By Chris Berry (@cberry1)
For a PDF of this note, please click here.
Ed. Note: This piece was originally submitted to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence in late August 2016 which may explain why some of the data is off. It was recently officially published in their magazine which is why I am now putting it on this site.
“Getting to profitability is the only way to build a sustainable business…”
-UBER CEO Travis Kalanick in response to UBER’s merger with Didi Chuxing
As convergence across industries continues apace and business models evolve, Mr. Kalanick’s statement above is a reminder to investors in early stage companies. As startups across various industries attain unicorn status – a valuation of at least USD $1 billion - the argument around growth at all costs versus profitability has become louder. There are over 170 unicorns in existence today, so the hunt for the “next big thing” is indeed on. With an abundance of cheap capital looking for yield, many investors appear to have set aside a preference for profitability in favor of parabolic growth. Here are the 20 largest unicorns (all privately held):
By Chris Berry (@cberry1)
For a PDF version of this note, please click here.
This note will be shorter than usual as my travel schedule seems to have gotten the best of me. I recently returned from Costa Rica and am off to Europe tomorrow with Zimtu Capital to join them in Frankfurt (Nov 6th), Munich (Nov 8th), Zurich (Nov 10th), and Geneva (Nov 12th) as a keynote speaker on their annual bus tour. If you’d like to attend any of the presentations (numerous TSXV and CSX companies will be presenting as well) please let me know and I can get your name on the invite list.
The recent swoon in the metals markets likely has all of us questioning our faith and resolve. Personally, I see no reason why gold and silver, in particular, can’t go much lower and stay there indefinitely. Ultimately, supply and demand always equilibrate, but it can be painful waiting for this to happen. The perception of increasing economic strength in the US with a recent 3.5% GDP growth print plus continued US Dollar strength are outweighing the continued reports of gold and silver consumption in the Emerging World.
By Chris Berry
There are convincing arguments to be made for both embracing and shunning the junior sector at this point in the cycle. At risk of flip-flopping, our take is more nuanced, but throwing the “baby out with the bathwater” at this stage is an unwise move.
I have said since Q4 2013 that I believe most commodity markets have finally bottomed. This does not mean that we have turned the corner and the commodity super cycle will pick up where it left off. That said, I think it’s worth examining the forces that brought us to this point and determining how to navigate in the current market environment.
A Band Aid on an Amputation
Recent attempts by global central banks to “fix” the global economy have clearly failed. One wonders if they can succeed in this task given their present set of tools. Flooding the global economy with excess liquidity thanks in part to a low (or zero) interest rate environment has only masked the challenges we face.
By Dr. Mike Berry
Chris and I have spent several months redefining our approach to the natural resource, life science, and high tech discovery markets. Chris is focusing on Energy Metals and has honed his attention to portfolio trading strategies across the entire value chain. We believe that we are still in the midst of an economy that has not, and will not, achieve escape (growth) velocity for many months or possibly several years.
Given the Fed’s money printing proclivities we should be seeing significant and sustainable economic growth. That is not yet the case. The Fed, through the FOMC, is now walking on egg shells. Members of the FOMC are as divisive on the Hawk / Dove spectrum as ever. The Fed’s goals are constantly being redefined.