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Why Are Investors And Wall Street Picking Up Unprofitable IPOs?

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The IPO market has always been interesting. IPO investors capitalize on high growth companies and might strike a fortune in the long-run if they stay invested in successful companies.

And they’re the ultimate cash-out play for VC investors that came in early. But even getting in early in the IPO stage can be insanely lucrative.

Example.

Facebook [FB] debuted on the stock exchange in May 2012 at $38 per share. The stock reached an all-time high of $218.62 in July this year, providing investors with a return of 475% in just over six years.

But few companies are as successful as Facebook. The social media giant had already reported a net income of $1B in 2010. Last year, the net income rose close to $16B.

That said, the trend this year seen an overwhelmingly large number of private unprofitable company hit Wall Street to major fanfare.

Over 80% of IPOs unprofitable

According to this report from the Wall Street Journal, 83% of IPOs listed in the United States in 2018 have lost money in the 12 months leading to their listing.

This number is even higher compared to the dot-com bubble, where 81% of IPO listing firms were unprofitable.

There are some investors like Kevin Landis, the chief investment officer from Firsthand Capital Management, who are wary about investing in loss-making companies. “The lesson from 2000 is don’t chase what everyone else is chasing,” he’s said.

Translation: Don’t believe the hype. But is he right?

These IPOs have generated significant returns

The report highlights that investors have been rewarded for pumping money into loss-making IPOs this year. The stock prices of money-losing firms in the United States have risen by an average of 36% this year.

Surprisingly, this is higher than the average stock returns of 32% for profitable IPOs this year. Compare this with the 10% returns of the S&P 500 ETF [SPY] and you know that the difference is huge.

Exponential returns by IPOs

Investing in companies is not always about profitability. Sure, everyone would like to strike gold by getting an opportunity to invest in a high growth and profitable company like Facebook.

Amazon [AMZN] which is the second largest company as per market cap, reported losses several years post its IPO. Amazon now consistently reports profits after it expanded into other business segments such as Cloud Services.

So what is it that attracts investors to these stocks? Investors are buoyed with the total available market opportunity of certain companies. They value revenue growth over net income and continue to pump in capital.

Investors hope that companies will turn profitable over the long run. Spotify [SPOT] was listed in April 2018. The stock reached an all-time high of $198.99, gaining over 33%. Investors believe the growth in music streaming to drive company revenue over the next few years.

The cannabis market is also estimated to reach $32B in 2020, up from $9.5B in 2017. This has driven the stock price of Tilray Inc. [TLRY] by 550% in less than three months. Eventbrite [EB] had a price and of $21 to $23 per share and the stock rose 60% higher on its first trading day.

Not every bet is successful

There is, however, a serious downside for investors of these companies in case it fails to meet analyst and investor forecasts. Snap [SNAP] has fallen close to 47% this year driven by a declining user growth.

The loss-making IPOs are generally overvalued due to optimistic assumptions and come crashing down if they fail to deliver. GoPro [GPRO] and Fitbit [FIT] are two such companies that have burnt significant investor wealth.

The last time investors were this optimistic about loss-making tech companies, it ended in a horrific bloodbath with the dot-com bubble. Let’s hope Wall Street is proved right this time around.

Money

CHART: How Blockchain Powers Bitcoin

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Blockchain, Bitcoin. Bitcoin, blockchain.

The two terms go hand in hand—and have become almost ubiquitous with this year’s insane rise (and fall) of Bitcoin.

But what does it all really mean? How does it come together? In this week’s chart, our friends at CB Insights break down exactly how blockchain powers Bitcoin.

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This Mogul Became America’s 1st Black Billion-Dollar Businesswoman

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Sheila Johnson.

Where to start?

She’s the first black billion-dollar businesswoman. Before Oprah Winfrey.

She started as a TV executive, founding Black Entertainment Television (BET), the first TV network targeting African Americans. She then became a real estate mogul.

Oh, she also owns a stake in three major sports franchises, the NBA Wizards, NHL Capitals and the WNBA Mystics, the African American, period, to boast that claim.

