Palantir Technologies’ intelligence software is gaining fans worldwide, and some investors want to cash in

Unlocking Secrets, if Not Its Own Value


Alex Karp, chief of Palantir Technologies, has resisted calls for it go public. Despite a growing number of private clients, he says an I.P.O.’s emphasis on stock price would be “corrosive to our culture.”CreditPeter DaSilva for The New York Times


Palantir Technologies will not help you share, message, pin, post or chat. It does not exist to make you more social or connected, or even to help advertisers get to you. Its technology is deeply geeky, its work secretive. Nonetheless, it’s one of the most valuable private tech companies in Silicon Valley. Read more of this post

In moving into online education, Harvard Business School discovered that it isn’t so easy to practice what it teaches

Business School, Disrupted


If any institution is equipped to handle questions of strategy, it is Harvard Business School, whose professors have coined so much of the strategic lexicon used in classrooms and boardrooms that it’s hard to discuss the topic without recourse to their concepts: Competitive advantage. Disruptive innovation. The value chain.

But when its dean, Nitin Nohria, faced the school’s biggest strategic decision since 1924 — the year it planned its campus and adopted the case-study method as its pedagogical cornerstone — he ran into an issue. Those professors, and those concepts, disagreed. Read more of this post

Hopes for cancer cures offer comfort for battered pharma

May 30, 2014 12:07 pm

Hopes for cancer cures offer comfort for battered pharma

By Andrew Ward, Pharmaceuticals Correspondent

It is the Holy Grail of medical science. Ever since Hippocrates, the Greek physician, first described the disease more than 2,000 years ago, generation after generation of doctors have searched in vain for a cure for cancer. Read more of this post

‘India is a Price-Sensitive Market’: Andreas Barner, Boehringer Ingelheim

‘India is a Price-Sensitive Market’: Andreas Barner, Boehringer Ingelheim

by Prince Mathews Thomas | May 31, 2014

Andreas Barner, the chairman of the board of managing directors, Boehringer Ingelheim, tells Prince Mathews Thomas that it’s important for the German pharma company to strengthen its presence in India

Andreas Barner
Assistant professor at the Federal Institute of Technology; Ciba-Geigy AG; joined BI in 1992
Education: Medicine from University of Freiburg, Germany; Mathematics from Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich Read more of this post

Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions

Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions Hardcover

by Gerd Gigerenzer  (Author)

An eye-opening look at the ways we misjudge risk every day and a guide to making better decisions with our money, health, and personal lives
In the age of Big Data we often believe that our predictions about the future are better than ever before. But as risk expert Gerd Gigerenzer shows, the surprising truth is that in the real world, we often get better results by using simple rules and considering less information. Read more of this post

A Dozen Things I’ve Learned about Great CEOs from “The Outsiders”

A Dozen Things I’ve Learned about Great CEOs from “The Outsiders” (Written by William Thorndike)


Many very smart people (e.g., Warren Buffett, Michael Mauboussin) are recommending William Thorndike’s book The Outsiders. Thorndike’s book describes certain attributes/methods of “top performing” CEOs. (page IX)  What does the author mean by a “great” CEO?  In short: “return relative to peers and the market” measured by “compound annual return to shareholders during their tenure.” (page IX) Read more of this post

Certainty Is an Illusion

Certainty Is an Illusion

May 29, 2014 by Shane Parrish

We all try to avoid uncertainty, even if it means being wrong. We take comfort in certainty and we demand it of others, even when we know it’s impossible.

Gerd Gigerenzer argues in Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions that life would be pretty dull without uncertainty.

