Day: December 31, 2019

Tech’s biggest companies are worth ~$5T as 2019’s epic stock market run wraps

Look, this is the last post I’m writing in 2019 and I’m tired. But I can’t let the year close without taking stock of how well tech stocks did this year. It was bonkers.

So let’s mark the year’s conclusion with some notes for our future selves. Yes, we know that the Nasdaq has been setting new records and SaaS had a good year. But we need to dig in and get the numbers out so that we can look back and remember.

Let’s cap off this year the way it deserves to be remembered, as a kick-ass trip ’round the sun for your local, public technology company.

Keeping score

We’ll start with the indices that we care about:

  • The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 35% in 2019
  • The SaaS-heavy Bessemer Cloud Index rose 41% this year

Next, the highest-value U.S.-based technology companies:

  • Microsoft was up around 55% in 2019
  • Apple managed an 86% gain in the year
  • Not be left out, Facebook rose 57%
  • Amazon posted its own gain of 23% in 2019
  • Alphabet managed to grow by 29%, as well

Now let’s turn to some companies that we care about, even if they are smaller than the Big Five:

  • Salesforce? Up 19% this year
  • Adobe was up 46% in 2019, which was astounding
  • Intel picked up 28% in the year, making it no slouch
  • Even Oracle managed to gain 17% in 2019

And so on.

The technology industry’s epic run has been so strong that The Wall Street Journal noted this morning that, powered by tech companies, U.S. stocks “are poised for their best annual performance in six years.” The Journal highlighted the performance of Apple and Microsoft in particular for helping drive the boom. I wonder why.

How long will we live in the neighborhood of Nasdaq 9,000? How long can two tech companies be worth more than $1 trillion at the same time? How long can the biggest tech companies be worth a combined $4.93 trillion (I remember when $3 trillion for the Big Five was news, and I recall when the group reach a collective value of $4 trillion).1

But the worst trade in recent years has been the pessimists’ gambit. No matter what, stocks have kept going up, short-term hiccoughs and other missteps aside.

For nearly everyone, that is. While tech stocks in general did very well, some names that we all know did not. Let’s close on those reminders that a rising tide lifts only most boats.

2019 naughty list

Several of the most lackluster public tech companies were 2019 technology IPOs, interestingly enough. Who didn’t do well? Uber earns a spot on the naughty list for not only being underwater from its IPO price, but also from its final private valuations. And as you guessed, Lyft is down from its IPO price as well, which is not good.

Some 2019 IPOs did well in the middle of the year, but fell a little flat as the year came to a close. Pinterest, Beyond Meat and Zoom meet that criteria, for example. And some SaaS companies struggled, even if we think they will reach $1 billion in revenue in time.

But it was mostly a party. The public markets were good, and tech stocks were great. This helped create another 100+ unicorns in the year.

Such was 2019. On to 2020!

  1. In time, those numbers will look small. But sitting here on December 31, 2019, they appear huge and towering and, it must be said, somewhat perilously stacked.

Making sense of the timeline in Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’

Making sense of the timeline in Netflix's 'The Witcher'

The Witcher‘s blend of fantasy, realism, and straight-up folk rock ballads make it one of the more interesting new shows to come out of Netflix in 2019. It is not, however, one of the streaming network’s most straightforward. 

Taking place over three timelines, The Witcher weaves all over the place and bamboozles its viewers on purpose, making it hard to discern where and when its characters are at any given time. Whether or not this timeline gambit effective is a question for another time, but for now it’s given Witcher fans (witchies?) a pretty puzzle to parse until Netflix releases Season 2. Read more…

More about Netflix, The Witcher, Entertainment, and Movies Tv Shows

India’s richest man is ready to take on Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart

As Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart spend billions to make a dent in India’s retail market and reel from recent regulatory hurdles, the two companies have stumbled upon a new challenge: Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man.

Reliance Retail and Reliance Jio, two subsidiaries of Ambani’s Reliance Industries, said they have soft launched JioMart, their e-commerce venture, in parts of the state of Maharashtra — Mumbai, Kalyan and Thane.

The e-commerce venture, which is being marketed as “Desh Ki Nayi Dukaan” (Hindi for new store for the country), currently offers a catalog of 50,000 grocery items and promises “free and express delivery.”

In an email to employees, accessed by TechCrunch, the two aforementioned subsidiaries that are working together on the e-commerce venture, said they plan to expand the service to many parts of India in coming months. A Reliance spokesperson declined to comment.

The soft launch this week comes months after Ambani, who runs Reliance Industries — India’s largest industrial house — said that he wants to service tens of millions of retailers and store owners across the country.

