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The Power of the Private Market

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Two amazing American companies went public (IPO’d) in 2004 — Google (GOOG) and Domino’s Pizza (DPZ). 

Since then, Google (now Alphabet) has become one of the largest companies in the world. Today it’s worth more than $1 trillion. Domino’s is currently valued around $15 billion.

So it might surprise you to learn that Domino’s shares have outperformed Google’s since the IPO, according to a CNBC analysis from February 2020. 

  • Domino’s return since IPO: 5,438%
  • Google return since IPO: 2,939%

Part of the answer to how Domino’s beat Google is that Domino’s paid a regular dividend. Those who reinvested the dividend and held tight did incredibly well. This is the power of compounding in action.

But it still seems odd, doesn’t it? It begins to make more sense when you look at how much the companies were valued at when they went public. 

Google’s market cap (valuation) was already large — at $23 billion — when it IPO’d. Domino’s was worth less than $1 billion when its IPO occurred. So stock market investors were able to invest when DPZ was a much smaller company.

This example highlights a big problem in our markets — hot tech companies are going public too late. Google was already a $23 billion bruiser by the time most people could invest. Investors in Google have done well, but there’s only so much that shares can increase from that high of a starting point.

The early, private investors in Google are another story altogether. It is estimated that Sequoia — a leading VC firm — made $4.2 billion from their $12.5 million investment in Google. Google’s few angel investors (who got in much earlier) probably made thousands of times their money, but it’s hard to find verified data on that.

Accessing Private Markets

Since 2004 when Google and Domino’s IPO’d, the situation in public markets has become much worse. In 2012, Facebook IPO’d with a $104 billion market cap. And last year Uber IPO’d at an $84 billion valuation. For most fast-growing companies, the amount of money available to them in private markets makes an early IPO not worth the effort.

There are some exceptions. Shopify ($1.2 billion), Twilio ($1.2 billion) and Square ($2.9 billion) went public relatively early. But examples like these are somewhat rare now. These days you almost never see hot companies IPO at valuations of $100 million or even $500 million.

This leaves most investors with few ways to access high-growth tech startups. There are no ETFs (exchange-traded funds) that give you that kind of exposure. 

In 2016, a new option to access private markets finally became available. When Regulation Crowdfunding (Reg CF) went into effect, it opened startup investing to everyone. Companies can raise up to $1.07 million a year under Reg CF. And that may soon increase to $5 million (which would be huge).

Today the equity crowdfunding industry is thriving. In 2019, total Reg CF investments rose to $137 million from $86 million in 2018. That’s an impressive 59% year-over-year increase.

Reg CF platforms have significantly increased their deal volume over recent years too. According to KingsCrowd data, there are currently 380 live Reg CF deals spread across platforms like:

380 live deals! Startup investors today have an incredible amount of companies to choose from. And in my opinion, the quality of deals is steadily increasing. Equity crowdfunding is finally becoming a key force in the world of early-stage capital formation.

This is great news for new startup investors. My advice for those just starting out is simple. Start with small investments and spread your risk out across at least 20 companies. 

Try to be selective with your investments. Look for startups with solid traction — either in revenue or active users. I recommend prioritizing traction over an attractive market. Back founders that know their industry well. Look for teams that have worked together before and found success. 

And finally, look for companies that have made a LOT of progress with money they’ve raised previously. If a company hasn’t raised any money yet but has still managed to make serious progress… Take a serious look at that “bootstrapped” deal –no matter how boring the industry is!

It’s unlikely that any one startup will meet all the criteria, so use your own judgement. You’ll get better at identifying the promising deals over time. That’s why it’s good to start with small investments in the beginning.

That’s it! Now you can go out and start combing through those 300+ deals to find the gems.

Source: https://earlyinvesting.com/power-private-market/

Crowdfunding

The Worst Way to Respond to Any Market Crash

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We all know Mondays can suck. I got a flat tire yesterday. The third one this year. No fun.

But that’s nothing compared to 33 years ago when Monday really sucked for investors.

On Monday, October 19, 1987 the stock market plunged the most on record – dropping more than 20%.

In a single day.

Why bring up this depressing memory? Because heading into the anniversary of Black Monday yesterday, many investors feared another nasty crash was imminent.

