Email of the day
Comment of the Day

September 24 2013

Commentary by David Fuller

Email of the day

On a 'technology bubble'
"I was recently in San Francisco and heard from people on the ground that technology is in a bubble about to pop! This is based on the high level of angel investment from a high number of sources into start-up companies and hence people are drawing parallels with the tech bubble bursting in '01.

"Further today I came across this on the internet seemingly making this type of Angel Investing more accessible:

'"On September 23, 2013 (that's today), the world of start-up financing changes forever. It's a truly historic moment.

'"Previously, I couldn't publicly share deals with you. Now, thanks to an unprecedented legal change, I can offer a portion of my start-up investments to any of you who qualify as "accredited investors."

"Will this further increase the rate of tech innovation or is there a potential bubble here? I would, as always, be interested in your opinion.

"Also, despite the talk of a bubble and high risk etc I would be interested in Angel Investing. If you happen to have information (I'm assuming I need to visit a solicitor?) on how I could qualify for Angel Investing in the US while I am from Ireland it would also be appreciated (specifically I am interested in a group scheme but must be an accredited investor as per the quote above)?

"FYI.. my own opinion (influenced by FM) on the above, as I argued back to these doomsday forecasters, is the trend (NDX 100) is not overextended/ is on a consistent uptrend so I am holding on to my spread bet there. This frenzied hype may be concentrated in the world's no. 1 tech hub and there is plenty of global demand for new technologies."

David Fuller's view My recollection of the technology bubble at the end of the last century and which burst in 2000 is that a number of companies floated had no earnings and no prospect of earnings for several years, not least because they had little in the way of products and minimal business plans. Most of them disappeared. There were also tech companies which had promising products and good business plans but they also crashed because they had no earnings and therefore infinity multiples at the time. Many of these recovered a number of years later and did very well.

I do not think that today's environment for technology companies is anything like the late 1990s, when it was fashionable to say that the 'New Economy' of technology was vastly more exciting and profitable (it wasn't) than the boring 'Old Economy' of everything else. That period also coincided with the end of the last secular bull market for global stock markets.

There will be bubble conditions in technology and other sectors from time to time and shares certainly become overvalued when persistent uptrends accelerate way above their 200-day moving averages, best viewed on weekly charts. However, I do not think this is a serious problem today, although I had not previously heard of the widening pitch for 'Angel Investing' in tech that you report above. The two paragraphs that you quoted, shown in italics above, sound spivvy to me and I would be wary.

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