The Square -Twitter Merger?

My friend Tom Brammar sent this post to me this morning titled ‘Jack Dorsey’s master plan‘.

The gist:

What is Twitter? Well, for a certain demographic it seems to be the mobile app that they use on a daily basis more than any other (and much to president-in-wanting Zuckerberg chagrin any of the ones that are in Facebook’s stable). And this demographic, although much smaller than other social platforms, is wealthier, more educated and more likely to live in urban areas. So its a very useful advertising platform, and for a certain type of retailer or merchandise produce it’s catnip.

Can you see where this is going yet?

If Dorsey merged Square and Twitter he’d have a vertically integrated retail machine with phenomenal reach and power. For instance;

1. Integrate Square’s payment technology so your twitter handle becomes a payment account — send and receive payments instantly and for free with anyone

2. Allow purchasing for any business that has a Twitter account (i.e. almost every business)
3. Offer Square’s retailers and merchandise producers one of the world’s largest audience of wealthy, educated people

One of the massive screw-ups Twitter originally made was not recognising that a user’s Twitter handle had the potential to become one of main primary keys of the Internet. Facebook did and with their comprehensive API and their ‘Login with Facebook’ feature put themselves front and centre for most internet users. Twitter missed this completely and eventually shutdown their API — total disaster which arguably they’ve never recovered from.

By merging Square and Twitter Dorsey would put Twitter’s handle right back into play, making it the centre of a huge payment / business platform.

Back to me now…

I have long agreed that Twitter has underachieved as a financial protocol.

If Jack could make that happen and get more out of Twitter as a way to monetize ideas (send money, make trades, pick fantasy teams), not just throw ads at bad content, the combined companies could be worth $100 billion.

Just Another Momentum Monday….

I snuck up to Toronto to say hello to my Mom. It was her 76th birthday.

I gave her a quick rundown of the momentum running wild in the markets…

Tencent is now a $500 billion company. I doubt one percent of the investing public even knows Tencent is a public company. I think they get to $1 trillion right after Apple. I said mom…have you heard of Tencent and she said ‘what good is a dime in 2017’!

It’s not just Tencent that is on fire out of China. In fact 16 Chinese ADR’s have doubled in 2017.

Here is a fun chart comparing Bitcoin to gold.

Next I mentioned to my mom that 4.11% of all Bitcoin addresses own about 96% of all the Bitcoin in circulation right now. She immediately accused my dad of hiding the password to the Coinbase account from her.

Needless to say we switched the conversation back to bagels and lunch.

Happy Birthday Mom.

The Stock Market for Shoes

Way back in 2006 I had the Wallstrip crew cover the Nike shoe craze and pop up stores.

Here is the episode:

I was and have been long the stock since.

Yesterday, my son took me to ‘Flight Club’ on Broadway in New York. Max is in to the shoe market and has a good eye. Flight Club It is not a ‘pop up’ store. It is the real thing. I was pretty blown away.

I have tried out the shoe stock market apps like ‘GOAT’ (greatest of all time) and ‘StockX’, but had never taken the time to see kids and adults stare at collector shoes.

Here is a $100,000 pair of Nike’s:

These Kanye Nike’s were never manufactured because Kanye switched to Adidas to make Yeezy’s. If I was in my 30’s I would have bought a pair of Yeezy’s immediately. I could wear them and sell them because there is a market for them.

The shoes have stories and are priced based on some basic fundamentals. Supply, demand and human behavior take care of most of the rest.

In this digital era, shoes and phones are what kids have left to best express themselves out in the world.

I Bless this Market!

I am back in New York for the rest of the month.

My trip to Israel seems to have been a blessing on the world’s portfolio’s.

You are welcome!

I might just spend a month in Tel Aviv next November to help the Nasdaq get to 10,000.

Earlier in the week Cisco hit 15 year highs.

Thursday it was Walmart gapping up 10 percent to all-time highs.

Friday..America’s biggest payroll and human resources company hit all-time highs. That is not bearish.

Of course…Bitcoin did it as well.

Meanwhile, the Economist can’t explain crypto so they are calling it a bubble. Again.

Remember all those gold commercials on CNBC and Fox…..a lot of good they have done.

The network is the new gold and that is why Bitcoin rocks and gold flops.