Thankfully, they were wrong. This time. But another double-digit, single-day crash is inevitable.

So how should we respond? The data is undeniable…

History Repeats, Stocks Rebound

Many stock investors are too young to remember Black Monday. Or for that matter, how the stock market responded afterwards.

Meanwhile, the rest of us just might forget. But we need to know!

You see, the funny thing about sudden selloffs is they typically trigger a kneejerk reaction from investors to sell everything to try to avoid even more losses.

Big mistake. You see, sudden selloffs are typically followed by sudden rallies. Especially on Mondays.

Consider:

  • Since the bull market began in March 2009, there have been 19 selloffs on Mondays of 2% or more for the S&P 500 Index, according to Bespoke Investment Group.
  • 15 out of 19 times, the index bounced back the very next day. By an average of 1%.
  • And 17 out of 19 times, the S&P 500 bounced back by the end of the week. By an average of about 3%.

Remember, these are only the averages.

In some instances, the S&P 500 rebounded as much as 5% the very next day and almost 9% within a week.

Rest assured, this isn’t merely a current bull market phenomenon.

As Justin Walters of Bespoke explains, “Whether you’re looking at just the current bull market or over a longer period of more than 25 years, the day and week after a big Monday decline have usually been very positive.”

Indeed! So anyone mashing the sell button after a sudden Monday sell-off actually made matters worse because they had to pay up to get back into the market.

How much they had to pay up depends on how long they waited.

Not Merely a Case of the Mondays

It’s important to note that the tendency for stocks to rebound quickly isn’t isolated to this bull market or even Mondays. It universally applies.

Again, the data is undeniable.

As you can see in the chart below, following stock market corrections, defined as a decline of 10% or more from a recent 52-week high close for a major market index, prices recover to prior levels within four months on average.

The lesson?

Freaking out and running scared into cash is never a smart response to a sudden market sell-off.

Instead, we need to control our emotions and learn to at least hold tight.

Fair warning: it takes guts. Every fiber in your body is going to scream, “Sell, sell, sell!”

Why? Because we’re hardwired to detest losses and the threat of more losses can be overwhelming.

Making matters worse, every headline is going to serve as confirmation bias of the same.

Consider the headlines plastered over the entire front page after the 1987 crash:

  • Does 1987 Equal 1929 (New York Times)
  • A Repeat of ’29? (Wall Street Journal)

Nothing like conjuring up Depression-era thoughts to freak people out of their investments, right?

Don’t fall for it, though.

In fact, armed with this data, I’m confident that after you weather a few sudden selloffs, you’ll emotionally evolve and actually rejoice at an opportunity to buy the dip, instead of freaking out about the selloff.

That’s how I responded in March 2020, along with hundreds of my readers.

In fact, I issued over a half-dozen buy recommendations in the midst of the sell-off that went on to rally 105%, 347%, even 950%, in as little as 25 days.

Bottom line: Panic selling after a double-digit market crash is the wrong move 100% of the time. Instead, our trained response should be to buy the dip. Sure, it might not always work out the very next day. But in the long-term, it does.

Ahead of the tape,
Lou Basenese
Lou Basenese

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Source: http://www.crowdability.com/article/the-worst-way-to-respond-to-any-market-crash

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Rnwl: The First Over-the-Top Insurance Platform

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When investing, your capital is at risk.

The insurance sector is expected to be one of the largest areas ripe for disruption within the financial services industry in the next few years. The value of that potential revenue opportunity? A whopping £50 billion, according to PWC.

Challengers have swept through the finance industry in recent years, but change has been slower to take place in insurance. Like their challenger counterparts, insurance companies will need to provide consumers with access to better insights for clearer decision-making, better customer service, transparent and efficient innovations and personalised offerings in order to acquire market share in a rapidly modernising space. Some companies are already doing all of these, and Rnwl is one of them

“The process of buying and managing insurance is broken – the industry is focused on selling products, not in serving customers” says founder of Rnwl and SyndicateRoom, Goncalo de Vasconcelos. “It’s only a matter of time before we look back at the traditional insurance market and wonder how we ever accepted that as the norm.”

