would make these HR processes simple. It was a thesis bolstered by several high-profile B2C investments that Greylock made in the years leading up to the Workday.
Previously, Greylock had focused its investments on companies building core internet infrastructure and B2B companies. They invested in companies innovating on semiconductor design, building out broadband networks, and the sort. Then came , and the consumer internet was in full swing. Friendster was fighting MySpace for social network supremacy.
The press was obsessed. They invested in Facebook, which raised its Series B in April Each of these companies built products that led with easy to use and clean user interfaces. People would use a site that looked like Facebook at work if you told them it was for work.
The key to adoption was making something people wanted to use. Rocket Internet reported the close of its first equity funding in , 6 years after it was founded by Samwer and his two brothers in Berlin. Qudian capitalized on lack of regulation in the emerging Chinese alternative lending space to dominate market share and was quick to give returns to its private investors by way of an IPO. The listing was oversubscribed and was a particularly lucrative exit for its then 34 year-old CEO, Min Luo, who owned about a fifth of the company before it went public.
Founded in , Qudian started as an e-commerce shopping site targeted towards university students and young professionals, enabling them to borrow money to buy goods and pay back the loans in monthly installments.
The company launched with backing from various China-based angel investors. Within 10 months, Qudian raised three rounds of funding from BlueRun Ventures and other investors. The company established off-line showrooms in shopping districts across China by the end of January , and leased out over 4, cars as of March 10th.
The biggest backers like Guosheng Financial and Kunlun have sold a nominal stake during the IPO and Guosheng has even talked of the price drop as an opportunity to increase its stake in Qudian. Secrecy, a stealthy drug development, and fund-raising history helped Acerta Pharma become a huge multibillion-dollar pharma exit.
Among its financings, the company raised a Series B round from T. Rowe Price. This funding was also raised in much secrecy, with no press release. This approval was considered especially important for adults with mantle cell lymphoma, a type of cancer that is often diagnosed at a later stage and has a high relapse rate.
Nexon began operations in out of Seoul, South Korea, but later moved its headquarters to Tokyo. Eventually, investors sour on them. Rocket Internet backed the e-commerce platform in , the same year it launched. Germany-based Zalando was launched with an initial focus on footwear, but has since expanded to apparel. Robert Gentz and David Schneider launched Zalando after a failed attempt at starting a social media platform for students in Latin America, followed by a brief stint working under the Samwer brothers.
It was the biggest IPO of a Chinese tech company in Unlike other ride-hailing services, Ucar uses its own professional vehicles and drivers. At the time of this deal, Ucar was already covering 60 cities, largely enabled by its partnership with CAR Inc. CAR Inc. Previous backers CAR Inc. Alibaba already had stakes in Uber and Didi Kuaidi formed by the merger of car-hailing rivals Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache in China , so this investment was done without much media coverage.
The New York-based private equity firm has participated in massive funding rounds in Asia tech in the last few years. Ucar has been supported largely by its strategic partner CAR Inc. This was no doubt an attractive prospect to investors. In an era where fast growth was prioritized above all else, Webvan rolled out beyond its home in the San Francisco Bay Area to cities such as Seattle, Chicago, and Atlanta, with an ultimate city expansion plan. Webvan was founded by Louis Borders ironically the founder of defunct bookstore chain Borders.
Given the unique perils of operating in the grocery business, one marked by excessively low margins, a fundamental understanding of pricing, demand, delivery costs, and profitability is critical to long-term success. This put Webvan into a position where it was difficult to become profitable, since it essentially was promising lower prices despite the high cost it took to fulfill and deliver each order. This set up an even higher barrier to profitably than the company already faced. However, when the market crashed in , Webvan lost its ability to raise more capital.
Given the inability of the company to operate profitability on its own, it was forced to file for bankruptcy and ceased operations. For example, Instacart taken a different approach than Webvan in its first few years of operation. While Instacart brought in a much smaller amount of revenue, it runs a much leaner business that is reliant on far fewer full-time employees, relying mostly on contracted delivery drivers.
Given the continued high cost and complexity of logistics, it remains important for grocery delivery providers to understand the unit economics of their businesses, and potential routes to profitability, before recklessly expanding. Scott Smith a university professor in The startup initially focused on selling to academics, beginning with business schools. The father and son duo worked out of their family basement, running operations, prospecting, and building the company from the ground up.
He later returned to Qualtrics. The company was known for rejecting investment offers, and remained bootstrapped for over a decade. Mercari operates a booming online, app-based flea market. It also meant early investor United Inc.
Yamada came up with the idea for the Mercari flea market app after traveling the world and realizing that even the poorest people carried cell phones. Mercari quickly grew to dominate the second-hand sales market in Japan, but now must look to expand internationally. Source: Statista. Local investors — most of them corporates like United — understood that he had something special.