This one picture explains why we hit new highs in tech almost every day.

Keep it simple while this bull rages on.

Rally Road

Meet Social Leverage portfolio company Rally Road.

I was introduced to the founders Chris, Rob and Max a while back and we immediately hit it off regarding the product and vision. I love the idea of an asset class being flipped on it’s head by technology and distribution to allow millions of people access. Previous investments we have made to express this view include Robinhood, Etoro, Stocktwits, Chart IQ, Crowdability, Sparkfin, Apple Pie Capital and Produce Pay).

I will use Rally Road’s own words here regarding the vision and mission:

The Intersection of People, Passion, & Profit

Rally Rd. is a free app that allows members to invest in individual blue-chip collector automobiles with ease. The vehicles on Rally Rd. represent an asset class that has historically outperformed the stock market as well as other alternative asset classes (including gold, fine art, and real estate).

Our mission is to democratize alternative investments like these, providing access, liquidity, and transparency to markets that have traditionally only been available to a select few.

Each asset on Rally Rd. is vetted by a team of industry experts, acquired, insured, and professionally maintained & monitored 24/7. We create a story around each investment, including photos, videos, records & receipts, and provenance. Like what you see? Invest in that specific vehicle with one click. Shares start at around $50. It’s that simple!

Christopher Bruno does a great job with Maria Bartiromo in this interview explaining the app and the process.

This Monday, the Company will be showcasing a few of the cars in a ‘pop up store’ in SOHO at 40 Wooster. I plan to be there all afternoon.

Stocktwits – Is Unique Data an Edge?

The Short answer is YES. Unique data is a massive edge.

I have always known that Stocktwits data was unique and now our CEO Ian Rosen and the team are pulling out gems all the time to try and help get investors and traders out in front of big moves.

Back in September for example, the data team noticed Bitcoin messaging surpassing S&P messaging and released the data.

Way back in June, Stocktwits explained the BTFD mantra that has ruled the markets since 2010.

Personally, I would ‘Buy the F^cking Dip’ (BTFD) if there were any dips.

It does seem that everyone around the world has caught on to the Stocktwits BTFD theme.

But, dont worry…the team at Stocktwits has an incredible article/homepage over on Medium. It is a must follow and easy to subscribe.

If you want to get Stocktwits in it’s lightest form, download the app and build your watchlist, check the ‘discover’ tab once a day, subscribe to the content on our blog and GET our daily email here.

The language of the markets is the greatest edge you can give yourself and it has never been more open, interesting and fun to learn.

The Augur and The Ogre

Yesterday I attended The Vintage annual meeting. Vintage is a $1.5 billion Israeli fund of funds that invests in global technology venture funds.

I promised not to share charts, but it is no secret that the lack of IPO’s and the slowdown in mergers and acquisitions (as share prices have boomed), has created a glut in the private markets.

Making matters potentially worse, hundreds of new fangled blockchain and ‘crypto’ companies are going public through ICO’s that are off the ‘institutional’ grid.

I did take a 20 minute break to enjoy the magnificent view from the deck of the Hilton Tel Aviv…

Later in the day I was back with my group getting fintech pitches at The Tel Aviv stock exchange.

On the walk back to my hotel at the end of the day I chatted with Jeremy Gardener, who works at Blockchain Capital and is by far the youngest person on our trip. He is just 25 years old and has seen way more of the world than me.

Here is a recent profile of Jeremy.

I was asking Jeremy questions about Bitcoin, the Blockchain and the Blockchain he helped found called Augur ( Augur is a really cool decentralized blockchain idea and token. I really hope it works when it finally launches. It would change financial markets in many ways. Basically, the product has to work perfectly when launched because of the decentralized nature of the code.

I speculated a little after chatting with him and bought a little (on the Bittrex exchange) and will follow along on Stocktwits (ticker symbol $REP.X).

Checking in on the stock market today, the biggest news to me was the massive breakout in Cisco. The old tech bellwether hit 10 year highs today.

This $450 million sale of a Leonardo Da Vinci painting was not something to sneeze at.

I mentioned ‘The Ogre’ in my title. I leave you Jeff Sessions, the US Attorney General, who gets taken apart for his lies in a spectacular way. Jeff is a motivator for the millennials like Jeremy decentralizing the world.