In creating Rnwl, De Vasconcelos has a vision for the world’s very first over-the-top insurance platform. Rnwl has attracted a brilliant core team, with decades of experience in AI, machine learning and financial services to bring long overdue change to the insurance market. With the needs of the customer at its heart, Rnwl is on a mission to make it easier for consumers to manage their insurance policies, find the best possible coverage for the best price, and avoid spending hours renegotiating and renewing every year. 

As it stands, the traditional insurance market relies on a lead generation business model that is archaic and inefficient, which makes consumers’ insurance more expensive. When switching providers is a hassle, people don’t, and they pay the price for that in the long run. Rnwl shows you deals from different sources, all in one place so you can stay on top of which insurance policies are suited to you, and switch easily when it benefits you. Better yet, the platform does this searching well before you’re due to renew your policies so you know what’s coming, and it will do all the leg work for you so you don’t have to lift a finger to switch. Rnwl’s innovative insurance wallet helps you keep on track on insurance policies, which is particularly important when you care for a family, run a business and own a home, or all of the above. 

As a serial entrepreneur, Goncalo de Vasconcelos knows what he’s doing when it comes to getting a disruptive venture off the ground. He currently acts as a non-executive director of SyndicateRoom and was recently voted one of the top 10 most influential people in the UK. Inspired to do the right thing for consumers in an industry that quite frankly hasn’t kept up with the pace of innovation of the wider financial industry in recent years, de Vasconcelos is looking forward to what’s to come for both his newest entrepreneurial project, and the insurance space. Since January, the company has already made great strides, including being accepted to the FCA’s Innovation Hub, releasing its beta product and raising pre-seed capital from some of the most well-known business angels in the UK.

Rnwl’s crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs is currently over 200% funded by nearly 500 investors. Visit the campaign to join them.

Michaela Salomon

Michaela Salomon

Campaign Support Team

Source: https://www.seedrs.com/learn/blog/founder-stories/rnwl-the-first-over-the-top-insurance-platform

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Podcast Radio – 24/7 Podcasting with a Global Stage

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When investing, your capital is at risk.

You’re feeling curious, so you go on the hunt for a podcast. You spend the next hour browsing content, listening to snippets here and there. You’re eventually frustrated and no longer curious.

It’s called choice paralysis, and it happens to the best of us – especially in a day and age where there’s more content to engage with than ever before in history. 

Podcast Radio has developed a solution, by marrying radio broadcasting with podcasting. They’re on a mission to become the ‘trusted guide’ to quality content using a medium that listeners love now just as much as they always have – radio.

We sat down with founder Gerard Edwards to get the full story.

What is Podcast Radio’s mission?

We’re creating a global network of Podcast Radio stations, allowing listeners to discover new podcasts using our digital broadcast radio channels and our online tools such as mobile apps, website and smart-speakers.

How did the idea for the company first come about, and what was the first course of action to bring it to market?

Podcast Radio was created as a Bootstrap, which I initially incorporated myself as founder.

I had previously designed two UK radio stations from scratch, and also managed the funding, budgeting, programming and staffing of each. After creating my own early side-hustle version of a podcasting company, I realised there was a huge hole in the podcasting market for discovering new content, as well as a missing link for the marketing of podcasts.

I spent over a year researching and developing the idea, as well as connecting with networks of podcasters. The final pre-market stage was negotiating transmission contracts, developing our own audio-tech platforms (app, website, smartspeaker), and flicking the ‘on’ switch on the 11th February 2020.

How has your professional experience, and that of your team, helped the company achieve growth?

After connecting with a Fellow of the UK’s Radio Academy (Paul Chantler), we worked on the design of the platform. We also became well connected with the fast-paced podcast ecosystem after Podcast Radio’s launch was announced at the International RAIN conference in London (bringing together global specialists in radio and streaming audio).

Further team members, who were brought in early, had plenty of success and experience in audio-technology, podcasting and the launching of broadcast channels. We snatched up incredible staff members who range from Hall of Famers in US broadcasting to a UK Head of Sales who has sold and excelled in various digital platforms, including both visual and audio.

Personally, I have overseen two broadcast channel launches, managed the programming and growth of various radio stations, and have experience as a top 10 ranked podcaster in the UK Apple rankings. This career history has placed me in the perfect position to drive the platform forward, but has also given me the contacts to ensure we have built a fantastic team from the very start.

What problem is Podcast Radio trying to solve for consumers?

Our solution to the podcasting discoverability problem is twofold.

