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Scott lasky investing

· 03.06.2022

scott lasky investing

Bonnie Investment Group · Principal · David Lasky · Principal · Scott Inbinder · Managing Director, Investments · Jon Moyer · Keep in touch with our news and. Scott Lasky, CFP™. ​. Lionshead Wealth Management, LLC is an investment adviser in New York. Lionshead Wealth Management, LLC is registered with the. The Investing Experience You've Been Waiting for. Pursue Your Goals Today. NON INVESTING AMPLIFIER DISCUSSION APPLE Build No the instructions December 31, yellow eyes these apps. Of them just want no direct the first statement in IPv Latest command with dnf :. What are from the.

Kramlich and NEA saw this when they flew over to China for due diligence in This marked a milestone for the Chinese technology market — and for early investor Sinovation Ventures , which saw up to 40x returns on its investments in the app.

Having missed successes like Groupon in the US, investors will go hunting for a perfect copy overseas. These overseas investors tend to miss the local nuance around what it takes to make a product sticky and successful. Meitu rode in the very unique slipstream of two huge forces in Chinese culture. First, there was mobile. Right around the launch of the Meitu mobile app, smartphone usage in China started to grow exponentially. That gave the app an organic engine for growth.

Second, there was a growing obsession with beauty. Around the time Meitu launched, China had a very low plastic surgery procedure per capita rate compared to its neighbors. By , 7M Chinese people were traveling outside the country to get work done. Investor funding helped Meitu to expand on the back of photo retouching. They routinely fill the leaderboard in the Chinese app store. There are significant users bases spanning several countries in Asia, including China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, and Thailand.

The lesson here is to look at local markets and understand what will make a certain product sticky. Copycat companies only understand the idea for the company — context-specific companies can actually nail the execution. With both Meitu and Semiconductor Manufacturing International, we saw context-specific companies that grew fast amidst bigger macroeconomic shifts in China.

Whether it was opening up to foreign investment or the growth of smartphones, these companies rode larger waves to success. Riding big waves is how many of the biggest companies on this list got to where they are. In , the entire market for internet startups suffered in the dot-com crash. It would have taken a lot of confidence in the underlying technology to stay with the company, but for the VC firms that had it, staying on meant a huge return.

It took real conviction in the potential of Google to get Kleiner and Sequoia through the market turmoil that came between initial investment and IPO. Kleiner invested in Google in and the company would launch its initial offering in During that time, the Nasdaq index reached peak height and then fell sharply. But ultimately, Doerr chose to stick around, and instead convinced Page and Brin they needed a CEO — by asking if he could introduce them to successful CEOs to understand what the job demanded.

In later years, founders of other startups began rebelling against getting replaced by professional CEOs and executives. But it was critical that Doerr convinced two incredibly independent founders to bring in an experienced hand.

Investors like Doerr at Kleiner Perkins invest in theses. These principles have also been particularly important to Union Square Ventures in many of its investments. USV beat out four other VC firms for the opportunity to invest largely because of its investment thesis.

And, importantly, they would write about it publicly. The company had about , active users and a growing reputation as one of the most unique social networks out there. Presidential candidate John Edwards was tweeting from the campaign trail, and there were fake Bill Clinton and Darth Vader accounts. Local police stations and fire stations were tweeting. But the service kept on buckling under the strain. The screen became well-known as a sign that Twitter was having serious scaling problems.

The Twitter team needed to raise money to hire engineers and fix their infrastructure. Since they were in agreement on the central thesis, they could also agree that both revenue, and a business model, could be figured out later. The capital we are investing will go to making Twitter a better, more reliable and robust service. Many VCs had already pulled out of potential deals into Twitter, citing the lack of revenue and lack of any plan to get to revenue.

Negotiations for a possible acquisition by Yahoo! From Hatching Twitter:. While Twitter confused Yahoo! The firm made that abundantly clear on its blog, and when Twitter wanted to raise money, it came knocking. For USV, it helps the firm find companies that the investors believe are growing along successful trajectories.

Zynga — and its historically massive IPO — is the perfect case in point. He believed the company could quickly scale the game based on the network effects of existing social platforms. But the most important thing is to plug into the APIs of the various social networks so that you can easily find out which of your friends are online and ready to play with you.

Doing both well is hard and to date, no company other than Zynga Game Network has done that with multiple games on multiple networks. Zynga was in a good position to scale up its network by using data on consumer behavior to increase user engagement. Notably, Zynga pioneered event-based analytics to innovate and add sticky features and mechanics to its games. It also built its own internal analytics platform called ZTrack to do the heavy-duty analysis.

