Wednesday, June 18. 2014
People Invested $1 Million In An App That Just Says ‘Yo’
"It’s not just an app that says Yo,” says Mr Arbel. “It’s a whole new means of communication"
'nuff said... are we getting to an age when every startup gets $1m just for existing? Will tomorrow see $1m for an App that says Ni! ?
As was noted by James Surowiecki* in the New Yorker, the problem is increasingly not getting started and seeded these days, its finding a way out the Darwinian stew of all the other crap ideas encouraged to start up - and this ain't the way to fix that.
* Author of Wisdom of Crowds
Friday, June 13. 2014
When the Twitter IPO was mooted, we believed that although the company has potential, one of the major risks to its future valuation was its management - see here for example, where we wrote :
6. As always though, realizing potential comes down to execution.
The fun and games this week was totally predictable (see above...), now we await part 2 of our prediction - an Eric Schmidt type character brought in to reassure investors.
Who's your money on?
Tuesday, April 29. 2014
So, Twitter posts perfectly good results that make perfectly good sense for it's business progression, yet the stock falls sharply (down 10% at one point in aftre hours trading).
Well, unfortunately for Twitter, the Bubbletime Punditocracy wants to believe its a $50 stock, despite its fundamentals (which are very well known) implyingits more a $26 stock (it's IPO price). Twitter is what it is, and hasn't changed its model dramatically since its IPO, and its track hasn't shid=fted much from then - so its hard to imagine why its value should be be double its IPO valuation - Irrational Exuberance and Irrational Analysis at the same time.
To quote that great tech stock analyst, Mr D Bowie:
"And I want to believe in the madness that calls now
Facebook had the same problem, the Punditocracy was desperate to believe it was something it wasn't, it took them a good year or so to get their business to a point where it started to resemble their wishes, and its stock price driftef ever lower from its peak of irrational exuberance until that happened. Twitter is best advised to ignore the Pundits as well and just get on getting on with it.
Wednesday, March 26. 2014
King Digital stock price fall on IPO day courtesy Yahoo Finance
It was no great surprise to us that the makers of Candy Crush, King Digital Entertainment Plc , had a less than illustrious IPO. As we wrote in February, it was high time to run for the IPO gate before it closed on them, and they have. Good luck to them, they now have $500m in the bank now, a useful cushion against the slings and arrows of outrageous future misfortune. The c £8.5bn valuation (now c $7bn) will not be quite so easy to live with, I suspect.
But nothing changes our analysis since February, this stock is a still very high risk punt, and sold at Bubbletime prices to Bubble-minded investors to boot.
Tuesday, March 25. 2014
Who needs Google Glass with these goggles...
Facebook has bought a tiny Virtual Reality company with a near-virtual product for $2bn (mainly stock) - Grauniad.
Kudos to Oculus, it started as a kickstarter project 2 years ago and has taken some serious funding. And actually, its likely that goggles or glasses of some sort will be the view-screen of choice at some point. This is clearly where Facebook see it going, as Mark Zuckerberg notes:
After games, we're going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face -- just by putting on goggles in your home.
This does point to a rather interesting tussle between Google Glasses and Facebook Goggles for nerdiest eyewear, and it also points to a new tussle for video screenware device-as-portal. But this is very early days for a virtual product for virtual reality, to go for for $2bn. Still, its all virtual money and it all works out in the Bubbletime.
Can't wait for the iGlass now.....you just know its coming.
Monday, March 3. 2014
In the 90's and 'Noughties I made many trips to San Francisco/ the Valley, and as the 90's dotcom bubble built up on I noticed two "non-stock" signals of its frothiness - house prices and occupation of the SoMa (South of Market) area by trendy bars and techie startups:
- House prices rose to the point that educated non techies couldn't afford them, so people like teachers were priced out. This is starting to happen again. (By the way, my "top of market" indicator was when teachers in SF/SV decided to sell and go and teach elsewhere/semi retire based on the huge house price gains)
So, another sign of the BubbleTime.
Of course, this time it Will Be Different....
Of course it will....
Incidentally, I recall going back in c 2003 after a 2 year absence and there was a house price tumble almost back to Palo Alto, plus SoMa was full of winos and old newspapers again....
Tuesday, February 18. 2014
A Salutary Lesson - Zynga Shares (Source: Yahoo Finance)
News out today that King, manufacturers of the current hot mobile game Candy Crush, have filed for a $5.5bn IPO. We were asked what do we think?
- Based on a growth from a few $100m revenue in 2012 to $1.9bn in 2013, and real profits of c $570bn, a valuation of $5.5bn is tame by Dot Com 2.0 standards, but....
They may be able to replace Candy Crush with a "next hit" but the Gaming ecosystem is littered with the bones of companies that didn't The music industry's stage is littered with the bones of 1 hit wonderbands. The movie industry...well, lets see what Candy Crush 2 looks like.
Friday, December 27. 2013
NASDAQ Composite Index - price since inception (Yahoo Finance)
We have watched the rise and rise (and slight wobble post Facebook IPO) of the Next Tech Bubble for the last few years (see our BubbleWatch series), and as you can see teh NASDAQ Indez (abobve) tells you fairly clearly what is going on. As the NYT reported about a month ago:
Yet interestingly, there are still Bubble Deniers - NYT again!