From Tel Aviv With Hustle…

It’s been a fantastic first few days in Tel Aviv. The weather is warm and the streets are very busy.

(that is the view from Mindspace looking towards the Med)

Two things never change here…the amazing hustle and the amazing street food. I will get to the food in a bit.

The entreprenuerial community is ‘lit’ witch Crypto fever. I am here because my friend Ryan Gilbert at Propel Ventures invited me last year. Walking the streets last year I said we need to have an annual ‘Fintech and Falafel’ conference here in Tel Aviv. This year it’s bigger and better.

This morning I sat with my friend Yoni Assia for a long discussion about Etoro, Bitcoin and the Blockchain. Yoni remains most bullish on the Blockchain. I am still digesting all his thoughts and hopefully I can share a video of it soon. As little as I still understand about the Blockchain, I am convinced that all assets will eventually be recorded on and moved to and from using the Blockchain. I will stick with how Yoni sees things.

Here is Yoni and I doing our thing:

It so happens that Jeff Pulver was having a ‘Crypto Nation’ conference here today and so he invited me to speak as well. Jeff and I go way back. Crazy story but Jeff LOVES me. In 2007, Fred Wilson invited me to invest $25,000 into the Twitter seed round. It turns out Jeff had been tweeting at Fred to get him an allocation. I balked at the crazy valuation of $17 million (cue therapist) and Fred offered it to Jeff. Needless to say Jeff owes me a lot of smiles and hugs.

Jeff was already a legend having started Vonage.

Now Jeff is leaning into the ‘crypto’ world and his conference was jam packed. Jeff is definitely worried about the hype and the frauds going on but he is also super bullish and I like the way he is championing the industry. I got to meet the man who helped organize the Ethereum ICO. He seems pretty happy :) :

There are so many smart fintech investors traveling with me. One of my favorites is Sheel Mohnot who travels the globe endlessly. The only person I would do a regular podcast with is Sheel. Last year in Argentina I came up with ‘The Jew and The Jain’ a podcast where we just argue about everything.

Now to the food…

I don’t love street food in general, but I love Tel Aviv street food.

Yesterday was six falafel sandwiches and one shawarma. Sickening.

At the end of the night we had a Debush Shawarma which was delicious. Here I am stuffing my face (the photo has been meme’d and edited by Stocktwits community):

I think it is a miracle that my white shirt remained spotless.

Today I was treated to an epic lunch of street food at Miznoon. Definitely the best pita and a top five sandwich in my life.

That’s all for now.

Thinking in English…and Bitcoin

The Falafel and Fintech week is now officially underway in Tel Aviv. This year a group of SIXTEEN venture capitalists have joined my partner Gary and I on the trip to Israel. Last year it was just six of us. Next year it will probably be fifty.

The start-up culture in Tel Aviv is electric.

Last night I went to watch Yoni (Etoro) do a speech titled ‘The Brief History of Money and Blockchain’ (the presentation is at the end of this post).

He warned me the talk would be in Hebrew. I understand a lot of Hebrew though so was not too concerned.

Yoni decided to ask the local audience if he could do the talk in English because I was in the room and nobody cared. So he did.

The Israeli founders and entrepreneurs think in English.

It’s just another thing we take for granted as founders in the United States and another reason why so many American venture capitalists are willing to come and invest in Israeli companies.

Here is Yoni’s presentation:

A Brief History of money, Blockcain and eToro – Meitav Dash.

New York to Tel Aviv

I am safely landed and working in Tel Aviv for the week.

Sunday is a workday here. I am excited to head over to Etoro’s HQ and catch up.

Last year I saw a lot of cybersecurity pitches and this year I expect a lot of pitches around the blockchain and more fintech.

I don’t plan on following the markets much as it’s a full week of pitches and events. I liked this post from Ukarlewitz about how the millennials have already overtaken the boomers. Have a read.

Other than the silly volatility in Bitcoin, the talk of last week was the divergence between junk bonds and equities. It may be prudent to take some profits if this persists.

PS – The view from my airplane leaving New York Saturday eve was specatacular…

I just finished a nice long run on the beach in Tel Aviv as well…

Have a great Sunday and rest of the week.