In addition, it created models for analyzing the performance of games and features before they launched, so that it could use the behavioral data it gathered during gameplay to begin iterating immediately. Since many Zynga games are free-to-play and involve the purchase of virtual goods with real money, it was incredibly important for the company to figure out what game events and features users would pay to gain access to.

It figured this out early by analyzing user data. This helped it to rapidly grow its revenue from virtual goods. Zynga could echo the growth of Facebook and build a large, engaged network of its own. TechCrunch reported that Zynga had 1. This is when other companies and investors started paying attention. USV contributed again in this round. But its decision to invest in a later round with Lending Club provides a model for how a thesis-driven firm must sometimes rewrite its own rulebook.

At the time of its exit, Lending Club had amassed many prominent backers. USV had been aware of Lending Club since it was first founded. Investors could come on Lending Club and lend out money, collecting on the interest, while borrowers could get a loan at a lower interest rate than they would from a bank. It were interested in the idea of peer-to-peer lending, but initially, chose not to invest in the company.

The service only seemed to be attracting risky borrowers. Lenders were losing money. It also opened the door for real growth for Lending Club. In , Fred Wilson and his team decided to invest. Its investors started to see far better returns. Usage started to grow. Suddenly, there were real network effects to Lending Club. Large networks of engaged users, differentiated through user experience, and defensible through network effects. It would be very much worth the premium to get in.

Recently, USV invested in other marketplace lenders by backing a new credit startup called Upgrade. By the time it invested in , it knew it was making an investment that it had conviction about. The firmness of conviction may sound like a hard-to-quantify feeling, and it is. Conviction helps investors to lean in, and in turn gives more support to growing companies. In fact, investor conviction was essential to fueling another company on our list — Genentech.

Through his relentless effort to make Genentech a success, Perkins himself created a new mold for the entrepreneurial venture capitalist. With no expertise in the subject himself, Perkins had to teach himself the basics. Then he had to vet and doggedly nurture one of the most unusual companies to ever hit Silicon Valley. All along, he considered it highly likely the investment would be a total loss for the firm.

Today, there is no such skepticism. And the wider biotech sector drives hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue every year. Perkins saw market potential for an emerging scientific field. And instead of relying on validation from other investors or companies, Perkins proactively sought out scientific advice from specialized researchers and used that to inform his investment decisions.

Both believed the new technology of recombinant DNA could be used in a mass-market therapy. But common scientific and business opinion at this time said this technology was 10 to 15 years away. After living on unemployment and a shoestring for a few months, they sought out investment capital.

According to an article from the Wharton School, Perkins did his research before making what might have seemed like a crackpot investment. He identified two technical questions that he felt underpinned the potential success of the company. That began a long history between Perkins and Genentech. The New York Times reports that he has called Genentech his favorite investment.

Perkins was known as a pioneer in the movement for VCs to take larger hands-on management roles in their portfolio companies. Unless, that is, the entrepreneurs involved can make their biotech company look like a software startup. Stemcentrx also saw investment from a variety of other investors, many of whom like Founders Fund tend not to invest in biotech — among them Elon Musk and Sequoia Capital.

For Founders Fund , however, this was one of the biggest investments the fund had ever made in a single company. Biotech is a notoriously risky industry, arguably more so than software. In software, code is always broken for a reason. If you figure out the error, you can make it work again. You can put out a minimal viable product of most any software product after a few months and start iterating based on customer feedback.

In biotech, you get one shot to make your product work, and you can never fully eliminate the risk that it will simply fail in clinical trials. In , a paper in Oral Oncology had to be retracted after it was discovered that the widely used line of cancer cells in the study had been entirely contaminated by HeLa cells. All around the world, trials have had to be retracted and retraced after discovering contamination in the cancer cells being used for experiments.

For a VC who invests primarily in software, this kind of randomness presents a massive risk. A software startup relies only on code deterministic, clear and developing an audience. Over the long term, it can provide unmatched returns on capital.

So approaching it analytically, the question is how do you discount [the risk of failure at each step]. They are just made-up numbers. And our feeling with many biotechs is that people understate these probabilities. And even if just one of these steps is one in 10, you are really screwed. Still not anywhere near perfect — but better. The key, for Founders Fund, was seeing that Stemcentrx was devoted to reducing contingencies. He needed someone with experience to explain whether what Stemcentrx was doing could really be a success.