In honor of Black History Month, let’s dive into her remarkable career.

FAST FACTS:

  • Born Sheila Crump in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Johnson co-founded BET in 1979 with then-husband Robert Johnson. The couple sold it to Viacom in 2000 for $2.9B
  • Sheila Crump Johnson became the first African American woman on the Forbes’ Billionaire list in 2000—beating Oprah Winfrey to the distinction.
  • Per Forbes, Johnson has an $820M net worth as of 2019

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Foray into real estate…

After closing the sale to Viacom, Robert and Sheila pocketed around $1.5B each. Johnson used that windfall as seed money to build a hospitality real estate empire in 2005.

“There’s a disparity in paychecks between whites and blacks,” she told the Wall Street Journal. “I will never forget that.”

As CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts, Sheila controls a spectacular portfolio of six luxury hotels in Florida, Virginia and South Carolina. And she’s built it from the ground up—literally—in her own spirit.

“I’ve been to many hotels, not only in the US, but all over the world,” she told Forbes last year. “And I wanted to find something that was going to really make Salamander stand out beyond all of these hotels.”

So what does that mean?

“You have to understand, there are a lot of people, investment companies, with very deep pockets,” she says. “They can do it, but they don’t have the experiences that we’re able to bring. I am constantly trying to find a way to help Salamander Resort & Spa stand out head over heels above any other hotel — not only in the area, but in the nation.

“I want them to leave that resort wanting to come back and not just say, ‘I’ll be back in six months.’ I want them to come back all the time.”

And so far it’s worked. In fact, on Forbes Travel Guide’s 61st list of Star-Rated hotels, Johnson’s Salamander Resort & Spa outside of Washington, DC earned a Five-Star distinction.

Image Credit: Salamander Resort & Spa

Forbes: “Everything [she] touches turns to gold.”

That’s a real quote. From Forbes. Last year. It’s also true.

BET? Billion-dollar exit. Washington Capitals? Stanley Cup.

And Roma. Won 10 Oscars. Who showed it before a single soul started caring? Johnson’s Middleburg Film Festival. (Which, by the way, has 32 films and counting in Academy Award contention.)

Remember her golf resort at Innisbrook? Oh, yeah. Hosts the Valspar Championship, one of the PGA calendar’s most-anticipated tournaments.

Becoming a billionaire comes with a new level of clout as well. “When you don’t have money, you’re not invited to special events; you really don’t matter,” she told WSJ. “It’s a society thing.”

So instead, she’s turned to giving back. Her Sheila Johnson Fellowship’s paid for more then 40 scholarships at Harvard University for students who otherwise wouldn’t afford to attend.

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Breaking glass ceilings. 

There’s an alarming statistic in business and diversity—especially as it pertains to women. According to research by investor Richard Kerby, 18% of all VCs are women—and only 3% are black. In addition, less than 50 black women ever have raised $1M in funding.

“When I got started,” Johnson says, “I couldn’t get a loan. I had to use my own money to get Salamander Resort and Spa.”

She explained to WSJ last year that men can go to any bank with a bank proposal. And no matter how “wacky” the idea is, she said, “they’re going to get the financing. Women do not have that ability.”

Johnson’s taken it upon herself to do something about that, becoming one of the founding partners of WE Capital, an investment firm that invests in female entrepreneurs.

“I started out in a very unique position where I had my own capital to be able to get started,” she says. “But there have got to be banks and investors that believe in helping women who want to be entrepreneurs in the hospitality business.

“And it’s just really, really important that they really take a look at this.”

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Money

VIDEO: How Far Does $150K A Year Get You In New York City?

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Source: HuffPost

No matter what metric or list you look at, it goes without saying: New York City is one of the most expensive places in the world to live in.

In this video, CNBC spoke to a Millennial who runs her own brand consulting agency and wants to #WealthHACK her way to retirement by 40.

She makes $150K a year. But how far does that actually get her? Check it out.

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