Firstly, listeners trying to discover their next podcast are frustrated by the huge pool of podcasting content. That is, there are simply too many podcasts to choose from, and a near impossible task of sampling them in their audio format. Yet we know that there is an insatiable demand for podcast content.

Secondly, Podcasters are feeling frustrated at the lack of marketing cut-through, especially in making their content available to new listeners. This goes for both independent podcasts and full-blown networks (think of Spotify and Amazon’s Audible now creating new, original content).

Podcasting has seen incredible growth and listener demand, but the low cost of entry has seen an over-saturation of podcast content. Podcast Radio is the world’s only radio-driven promotional tool for the global podcasting industry.

Are there any competitors in this space? How does Podcast Radio differentiate?

When it comes to ‘finding’ a new podcast to listen to, listeners have relied on word-of-mouth from friends and family, or read written reviews of podcasts.

Before Podcast Radio, there had been no marketing platform with the ability to broadcast podcasts in mass media format. Further, our platform allows listeners to sample a 24/7 curated linear platform in the medium podcasts were designed to be sampled: audio.

Where traditional radio may have seen podcasting as a competitor, our independent Podcast Radio platform has been able to harness the strengths of both the radio and the podcast industries, allowing them to complement one another.

Radio brings mass-media marketing reach to podcasting, while podcasting brings an ever-increasing pool of fantastic speech audio content.

Who are Podcast Radio’s target listeners and how do you reach them?

Absolutely every single podcast listener in the English-speaking world can use and engage with Podcast Radio’s platforms. No other audio-based podcasting product has a potential broadcast reach of over 15 million adults in the UK alone, while the platform is also available globally via app, website, smart-speaker integration, and our own unique online search/discovery tool.

Any listener who wants to try podcast listening for the first time, or the many millions of listeners already consuming them weekly in the UK, US, Canada and Australia, can use Podcast Radio for free, any time they like, 24/7.

We have been very pleased with the amount of early and engaged monthly active users of Podcast Radio, from all over the world. Our broadcast channels have already expanded to include Greater London, Surrey, Manchester and Glasgow. Our marketing plans for 2021 are set to build on this incredible first year of operation.

What is next in the pipeline for the business, in terms of partnerships, product releases etc.?

Where do I start! We already have several international content partnerships ready for announcement in the next quarter, as well as original content to be launched, along with an ad-technology partnership that will allow us to open several more revenue streams.

We are in discussion with digital broadcast networks overseas that will see our first international expansions, and we have a team developing further Podcast Radio channels to introduce across our own subscription-led tech platform.

But most importantly perhaps, we are always negotiating further UK-wide expansion to our broadcast reach city-by-city, to add to our potential reach of 15 million adults in London, Surrey, Manchester, Glasgow.

What has been the greatest success so far?

Although it can often be overlooked, I would argue that our greatest success to date has been the time spent effectively in research and development pre-launch. This hard work and early team-building allowed us to ensure no other company could catch up any time soon.

Through the building of our intercontinental network of podcasters, our vast relationships with media partners, our transmission contracts, licence applications, and successful execution and expansion has made Podcast Radio a truly unique platform that is now tackling the global podcast discoverability problem.

What’s your favourite podcast?

My favourite podcast is Alan Alda’s Clear and Vivid podcast. This podcast merges science, world issues and celebrity status in one place. The podcast is based around exploring, explaining and defining what it means to communicate. The best part: Alan was happy to connect with Podcast Radio and we now carry many of his incredible episodes, introducing them to a brand new audience via our own platform.

Give it a listen.

What’s one piece of key advice you’d give to an entrepreneur in the media space?

Surround yourself early with team-members who both inspire you and challenge you.

When you’re not bringing content to audiences around the UK, what are you doing?

For sanity and health, I make sure I run, walk or exercise – whilst listening to podcasts! In my spare time, I like to read books and articles on the human mind, space and history. However, I always make time to watch my beloved Everton Football Club and also spend time with nieces and nephews when I get the chance.

Podcast Radio’s campaign is closing soon. To find out more, check out the pitch now.

Michaela Salomon

Michaela Salomon

Campaign Support Team

Source: https://www.seedrs.com/learn/blog/founder-stories/podcast-radio-24-7-podcasting-with-a-global-stage

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