If there is anyone in India who is positioned to compete with heavily-backed Amazon and Walmart, it’s him. Reliance Retail, which was founded in 2006, is the largest retailer in the country by revenue. It serves more than 3.5 million customers each week through its nearly 10,000 physical stores in more than 6,500 Indian cities and towns.

Reliance Jio is the largest telecom operator in India with more than 350 million subscribers. The 4G-only carrier, which launched commercial operations in the second half of 2016, disrupted the incumbent telecom operation in the country by offering bulk of data and voice calls at little to no charge for an extended period of time.

In a speech in January, Ambani, an ally of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, invoked Mahatama Gandhi and said like Gandhi, who led a movement against political colonization of India, “we have to collectively launch a new movement against data colonization. For India to succeed in this data-driven revolution, we will have to migrate the control and ownership of Indian data back to India – in other words, Indian wealth back to every Indian.” Modi was among the attendees.

E-commerce still accounts for just a fraction of total retail sales in India. India’s retail market is estimated to grow to $188 billion in next four years, up from about $79 billion last year, according to research firm Technopak Advisors.

In an interview earlier this year, Amit Agarwal, manager of Amazon India, said, “one thing to keep in mind is that e-commerce is a very, very small portion of total retail consumption in India, probably less than 3%.”

To make their businesses more appealing to Indians, both Amazon and Flipkart have expanded their offerings and entered new businesses. Both of the platforms are working on food retail, for instance. Amazon has bought stakes in a number of retailers in India, including in India’s second largest retail chain Future Retail’s Future Coupons, Indian supermarket chain More, and department store chain Shopper’s Stop.

Flipkart has invested in a number of logistic startups including ShadowFax and Ninjacart. Amazon India was also in talks with Ninjacart to acquire some stake in the Bangalore-based startup, people familiar with the matter said.

More to follow…

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia’s raging fires approached

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia's raging fires approached

The sun didn’t rise on New Year’s Eve. The summer morning in a small beach town on the east coast of Australia looked like a winter’s night. 

That black sky soon gave way to a blazing, eerie orange as the flames approached. At least 4,000 people were told to jump into the ocean. Gas cylinders could be heard popping like fireworks as they exploded. 

The town of Mallacoota looked apocalyptic on Tuesday local time as it became the latest victim of Australia’s out-of-control bushfires.

It was too late to evacuate. 

“We are one road in, one road out. That road’s been blocked for hours and hours and hours,” Francesca Winterson from Mallacoota Community Radio told News Breakfast, a national TV broadcast.  Read more…

More about Australia, Bushfires, Science, and Climate Environment

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia’s raging fires approached

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia's raging fires approached

The sun didn’t rise on New Year’s Eve. The summer morning in a small beach town on the east coast of Australia looked like a winter’s night. 

That black sky soon gave way to a blazing, eerie orange as the flames approached. At least 4,000 people were told to jump into the ocean. Gas cylinders could be heard popping like fireworks as they exploded. 

The town of Mallacoota looked apocalyptic on Tuesday local time as it became the latest victim of Australia’s out-of-control bushfires.

It was too late to evacuate. 

“We are one road in, one road out. That road’s been blocked for hours and hours and hours,” Francesca Winterson from Mallacoota Community Radio told News Breakfast, a national TV broadcast.  Read more…

More about Australia, Bushfires, Science, and Climate Environment

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia’s raging fires approached

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia's raging fires approached

The sun didn’t rise on New Year’s Eve. The summer morning in a small beach town on the east coast of Australia looked like a winter’s night. 

That black sky soon gave way to a blazing, eerie orange as the flames approached. At least 4,000 people were told to jump into the ocean. Gas cylinders could be heard popping like fireworks as they exploded. 

The town of Mallacoota looked apocalyptic on Tuesday local time as it became the latest victim of Australia’s out-of-control bushfires.

It was too late to evacuate. 

“We are one road in, one road out. That road’s been blocked for hours and hours and hours,” Francesca Winterson from Mallacoota Community Radio told News Breakfast, a national TV broadcast.  Read more…

More about Australia, Bushfires, Science, and Climate Environment

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia’s raging fires approached

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia's raging fires approached

The sun didn’t rise on New Year’s Eve. The summer morning in a small beach town on the east coast of Australia looked like a winter’s night. 

That black sky soon gave way to a blazing, eerie orange as the flames approached. At least 4,000 people were told to jump into the ocean. Gas cylinders could be heard popping like fireworks as they exploded. 

The town of Mallacoota looked apocalyptic on Tuesday local time as it became the latest victim of Australia’s out-of-control bushfires.

It was too late to evacuate. 

“We are one road in, one road out. That road’s been blocked for hours and hours and hours,” Francesca Winterson from Mallacoota Community Radio told News Breakfast, a national TV broadcast.  Read more…

More about Australia, Bushfires, Science, and Climate Environment