If we knew everything about the future with certainty, our lives would be drained of emotion. No surprise and pleasure, no joy or thrill— we knew it all along. The first kiss, the first proposal, the birth of a healthy child would be about as exciting as last year’s weather report. If our world ever turned certain, life would be mind-numbingly dull. Read more of this post

The Untold History of Ramen: How Political Crisis in Japan Spawned a Global Food Craze

The Untold History of Ramen: How Political Crisis in Japan Spawned a Global Food Craze (California Studies in Food and Culture) Paperback

by George Solt  (Author)

A rich, salty, and steaming bowl of noodle soup, ramen has become an international symbol of the cultural prowess of Japanese cuisine. In this highly original account of geopolitics and industrialization in Japan, George Solt traces the meteoric rise of ramen from humble fuel for the working poor to international icon of Japanese culture. Read more of this post

Pearl River Delta Economic Zone reports GDP of nearly 10 trillion yuan

Pearl River Delta Economic Zone reports GDP of nearly 10 trillion yuan

Staff Reporter


Compared with the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and the Yangtze River Economic Zone, the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone is the mostly likely to be elevated to the national level of economic planning.

The Pearl River connects Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau in the east and links Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi in the west, and is an extensive river system in southern China with a total length at 2,197 kilometers. Read more of this post

Lenovo to move away from Chinese market

Lenovo to move away from Chinese market

Staff Reporter


Wong Wai-Ming, CFO of Lenovo Group, said that the company plans to refocus its business on the international arena instead of China, reports the official website of the China’s nationalistic Global Times. China, Wong said, is no longer the most profitable market for Lenovo, according to the report. Read more of this post

BlackRock’s Fink jolts ETF business with ‘blow up’ warning

BlackRock’s Fink jolts ETF business with ‘blow up’ warning

10:46am EDT

By Tim McLaughlin and Jennifer Ablan

(Reuters) – BlackRock Inc Chief Executive Larry Fink this week dropped a stink bomb on a small corner of the $2.5 trillion global market for exchange-traded funds.

Fink, who runs the world’s largest asset manager and ETF provider, said structural problems with leveraged ETFs have the potential to “blow up the whole industry one day.” Sponsors of leveraged ETFs and related products, which make up only about $60 billion of global industry assets, called his remarks an exaggeration. Read more of this post

Is Management Due for a Renaissance?

Is Management Due for a Renaissance?

by David K. Hurst  |   2:00 PM May 30, 2014

Every now and then, a thinker calls for a renaissance in some field of work – a rebirth, or return to classic roots after a period of straying from them. Is management – not yet a very old discipline – due for one? When Richard Straub, President of the Peter Drucker Society of Europe, recentlydeclared so, it got me thinking by analogy about how one might come to pass. Read more of this post

Investors want to ban ‘junk’ companies from London; Call for changes after poor treatment of minority shareholders at Bumi and ENRC

Investors want to ban ‘junk’ companies from London

Call for changes after poor treatment of minority shareholders at Bumi and ENRC

By Louise Armitstead

8:15PM BST 31 May 2014

A group of powerful institutional investors has demanded that City regulators tighten the UK’s listing rules to ban sub-standard foreign companies floating in London.

In the wake of concerns over the treatment of minority shareholders at a number of companies, including Bumi, the investors demanded changes in the way overseas companies are allowed to list on the London Stock Exchange. Read more of this post

27 Tips For Mastering Anything

27 Tips For Mastering Anything


Tony Hisgett/Flickr

What does it take to become a master at your craft? Is genius innate, or can it be learned?

In his book, “Mastery,” Robert Greene draws from the latest research, interviews modern masters, and examines the lives of former greats like Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, and Mozart to discover what it takes to achieve excellence.

He argues that success is within anyone’s reach, if they have discipline, patience, and follow a number of important steps. Read more of this post

Ginni Rometty: Reinventing Big Blue; Naysayers are ganging up on IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. But her plan to turn around the 103-year-old company just might work

Ginni Rometty: Reinventing Big Blue

Naysayers are ganging up on IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. But her plan to turn around the 103-year-old company just might work.


May 31, 2014 1:40 a.m. ET

Ginni Rometty likes to say that there’s no such thing as a bad day if you learn from it. And since taking over as chief executive of International Business Machines in January 2012, she has learned a lot. Big Blue’s revenue has fallen for eight straight quarters, reaching the lowest level in five years in the first quarter of this year.