When he did, they came back asking if they could invest in the company. Founders Fund had started out with the same trepidations about biotech that every other investor in Silicon Valley had. It was able to overcome those trepidations by finding a biotech company that acted as if it was a Silicon Valley startup.

It went hunting for de-risked investments in a land full of risk — and it found one. With Workday, Greylock Partners was about as far from a hands-off partner as you could have. The confluence between company and VC was strong in this case. Workday co-founder Aneel Bhusri, who was also a senior partner at Greylock, had noticed a huge transformation emerging in consumer technology. He started Workday, in part, as a bet on the idea that the same transformation would be coming to enterprise technology.

There were so many options for software out there and with the cloud, virtually limitless possibilities that the user experience had to be good. In human resources and finance, you see many intra-organization users needing to access their tools at key points. They need to check their benefits at the end of the year. They need to update their personal information when they move. Since everyone needs to do these things, Bhusri realized, it should be simpler.

The same way that products like Facebook and Amazon made previously complicated processes like communicating with friends or buying products off the web simple, Workday would make these HR processes simple. It was a thesis bolstered by several high-profile B2C investments that Greylock made in the years leading up to the Workday.

Previously, Greylock had focused its investments on companies building core internet infrastructure and B2B companies. It invested in companies innovating on semiconductor design, building out broadband networks, and the sort. Then came , and the consumer internet was in full swing. Friendster was fighting MySpace for social network supremacy.

The press was obsessed. It invested in Facebook, which raised its Series B in April Each of these companies built products that led with easy to use and clean user interfaces. People would use a site that looked like Facebook at work if you told them it was for work. The key to adoption was making something people wanted to use. Copying business models of successful US startups and an aggressive operational style helped Rocket Internet build successful internet companies — from Zalando to FoodPanda — and create millions in revenue.

The company had failed to impress public market investors and convince them of its ability to create winners in the future. Rocket Internet reported the close of its first equity funding in , 6 years after it was founded by Samwer and his two brothers in Berlin. Qudian capitalized on lack of regulation in the emerging Chinese alternative lending space to dominate market share and was quick to give returns to its private investors by way of an IPO.

The listing was oversubscribed and was a particularly lucrative exit for its then 34 year-old CEO, Min Luo, who owned about a fifth of the company before it went public. Founded in , Qudian started as an e-commerce shopping site targeted towards university students and young professionals, enabling them to borrow money to buy goods and pay back the loans in monthly installments. The company launched with backing from various China-based angel investors. Within 10 months, Qudian raised three rounds of funding from BlueRun Ventures and other investors.

In an attempt to diversify sources of revenue amidst looming regulatory threat to its core offering , Qudian launched its auto financing business in November , known as Dabai Auto. The company established off-line showrooms in shopping districts across China by the end of January , and leased out over 4, cars as of March 10th. The biggest backers like Guosheng Financial and Kunlun have sold a nominal stake during the IPO and Guosheng has even talked of the price drop as an opportunity to increase its stake in Qudian.

Secrecy, a stealthy drug development, and fund-raising history helped Acerta Pharma become a huge multibillion-dollar pharma exit. The company began operations in , aiming to deliver novel targeted therapies to patients with cancer. Among its financings, the company raised a Series B round from T. Rowe Price. This funding was also raised in much secrecy, with no press release.

Part of keeping the news under wraps was that an incumbent company, Pharmacyclics , had a product that Acerta was aiming to disrupt. This approval was considered especially important for adults with mantle cell lymphoma, a type of cancer that is often diagnosed at a later stage and has a high relapse rate. Nexon is known for pioneering a play-for-free business model in which gamers only pay for virtual in-game goods, which become crucial to their progress in the game. Nexon began operations in out of Seoul, South Korea, but later moved its headquarters to Tokyo.

Nexon had already established its position as an independent game publisher before social media platforms took off in its core geographic markets of Japan, South Korea, and China. They delay going public and end up floundering because they are unable to tighten up operations enough to turn a profit. Eventually, investors sour on them. But Zalando is the story of a company that raised hundreds of millions of dollars through equity and secondary share sales before IPO, and still succeeded.

Rocket Internet backed the e-commerce platform in , the same year it launched. Germany-based Zalando was launched with an initial focus on footwear, but has since expanded to apparel. Robert Gentz and David Schneider launched Zalando after a failed attempt at starting a social media platform for students in Latin America, followed by a brief stint working under the Samwer brothers. Rocket Internet took a majority stake in the startup after a seed round financing in late , where it co-invested with frequent collaborator Holtzbrinck Ventures.

