Day Trading Introduction
Historically, only large financial institutions, brokerages, and trading houses could actively trade in the stock market. With instant global news dissemination and low commissions, developments such as discount brokerages and online trading have leveled the playing—or should we say trading—field. It's never been easier for retail investors to trade like pros thanks to trading platforms like Robinhood and zero commissions.
Day trading is a lucrative career (as long as you do it properly). But it can be difficult for newbies, especially if they aren't fully prepared with a strategy. Even the most experienced day traders can lose money.
So, how does day trading work?
Day Trading Basics
Day trading is the practice of buying and selling a security on the same trading day. It occurs in all markets, but is most common in forex and stock markets. Day traders are typically well educated and well funded. For small price movements in highly liquid stocks or currencies, they use leverage and short-term trading strategies.
Day traders are tuned into short-term market events. News trading is a popular strategy. Scheduled announcements like economic data, corporate earnings, or interest rates are influenced by market psychology. Markets react when expectations are not met or exceeded, usually with large moves, which can help day traders.
Intraday trading strategies abound. Among these are:
- Scalping: This strategy seeks to profit from minor price changes throughout the day.
- Range trading: To determine buy and sell levels, range traders use support and resistance levels.
- News-based trading exploits the increased volatility around news events.
- High-frequency trading (HFT): The use of sophisticated algorithms to exploit small or short-term market inefficiencies.
A Disputed Practice
Day trading's profit potential is often debated on Wall Street. Scammers have enticed novices by promising huge returns in a short time. Sadly, the notion that trading is a get-rich-quick scheme persists. Some daytrade without knowledge. But some day traders succeed despite—or perhaps because of—the risks.
Day trading is frowned upon by many professional money managers. They claim that the reward rarely outweighs the risk. Those who day trade, however, claim there are profits to be made. Profitable day trading is possible, but it is risky and requires considerable skill. Moreover, economists and financial professionals agree that active trading strategies tend to underperform passive index strategies over time, especially when fees and taxes are factored in.
Day trading is not for everyone and is risky. It also requires a thorough understanding of how markets work and various short-term profit strategies. Though day traders' success stories often get a lot of media attention, keep in mind that most day traders are not wealthy: Many will fail, while others will barely survive. Also, while skill is important, bad luck can sink even the most experienced day trader.
Characteristics of a Day Trader
Experts in the field are typically well-established professional day traders.
They usually have extensive market knowledge. Here are some prerequisites for successful day trading.
Market knowledge and experience
Those who try to day-trade without understanding market fundamentals frequently lose. Day traders should be able to perform technical analysis and read charts. Charts can be misleading if not fully understood. Do your homework and know the ins and outs of the products you trade.
Day traders only use risk capital they can lose. This not only saves them money but also helps them trade without emotion. To profit from intraday price movements, a lot of capital is often required. Most day traders use high levels of leverage in margin accounts, and volatile market swings can trigger large margin calls on short notice.
A trader needs a competitive advantage. Swing trading, arbitrage, and trading news are all common day trading strategies. They tweak these strategies until they consistently profit and limit losses.
Type | Risk | Reward
Swing Trading | High | High
Arbitrage | Low | Medium
Trading News | Medium | Medium
Mergers/Acquisitions | Medium | High
A profitable strategy is useless without discipline. Many day traders lose money because they don't meet their own criteria. “Plan the trade and trade the plan,” they say. Success requires discipline.
Day traders profit from market volatility. For a day trader, a stock's daily movement is appealing. This could be due to an earnings report, investor sentiment, or even general economic or company news.
Day traders also prefer highly liquid stocks because they can change positions without affecting the stock's price. Traders may buy a stock if the price rises. If the price falls, a trader may decide to sell short to profit.
A day trader wants to trade a stock that moves (a lot).
Day Trading for a Living
Professional day traders can be self-employed or employed by a larger institution.
Most day traders work for large firms like hedge funds and banks' proprietary trading desks. These traders benefit from direct counterparty lines, a trading desk, large capital and leverage, and expensive analytical software (among other advantages). By taking advantage of arbitrage and news events, these traders can profit from less risky day trades before individual traders react.
Individual traders often manage other people’s money or simply trade with their own. They rarely have access to a trading desk, but they frequently have strong ties to a brokerage (due to high commissions) and other resources. However, their limited scope prevents them from directly competing with institutional day traders. Not to mention more risks. Individuals typically day trade highly liquid stocks using technical analysis and swing trades, with some leverage.
Day trading necessitates access to some of the most complex financial products and services. Day traders usually need:
Access to a trading desk
Traders who work for large institutions or manage large sums of money usually use this. The trading or dealing desk provides these traders with immediate order execution, which is critical during volatile market conditions. For example, when an acquisition is announced, day traders interested in merger arbitrage can place orders before the rest of the market.
The majority of day trading opportunities come from news, so being the first to know when something significant happens is critical. It has access to multiple leading newswires, constant news coverage, and software that continuously analyzes news sources for important stories.