IBM (ticker: IBM) is still hugely profitable, of course, earning $18 billion last year on revenue of $100 billion. But in many ways, it faces its biggest challenge since the early 1990s, when it was on the verge of bankruptcy. Read more of this post

Super Mario Gets A Mercedes In This Awesome Ad

Super Mario Gets A Mercedes In This Awesome Ad


If you’ve ever played a Super Mario game, you’re going to love the new Japanese commercial for the Mercedes-Benz GLA SUV.

In it, an 8-bit Mario smashes blocks, collects coins, and runs over Goombas in a pixelated Benz. When he wraps up the level, the NES game turns live-action, and a tough looking Mario in Batman-esque armor emerges from the SUV. Read more of this post

A Study Being Passed Around Silicon Valley Shows That Raising Tons Of Money Can Hurt Startups

A Study Being Passed Around Silicon Valley Shows That Raising Tons Of Money Can Hurt Startups


When startups raise large rounds of financing from investors, it’s often praised in the press. And in Silicon Valley, founders are often encouraged to raise as much money as possible. But a new study shows that most startups shouldn’t strive to raise gobs of cash, and they can actually exit for more money if they take less funding.

Exitround, a startup that matches early stage companies with potential acquirers,analyzed the sales of 200 startups. It worked with startup accelerator programs Y Combinator, Techstars and SoftTech VC to compile the data and only looked at companies with sale prices under $100 million. Exitround says 88% of all startups are sold for less than that price. The study has been

The study found that startups with the most lucrative exits raised either $2-3 million or $5-10 million. They also tend to be about four years old.

From the study:


In Exitround’s analysis, companies that raised $5 million to $10 million actually generated larger average exits than those that raised $10 million to $50 million. And those companies that raised $3 million to $5 million had a lower average exit price than those that raised $2 million to $3 million.

Here’s a chart that supports the data.

The Exit Curve: Exitround’s Report On Tech M&A

Exitround NewsMarket Analysis

By Tomio Geron on May 30, 2014




Raising as much capital as possible is often seen as a badge of honor in Silicon Valley. And there are many great reasons for startups to raise as much capital as possible. But raising more capital may not always be the best option. Exitround’s analysis of proprietary exit data has found that there are good reasons to remain cautious.

There’s a sweet spot for how much capital to raise for startups that want to get the most money out of their sale. Exitround determined these particular exit ranges based on data we analyzed covering more than 200 companies acquired since 2006 for less than $100 million. The best exits from a return-on-capital perspective form a pattern, which we call the Exit Curve. The best average exits tend to cluster around companies with total capital raises of between $2 million to $3 million and between $5 million to $10 million. But exit prices drop after companies raise more than $3 million and $10 million, respectively.

The information in the report will be of particular interest to entrepreneurs and investors seeking to understand the trajectories of startups and what possible outcomes are for their companies–particularly since 88% of tech M&A deals happen below $100 million. Determining potential outcomes is a useful baseline to have in mind as entrepreneurs and investors think about how much to invest or raise, and at what valuations. Knowing the market is also important when entrepreneurs and investors go through an acquisition process.

Here are some other key findings from the Exitround report:

– Raising more capital does not necessarily result in a larger exit price. Exitround’s analysis of proprietary exit data has found that exit prices do not always get larger as companies raise more capital. They sometimes go down.

– Companies that generate substantial exits are usually at least four years old. Companies below four years old on average did not show a substantial variation in price, but those more than four years old increased substantially in price. In other words, companies are not built overnight.

– Exit prices varied among companies in different sectors. Some sectors, such as cloud and mobile showed the best return on invested capital.

David Cohen founder & CEO of TechStars, a contributor to the study, said, “I was excited to participate and contribute data to Exitround’s report because for the first time we’ll have a broad-scale industry look into the long tail of tech M&A activity, which will help me make more informed decisions as an investor, and generally contribute to increased transparency within our industry.”

Seed Investing

The emergence of the seed investing has become a key part of the startup and venture investing landscape. The data in Exitround’s report shows that companies that have raised relatively small amounts of capital can generate substantial returns for those investing at the seed stage.