Zalando had been growing fast, but had yet to show an annual operating profit. Zalando and Rocket Internet both went public in the same week in October , which was one of the biggest months ever for German tech startups, the Samwer brothers, and Kinnevik. Major shareholders like Kinnevik and others entered in the customary day lockup period, which prohibited it from selling its stake in the public markets for days from the first trading day. Even as the threat of Amazon stealing market share seems likely, Zalando has performed well in its 3.

It was the biggest IPO of a Chinese tech company in Unlike other ride-hailing services, Ucar uses its own professional vehicles and drivers. At the time of this deal, Ucar was already covering 60 cities, largely enabled by its partnership with CAR Inc. CAR Inc. Previous backers CAR Inc. Alibaba already had stakes in Uber and Didi Kuaidi formed by the merger of car-hailing rivals Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache in China , so this investment was done without much media coverage.

The New York-based private equity firm has participated in massive funding rounds in Asia tech in the last few years. Even after Uber conceded in the Chinese market by merging its China operations with rival Didi Chuxing, Ucar continues to struggle to gain market share. Ucar has been supported largely by its strategic partner CAR Inc. This was no doubt an attractive prospect to investors.

In an era where fast growth was prioritized above all else, Webvan rolled out beyond its home in the San Francisco Bay Area to cities such as Seattle, Chicago, and Atlanta, with an ultimate city expansion plan. Webvan was founded by Louis Borders ironically the founder of defunct bookstore chain Borders. Given the unique perils of operating in the grocery business, one marked by excessively low margins, a fundamental understanding of pricing, demand, delivery costs, and profitability is critical to long-term success.

This put Webvan into a position where it was difficult to become profitable, since it essentially was promising lower prices despite the high cost it took to fulfill and deliver each order. This set up an even higher barrier to profitably than the company already faced. However, when the market crashed in , Webvan lost its ability to raise more capital. Given the inability of the company to operate profitability on its own, it was forced to file for bankruptcy and ceased operations.

For example, Instacart took a different approach than Webvan in its first few years of operation. While Instacart brought in a much smaller amount of revenue, it ran a much leaner business reliant on fewer full-time employees, relying mostly on contracted delivery drivers.

Given the continued high cost and complexity of logistics, it remains important for grocery delivery providers to understand the unit economics of their businesses, and potential routes to profitability, before recklessly expanding. However, as logistics and warehouse innovation continue to modernize, such as with the advent of robotic micro-fulfillment startups like Fabric , providing cheap grocery delivery may become a more realistic proposition going forward.

Scott Smith a university professor in The startup initially focused on selling to academics, beginning with business schools. The father and son duo worked out of their family basement, running operations, prospecting, and building the company from the ground up. He later returned to Qualtrics. The company was known for rejecting investment offers, and remained bootstrapped for over a decade.

Mercari operates a booming online, app-based flea market. It also meant early investor United Inc. Yamada came up with the idea for the Mercari flea market app after traveling the world and realizing that even the poorest people carried cell phones. Mercari quickly grew to dominate the second-hand sales market in Japan, but now must look to expand internationally. Local investors — most of them corporations like United — understood that he had something special.

There were few notable exits and most talent was flocking to safe corporate jobs. Investors today are much more tuned into the startup landscape in Japan. As startup fever catches, less obvious places can turn out to be winners. Post-Mercari Japan is looking like just that. NIO has had some hiccups, but managed to hit 10, cars shipped in the second half of In comparison, Tesla sold about 14, cars in China in the first 9 months of the same year.

The move signaled that Tencent is looking to cash in on a likely bonanza when electric cars go mainstream. Playing both sides of the street ensures it will hold significant market share whether Tesla or the Chinese brand becomes the top seller. While not well known in the US, NIO is poised to be a leader in China, where the growing middle class is seeking fuel efficient transportation.

Tesla, for its part, is building a plant in China, and expected to ramp up production. It remains to be seen whether Chinese consumers will favor the more established Tesla brand. In addition to its investments in the two automakers, Tencent received its own license from the Chinese government to test an autonomous vehicle in the city of Shenzhen.

When an industry is in its infancy, smart investors hedge their bets. Tencent has done just that, taking a major stake in its competitors as well as backing its own brand. In the early days of an industry set to explode, covering all bases can be a winning strategy, especially for investors with deep pockets. Meituan Dianping has grown into a broad-based services provider, dealing in everything from movie tickets to restaurant reservations.

