Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood welcomed the tumble in tech stocks – and revealed Archegos chief Bill Hwang funded the launch of her ETFs

Cathie Wood
Cathie Wood.

  • Cathie Wood celebrated the tech-stock slump as a chance to score higher returns.
  • The Ark Invest chief said the sell-off reflected a broadening bull market.
  • Wood disclosed that Archegos Capital’s Bill Hwang funded the launch of her ETFs.
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Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood cheered the tumble in tech stocks, and revealed that Archegos Capital’s Bill Hwang was one of her early backers, in a CNBC interview on Friday.

“I love this setup,” the star stock-picker said about the sharp sell-off of Tesla, Shopify, and other holdings in Ark’s exchange-traded funds. “The worst thing that could have happened to us is to have the market narrowly focus on just our ilk of stock – the innovation space.”

Wood also argued that only the prices of her favorite companies have changed, not their prospects. She now expects to score compounded annual returns of 25% to 30% in her funds over the next five years, up from her target of 15% earlier this year.

The Ark chief’s flagship innovation ETF is currently down 12% year-to-date, a sharp reversal from its roughly 150% gain in 2020.

Wood told CNBC about her relationship with Hwang during the interview. The pair of proudly Christian investors met through church and first exchanged ideas in 2013, and Hwang invested in Netflix after Wood recommended the video-streaming stock to him, she said.

“He did provide the seed for our first four ETFs and we’re very grateful to him,” Wood continued, emphasizing that Hwang’s help was crucial as it was tough to secure funding for ETFs in the early 2010s.

She added that she wrote to him after Archegos blew up in March, and doesn’t know whether he’s still an investor in any of Ark’s funds.

Archegos imploded after Hwang’s aggressively leveraged bets on tech and media stocks soured. Several Wall Street banks slapped him with margin calls, declared him in default when he didn’t pay up, and rushed to dump more than $20 billion of his positions in a matter of days.

Credit Suisse and Nomura were among the banks caught out by Archegos’ collapse and the subsequent fire sale, and suffered billions of dollars in losses as a result.

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Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and Youtube creators Cody Ko and Casey Neistat took part in a $5 million funding round for an app that rewards online shoppers with bitcoin

Alexis Ohanian

A star-studded roster of investors took part in a $5 million funding round for Lolli, a company that rewards online shoppers with a small amount of bitcoin when they make a purchase.

On Wednesday, Lolli announced it completed its Pre-Series A funding. Alexis Ohanian’s venture capital fund-Seven Seven Six led the round. Youtube creators Cody Ko and Casey Neistat also participated in the round, and so did Night Media, the management company that represents MrBeast, plus additional investors.

Lolli is a browser extension and mobile app that allows people to earn bitcoin when they shop online. The company partners with over 1,000 brands including Kroger, Sephora, Macy’s, Nike, and Postmates. When users shop these brands through the Lolli extension, the company rewards the user with a small amount of bitcoin. The company sees this as a way to bring more investors into the crypto space by allowing them to slowly build their bitcoin holdings.

The funding will contribute to the mobile app development and international expansion of Lolli, according to a press release. At the moment, only residents of the United States can become Lolli members.

The bitcoin rewards company also raised $3 million in a Seed Round in May 2020.

“The retail industry is facing an inflection point and the future lies with providing easily accessible crypto options,” said Ohanian, who is the co-founder of Reddit and founder of Seven Seven Six. “I am excited to see how Lolli’s mobile app development and international expansion will unlock new opportunities for both consumers and retailers alike. As an early investor in Coinbase, I believe Lolli has the potential to not only accelerate the future of bitcoin adoption, but also to fundamentally change the landscape for future generations.”

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A legendary venture-capital firm bought Airbnb shares for 1 cent each in 2009

Airbnb IPO
The Airbnb logo is displayed on the Nasdaq digital billboard in Times Square in New York on December 10, 2020.

  • Airbnb’s stock price soared to about $145 during its stock-market debut on Thursday.
  • Sequoia Capital invested $585,000 in the home-rental platform for around 58 million shares in 2009, paying about 1 cent a share, The Information reported.
  • The venture-capital fund has plowed a total of $280 million into Airbnb over the years, giving it a stake worth almost $12 billion at the close on Thursday.
  • Sequoia backed Airbnb when it had only 2,500 listings on its website; it had 5.6 million active listings at the end of September.
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Airbnb’s stock price more than doubled to about $145 on Thursday, valuing the home-rental platform at north of $85 billion on its first day of trading. One of the company’s earliest backers paid just one cent a share when it invested in April 2009.

Sequoia Capital – a storied venture-capital fund that counts Apple, Google, and Instagram among its past investments – handed Airbnb a seed investment of $585,000 for around 58 million shares, according to The Information. It participated in several later funding rounds, ultimately spending about $280 million for nearly 82 million shares, which were worth close to $12 billion on Thursday.

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The return on Sequoia’s initial investment is astronomical, and its total $280 million bet has paid off handsomely too. It spent an average of $3.40 on shares worth about $145 each on Thursday – a roughly 43-fold gain.

Sequoia has been richly rewarded for recognizing the potential of Airbnb when it was less than a year old. When it first invested almost $600,000, Airbnb had 2,500 listings and 10,000 registered users, the firm said in a blog post. The platform had 5.6 million active listings and more than 4 million hosts as of September 30 this year.

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