Michael Kim, founder and managing partner of fund of funds Cendana Capital, which invests in seed funds and is a contributor to the Exit Report, said, “The findings help support our thesis—with real data—that seed VC funds have potentially higher alpha with lower beta (risk) because meaningful returns can be generated by capital efficient start ups early in their life.”

Other topics covered in the report:

The Data Behind The New Seed/Venture Investing Landscape

What Size Exits Have The Best Returns?

Which Size Exits Have The Best Multiples?

How Long Does It Take to Build a Successful Startup?

Which Generates Better Return Multiples: Consumer or Enterprise?

How Does Team Size Affect Price? (or vice versa)

Who Pays More: Public Or Private Buyers

How Are Investors Paid?

How Much Of A Deal Is Held Back For Earn-out/Retention?

Which Sectors Have The Best Outcomes?


Information on tech M&A is difficult to find, particularly for exits below $100 million. For founders this can make anacquisition process difficult, particularly for those who have not gone through it before or who do not have strong advisors to help them.

Typically, most M&A reports analyze already-available public data. The Exitround Exit Report is different because it is based on Exitround’s data, which is previously undisclosed data, and which we are presenting in an aggregate anonymized form. Read more of this post

Thoreau on the Greatest Gift of Growing Old

Thoreau on the Greatest Gift of Growing Old

“Living has yet to be generally recognized as one of the arts,” Karl De Schweinitz wrote in his 1924 guide to the art of living, and as with any art, genius-level mastery at it is only accomplished through hours upon hours of deliberate practice. It’s a truth that Henry David Thoreau, one of the great masters of the art of living, illustrates in a particularly beautiful passage from The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, 1837–1861 (public library) – the same treasure trove of wisdom that gave us Thoreau on what success really meansfriendship and sympathy, and why not to quote Thoreau.

Writing in the afternoon of October 20 of 1857, shortly after his fortieth birthday, Thoreau does what he does best, drawing from an everyday encounter a profound existential parable: Read more of this post

Tweedy Browne: Graham’s Teachings A firewall Between Investor And Bad Biases

Tweedy Browne: Graham’s Teachings A firewall Between Investor And Bad Biases

by VW StaffMay 30, 2014, 2:21 pm

We are aware that many investors have an expectation that their financial advisor in his or her client letter will provide not only fresh insights into a complicated investment landscape, but a well conceived plan to successfully navigate any difficulty the world might throw in their path. Ideally, this missive would also provide a unique perspective on current events. However, these communications are frequently packaged within a time frame (quarterly/semiannually) that we believe is not terribly helpful when it comes to defining investment goals, i.e., what am I investing for and how do I achieve those goals? If the expectation is that we can, on a regular basis, lay out a new roadmap on how to get to a “better financial place” over the next three to six months, you likely will be disappointed. Frankly, we are often stumped when it comes to offering a new plan to address the “current” environment. We have written frequently over the years about the how and why of what we at Tweedy Browne do and the strengths that we believe are inherent in an investment process focused on the longer term. One client went so far as to say he admired our “belligerent consistency” when it comes to our investment approach. We guess, but are not completely sure, that he was paying us a compliment. Read more of this post

Charles Brandes Explains Why He Invested In IEX

Charles Brandes Explains Why He Invested In IEX

by VW StaffMay 29, 2014, 4:32 pm

Trading Value – Pursuit of Best Execution and Innovation

This edition of the Brandes Quarterly Commentary offers an inside look at our trading team, and how its commitment to efficient, positive change in the marketplace helps serve our clients’ long-term interests. An important part of the firm’s commitment to best execution is our investment in The IEX Group (IEX), which we describe in detail below i .

More investors are now aware of the industry challenges created by high frequency trading, mostly due to the intense interest in the new book by best-selling author Michael Lewis, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt . Read more of this post

P/E Versus The EV/EBITDA

P/E Versus The EV/EBITDA

by Rupert HMay 30, 2014, 4:46 pm

I have noticed, that with merger mania in full swing, Wall Street is turning to increasingly disjointed and exotic valuation metrics in order to justify the high valuations, (by value investing standards) that are now being placed on many stocks. None of these is more prevalent and suspect than the EV/EBITDA ratio. Read more of this post

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