Source: GGV Capital. Meituan started out as a Groupon imitator, but eventually, it emerged as one of the few Chinese deal-of-the-day sites there were around 2, voucher sites in China at the time with the revenue and user base to grow beyond that. Today, it is a broad-based services provider, dealing in everything from movie tickets to restaurant reservations. In the tech community of China, the successful Meituan Dianping IPO was a sign that Chinese tech IPOs were on the rebound, after some pessimism surrounding the public offerings of Xiaomi and Nio, which both priced around the bottom of their range.

In that IPO, the largest backer of the company, Morningside Ventures, made back more than 40x its investment. It was the most successful investment ever for the firm, led by Chinese venture capitalist Liu Qin, who met the founder of Xiaomi Lei Jun when he was working at Kingsoft in They co-invested in UCWeb, a deal in which they profited when the company sold to Alibaba. Source: CNBC. When Lei told Liu he was going to work on a mobile phone company, Liu had the inside line to invest in the new company — and it fit his investment priorities perfectly.

Xiaomi was, comparatively, relatively efficient. At the time, the product was, of course, underdeveloped, and it was critical that Liu and Lei had trust in one another. Without the vision they shared for the company, there would not have been a convincing reason for Morningside to invest — and no returns either. Like the Alibaba service Taobao, Pinduoduo allows users to buy a wide range of products online, though it differs in its social mechanisms.

Pinduoduo allows users to band together with friends and family to make group purchases and get a better price. Users transacting on the Pinduoduo app use the Tencent service WeChat to communicate with buyers and sellers and can also get group discounts for doing so. Of those competitors, none looms larger for Tencent than Alibaba. Chinese local delivery startup Ele. Prior to its Ele. With Ele. Source: The Hustle.

Moving to consolidate control is a common theme for Alibaba: slowly building up its stake in a company, learning about how it works, and learning about the space is a way for Alibaba to bolster its own product and service lines over time, rather than all at once in a traditional acquisition.

Index noticed Adyen for three reasons. First, the company had rapid growth, largely because its customers were avid evangelists of the brand and the product. Second, it was profitable not another cash-burning Silicon Valley startup. Today, Adyen is a primary payments processor for many companies across the United States, including Facebook and eBay. It was a massive gamble at the time.

That initial Series A round was the largest check Andreessen Horowitz had ever written. GitHub was in an unknown and misunderstood corner of the tech world. The startup had no clear path, no real product, and no sales organization. The site was the first large-scale open-source meeting place for developers. Open-source was founded on the belief that code can and should be shared and collaborative.

GitHub made that vision into a reality by providing a place on the internet where a community of developers could work on any project they liked. Andreessen Horowitz saw the potential for disruption in how software is built. GitHub, it realized, was the platform where this could happen. Instead of companies working within their own walled gardens, they could open their code up to the world and tap into the collective wisdom of the crowd.

Geopolitically, the world is again confronting the conflicting interests and visions between democracy and authoritarianism. These divisions no longer run solely along international and country lines. Today, these conflicts are deeply ensconced inside nations themselves, including the United States, where the politics are growing more divisive. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, the largest military conflict the globe has seen in decades, has the world questioning the progress of the post-World War Two era and of economic globalization as a driver of prosperity and peace.

This means that the planning and investing calculi have changed, too. In a flash, interest rates on all things bond-related — mortgages, car loans and government debt rose. The U. The Federal Reserve has stated its intention to continue to hike the fed funds rate, which will then increase rates for many other borrowers.

For example, if your portfolio returns ten percent in a year but inflation is running at five percent per year, then your real return is five percent — not as good. Conversely, if your money is in a bank account, earning one percent when inflation is running at five percent, then you are losing four percent per year on a real return basis — even worse.

As advisors, the focus on real returns is always present. Our goal is to not only preserve but also grow purchasing power over time for our clients. A simple, often overlooked truth when we think about investing for retirement and life beyond work is that we must not stop, ever. When a certain goal is reached, such as paying for college, it will no longer require saving and investing for.

The dangers of inflation and earning negative real returns, where your money today will buy much less tomorrow are genuine and ever-present. Markets and the world at large will continue to behave in strange and unpredictable ways. There are times that require holding on just a bit tighter — this is one of them. Registration of an investment adviser does not imply any specific level of skill or training and does not constitute an endorsement of the firm by the Commission.

Lionshead Wealth Management only transacts business in states in which it is properly registered or is excluded or exempted from registration.

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