Star Tech offers UK investors share in Silicon Valley profits
Sunday, 7th May 2017
By James Titcomb - Sunday Telegraph
AN INVESTMENT firm plans to give Britons the chance to back Silicon Valley’s most high-profile companies before they go public.
Star Tech, founded by a group of investors, is raising $5m (£3.9m) to invest in the likes of Uber and AirBnB and it claims to be the first company of its kind in Britain to “democratise” investing in private technology firms, a field that is typically restricted to private equity and venture capitalists.
Tech companies have boomed in recent years and fetched enormous valuations when sold or listed. As start-ups waited longer to go public, a vibrant secondary market exists, allowing existing investors and staff to sell shares, but US law restricts who can buy them.
Star Tech has invested $1m of its founder’s money in companies including Spotify, Pinterest and Dropbox, and says it plans to list as a fund in Guernsey or float in London.
It is targeting wealthy investors and small institutions to raise funds and says while investors must be accredited under US securities law at first, this will lapse once it expands.
Star Tech is being led by Ian Wallis, a former tech investor and corporate finance executive, along with stockbroking veteran Malcolm Burne.
“The secondary market is a dynamic sector [in the US] and we’re scaling it to a UK and European audience that has been locked out”. Mr Wallis said. The company will invest in large, proven private tech companies where there was “less risk of failure”, he said.
UBER - FARE VALUE?
Thursday, 9th May 2019
What is your STRIKE price?
The verdict on this Friday’s Uber IPO is like the narrowly divided Brexit referendum except people will get a chance to vote with their pocket. So it will be illuminating to see how psychology plays out on the first few days of trading.
There is certain to be fringe derivative traders, hedge funds and the like all jockeying for the best trading positions and placing their bets. The runners and riders are all the different new and existing shareholders including some founders, early and later stage investors, and those who are underweight or without any IPO allocation. Both the bulls and bears will be out in force attempting to gain the upper hand.
Then there are the millennials who identify with these businesses as integral to their lives and are prepared to take a long view on financial performance, accompanied by the older fundamentalists looking at [lack of] earnings and value investors looking at the [inflated] market cap.
Only time will tell regarding true value of this global brand, as with the FAANGS, some of which were under pressure immediately post IPO but were worthy growth investments over the longer term. Most of these rapidly emerging tech disrupters have yet to be properly tested in a down cycle in the economy. None are absolutely sure of returning profits and dividends for several years. Most report losses as they deeply discount their services to boost revenue growth in order to “blitzscale” their markets or then defend market share. If so, it can be a race to the bottom with ever thinning margins.
IPOs are a a route for founders and early stage investors and employees to realise incredible gains they may never see again. It is no coincidence that some see an end to an overheated bull market (fuelled largely by QE and Trump tax cuts) leading to this current rash of listings.
So on Friday (10th May 2019) we can expect to see a trading frenzy, a massive day of speculation the likes unseen on Wall Street for many years. It could actually dictate overall market sentiment as we move into the Summer and beyond… that time which often triggers the old market adage “sell in May and go away”.
The lesson most likely to emerge from this major stock market event however is clear evidence that it is a better strategy to invest in these ‘soonicorn’, unicorn and decacorn businesses as later stage high growth private companies at a healthy discount to their likely IPO price. Those investors with such access have downside protection in the face of bearish post-IPO sentiment from public market investors.
Malcolm Burne is an adviser to the MVP Star Tech NG Fund which invests in “Tomorrow’s IPOs Today”TM
Uber prices at the bottom of its IPO range to be valued at $82.4bn
Friday, 10th May 2019
By Emily Nicolle - City A.M.
Ride-hailing giant Uber has priced its initial public offering at $45 per share, landing at the lower end of its targeted range to raise $8.1bn (£6.2bn) in a Wall Street flotation on Friday afternoon .
“In the subtle tension between a loss-making company looking to raise capital to maximise its runway, or to create an orderly aftermarket for the benefit of all [new and existing] shareholders, it looks like the latter prevailed,” added Ian Wallis, adviser to Uber investor MVP Star Tech NG Fund.
Pinterest and Zoom shares rally after IPOs
Thursday, 18th April 2019
By Richard Waters and Hannah Murphy in San Francisco and Nicole Bullock in New York
“Everyone had an interest in the sense that the Lyft debacle left a sour taste in people’s mouths,” said Malcolm Burne, co-founder of StarTech NG, which has pre-IPO investments in Pinterest, Lyft and Uber. “[The Pinterest IPO] is very important for what happens to Uber because sentiment is everything. If Pinterest goes very well, it will be very good for the whole climate around Uber. You don’t want [Pinterest] coming back down below the IPO price.” Uber, the most valuable private US tech company, is expected to list its shares early next month at a valuation of as much as $100bn. Some analysts had described Pinterest’s earlier price range as very cautious, and others said the performance of recent IPOs such as Lyft was unlikely to have a big effect on overall demand.
Read the full article:
Pre-IPO US tech fund opens up to new capital
Tuesday, 16th April 2019By Mike Sheen - Investment WeekMVP Star Tech NG Fund opens up ahead of Uber listingThe MVP Star Tech NG fund has opened up to outside capital for the first time, offering investors access to pre-initial public offering (IPO), high growth US tech firms like Spotify, Uber and Lyft.
Now available to retail investors via IFAs and intermediaries, the fund began investing founders' capital in private growth companies in 2017, since which time it has participated in six IPOs, five exits...