There were few notable exits and most talent was flocking to safe corporate jobs. Post-Mercari Japan is looking like just that. The move signaled that Tencent is looking to cash in on a likely bonanza when electric cars go mainstream. Playing both sides of the street ensures it will hold significant market share whether Tesla or the Chinese brand becomes the top seller. While not well known in the US, NIO is poised to be a leader in China, where the growing middle class is seeking fuel efficient transportation.
Tesla, for its part, is building a plant in China, and expected to ramp up production. It remains to be seen whether Chinese consumers will favor the more established Tesla brand. In addition to its investments in the two automakers, Tencent received its own license from the Chinese government to test an autonomous vehicle in the city of Shenzhen.
When an industry is in its infancy, smart investors hedge their bets. Tencent has done just that, taking a major stake in its competitors as well as backing its own brand. In the early days of an industry set to explode, covering all bases can be a winning strategy, especially for investors with deep pockets. Meituan Dianping has grown into a broad-based services provider, dealing in everything from movie tickets to restaurant reservations.
Source: GGV Capital. Meituan started out as a Groupon imitator, but eventually, it emerged as one of the few Chinese deal-of-the-day sites there were around 2, voucher sites in China at the time with the revenue and user base to grow beyond that. Today, it is a broad-based services provider, dealing in everything from movie tickets to restaurant reservations. In the tech community of China, the successful Meituan Dinping IPO was a sign that Chinese tech IPOs were on the rebound, after some pessimism surrounding the public offerings of Xiaomi and Nio, which both priced around the bottom of their range.
In that IPO, the largest backer of the company, Morningside Ventures, made back more than 40x its investment. It was the most successful investment ever for the firm, led by Chinese venture capitalist Liu Qin, who met the founder of Xiaomi Lei Jun when he was working at Kingsoft in They co-invested in UCWeb, a deal in which they profited when the company sold to Alibaba.
Source: CNBC. When Lei told Liu he was going to work on a mobile phone company, Liu had the inside line to invest in the new company — and it fit his investment priorities perfectly. Xiaomi was, comparatively, relatively efficient. At the time, the product was, of course, underdeveloped, and it was critical that Liu and Lei had trust in one another.
Without the vision they shared for the company, there would not have been a convincing reason for Morningside to invest — and no returns either. Like the Alibaba service Taobao, Pinduoduo allows users to buy a wide range of products online, though it differs is in its social mechanisms.
Pinduoduo allows users to band together with friends and family to make group purchases and get a better price. Of those competitors, none looms larger for Tencent than Alibaba. Chinese local delivery startup Ele.
With Ele. Source: The Hustle. Moving to consolidate control is a common theme for Alibaba: slowly building up its stake in a company, learning about how it works, and learning about the space is a way for Alibaba to bolster its own product and service lines over time, rather than all at once in a traditional acquisition.
Source: Business Insider. Index noticed Adyen for three reasons. Second, it was profitable not another cash-burning Silicon Valley startup. Today, Adyen is a primary payments processor for many companies across the United States, including Facebook and eBay. It was a massive gamble at the time.
GitHub was in an unknown and misunderstood corner of the tech world. The startup had no clear path, no real product, and no sales organization. The site was the first large-scale open-source meeting place for developers. Open-source was founded on the belief that code can and should be shared and collaborative. GitHub made that vision into a reality by providing a place on the Internet where a community of developers could work on any project they liked.
Andreessen Horowitz saw the potential for disruption in how software is built. GitHub, it realized, was the platform where this could happen. Instead of companies working within their own walled gardens, they could open their code up to the world and tap into the collective wisdom of the crowd. As partner Peter Levine later recalled about his first meeting with the founders, GitHub was a little rough around the edges.
But it had something better than anything a slick marketing department could deliver: developers around the world were flocking to the site. The company had revenues and cash flow. Microsoft, ironically, was once among the loudest opponents to the idea of open-source.
But major improvements in software proved out this way of working. In , e-commerce was almost nonexistent in India, and even brick-and-mortar retail chains were struggling. The deal boosted the US retailer in its war with Amazon to cash in on the lucrative India market.
Back in , despite a growing middle class, most people went to their local shops. Other VCs such as Sequoia passed on Flipkart. But Accel saw something in the founders, Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal, two former Amazon employees who believed they could build the same kind of e-commerce empire in their own country. Emerging markets such as India are high risk, high reward.
Accel made its India fund semi-independent and hired mostly Indian partners with a focus on early-stage startups. This makes for an agile team that stays engaged with the standouts in the ecosystem. This is what the Accel India partners saw in the Bansals. In order to make its vision a reality, Flipkart built from scratch the infrastructure that companies in the developed world take for granted. This included a network of national logistics centers and delivery fleets. Flipkart has remained the top e-commerce site, despite numerous management changes and the eventual departure of both founders.
But early then-small Swedish VC firm and early investor Creandum walked away with a 80x return on its investment. Before investing, Creandum and Spotify met regularly to talk and consult for 18 months. Those negotiations created a deep personal connection between Creandum and Spotify, and also gave Creandum the opportunity to get an inside take on whether or not it should invest. Eventually, it did.
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