At about the same time, an article in Forbes argued that there were 3 reasons we are not about to witness another equity-led bubble bursting:
See the NASDAQ chart above for an alternative viewpoint to this - and would it surprise you that trading volumes are rising to near-2000 levels too? Forbes notes in the same article that more money has poured into equity mutual funds in the first 10 months of 2013 than it has since 2000, although most is washing round in international funds at the moment (as it was in the late 90's until Tech really got sexy).
And you know its on its way when the Tech Fan-Press argues that This Time its Different - as Wired did in December:
...exuberance isn’t always irrational. It seems that the kinds of companies now being backed by investors — not to mention the way that they’re run and the way the market responds to them — are far different from what we saw at the turn of the millennium.
Re Talent and so on, I recall that it's about what everyone said in 1998/9 too, but by 2000 it was all about pumping money from Wall Street to Madison Avenue and throwing money at rare skills.
And yes, I know that some giant companies were formed in the DotCom era, and we understand the function of bubbles in facilitating creative destruction - but I also know there was a huge amount of money lost by innocent people. To me its clear that we are in a run up, we haven't quite hit irrational exuberance but when you look at that NASDAQ graph it won't be long in coming unless some other investment area gets major returns.
To me though, as ValleyWag notes, you just know that if something like Kozmo.com is relaunching, the blue touchpaper has been lit. I now await WebVan to stir, and we know we're off. Get your telescopes out, 2014 watching is going to get interesting.
Saturday, September 14. 2013
From Broadstuff's Bubblewatch Dept:
Dominic Rushe over at the Grauniad asks for our thoughts on the Twitter IPO. which he summmarised in this article. To give a bit more background, we think that:
1. Twitter is far more sensibly priced than Facebook and other "Social Media darlings" like Zynga and Groupon were at float
- Twitter valuation in price per user terms is $14bn/c 240m users (assumed at IPO) = $58/user, i.e. about 50% of FB ratio at flotation
2. Compared to Google's IPO, it is very similarly valued.
- GOOG was $23bn valuation on (est) 500m users and $970m revenues,
3. It has higher future growth potential that Facebook
- 240m users to FB c 1 billion at time of IPO
4. It is more reasonably priced within its own fundamentals and lifestage than Facebook was
- (Assumed) c $0.5bn revenues, 240m users = c $2 per user, 50% of Facebook's IPO, but at 15% of valuation.
5. Twitter probably has a longer life than Facebook post IPO - there are so many directions it can still grow in, whereas you exactly knew what FB was at IPO, and you even could see the competition emerging. That is not so clear with Twitter.
6. As always though, realizing potential comes down to execution.
- The FB team are very focussed, Twitter is harder to judge - lots of change at the top over the years, we wouldn't be at all surprised if they bring in an "Eric Schmidt" figure.
7. Facebook took a year to find its IPO price, so that pricing debacle is also unlikely to be repeated with Twitter.....we hope. (Hype springs eternal, as you all know....)
In other words, by the standards of stupidly overhyped and overpriced Social Media floats so far (excepting Linked In) it is almost rational - its lower priced, with more future potential, than the most recent ones. With Twitter you only have to believe it has a similar future potential to Google at IPO, not 4x the potential of Google as as you do with FB.
Monday, May 20. 2013
Hot on the heels of the wisdom (or not) of acquiring Summly, Yahoo has now apparently also acquired Tumblr for $1.1bn. Tumblr, for those of you who don't know, is somewhere between a a blog and a microblog (a Mediblog), has revenues of $13m. So why pay $1.1 bn? The argument is the user numbers - Next Web:
With more than 300 million monthly unique visitors and 120,000 signups every day, Tumblr is one of the fastest-growing media networks in the world. Tumblr sees 900 posts per second (!) and 24 billion minutes spent on site each month.
So lets value it the old, boring way:
300 million x 12 = 3.6 billion unique visits (not necessarily different visitors of course) and 120,000 new ones a day x 360 days = c 43m new users per annum, the hope no doubt being that this will continue to grow like topsy. Lets assume that this growth gives c 1 billion users in 5 years, so we get a 50% increase PA on 50m new users, and assume we lose none, and that gives a Net Present Value of about $ 0.33 margin (at 15% IRR) to get to c $1.1 bn fully discounted free cash flow.
Or thereabouts.....we can also do it another way - by comparison:
Another Mediblog, Facebook, has an Average Revenue per user is about $1.25, and it's user base is about 1.1 billion and slowing. It is valued at $60bn in an open market. Applying Facebook's valuation to Tumblr today, with c 1/2 the user base gives us $60 bn x 1/2 user base x (0.03/1.25) ARPU = $0.75bn. Throw in a 33% uplift fir future optimism, and there's your $1.1bn
So you can believe on of two things:
(i) The Bubbletime will continue after Yahoo's acquisition, and the business will stay as good as Facebook is now, or
But of course you can - or Yahoo thinks so anyway, heck they even paid with cash, not shares!
Alternatively, one could take the opening line from Cockney Rebel's "Tumbling Down" anthem.
The refrain of which is Oh dear, look what they've done to the blues, blues, blues.....
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