Most day traders rely on expensive trading software. Technical traders and swing traders rely on software more than news. This software's features include:
Automatic pattern recognition: It can identify technical indicators like flags and channels, or more complex indicators like Elliott Wave patterns.
Genetic and neural applications: These programs use neural networks and genetic algorithms to improve trading systems and make more accurate price predictions.
Broker integration: Some of these apps even connect directly to the brokerage, allowing for instant and even automatic trade execution. This reduces trading emotion and improves execution times.
Backtesting: This allows traders to look at past performance of a strategy to predict future performance. Remember that past results do not always predict future results.
Together, these tools give traders a competitive advantage. It's easy to see why inexperienced traders lose money without them. A day trader's earnings potential is also affected by the market in which they trade, their capital, and their time commitment.
Day Trading Risks
Day trading can be intimidating for the average investor due to the numerous risks involved. The SEC highlights the following risks of day trading:
Because day traders typically lose money in their first months of trading and many never make profits, they should only risk money they can afford to lose.
Trading is a full-time job that is stressful and costly: Observing dozens of ticker quotes and price fluctuations to spot market trends requires intense concentration. Day traders also spend a lot on commissions, training, and computers.
Day traders heavily rely on borrowing: Day-trading strategies rely on borrowed funds to make profits, which is why many day traders lose everything and end up in debt.
Avoid easy profit promises: Avoid “hot tips” and “expert advice” from day trading newsletters and websites, and be wary of day trading educational seminars and classes.
Should You Day Trade?
As stated previously, day trading as a career can be difficult and demanding.
- First, you must be familiar with the trading world and know your risk tolerance, capital, and goals.
- Day trading also takes a lot of time. You'll need to put in a lot of time if you want to perfect your strategies and make money. Part-time or whenever isn't going to cut it. You must be fully committed.
- If you decide trading is for you, remember to start small. Concentrate on a few stocks rather than jumping into the market blindly. Enlarging your trading strategy can result in big losses.
- Finally, keep your cool and avoid trading emotionally. The more you can do that, the better. Keeping a level head allows you to stay focused and on track.
If you follow these simple rules, you may be on your way to a successful day trading career.
Is Day Trading Illegal?
Day trading is not illegal or unethical, but it is risky. Because most day-trading strategies use margin accounts, day traders risk losing more than they invest and becoming heavily in debt.
How Can Arbitrage Be Used in Day Trading?
Arbitrage is the simultaneous purchase and sale of a security in multiple markets to profit from small price differences. Because arbitrage ensures that any deviation in an asset's price from its fair value is quickly corrected, arbitrage opportunities are rare.
Why Don’t Day Traders Hold Positions Overnight?
Day traders rarely hold overnight positions for several reasons: Overnight trades require more capital because most brokers require higher margin; stocks can gap up or down on overnight news, causing big trading losses; and holding a losing position overnight in the hope of recovering some or all of the losses may be against the trader's core day-trading philosophy.
What Are Day Trader Margin Requirements?
Regulation D requires that a pattern day trader client of a broker-dealer maintain at all times $25,000 in equity in their account.
How Much Buying Power Does Day Trading Have?
Buying power is the total amount of funds an investor has available to trade securities. FINRA rules allow a pattern day trader to trade up to four times their maintenance margin excess as of the previous day's close.
Although controversial, day trading can be a profitable strategy. Day traders, both institutional and retail, keep the markets efficient and liquid. Though day trading is still popular among novice traders, it should be left to those with the necessary skills and resources.
More on Economics & Investing
3 months ago
A student trader from the United States made $110 million in one month and rose to prominence on Wall Street.
Genius or lucky?
From the title, you might think I'm selling advertising for a financial influencer, a dubious trading site, or a training organization to attract clients. I'm suspicious. Better safe than sorry.
But not here.
Jake Freeman, 20, made $110 million in a month, according to the Financial Times. At 18, he ran for president. He made his name in markets, not politics. Two years later, he's Wall Street's prince. Interview requests flood the prodigy.
Jake Freeman bought 5 million Bed Bath & Beyond Group shares for $5.5 in July 2022 and sold them for $27 a month later. He thought the stock might double. Since speculation died down, he sold well. The stock fell 40.5% to 11 dollars on Friday, 19 August 2022. On August 22, 2022, it fell 16% to $9.
Smallholders have been buying the stock for weeks and will lose heavily if it falls further. Bed Bath & Beyond is the second most popular stock after Foot Locker, ahead of GameStop and Apple.
Jake Freeman earned $110 million thanks to a significant stock market flurry.
Online broker customers aren't the only ones with jitters. By June 2022, Ken Griffin's Citadel and Stephen Mandel's Lone Pine Capital held nearly a third of the company's capital. Did big managers sell before the stock plummeted?
Recent stock movements (derivatives) and rumors could prompt a SEC investigation.
Jake Freeman wrote to the board of directors after his investment to call for a turnaround, given the company's persistent problems and short sellers. The bathroom and kitchen products distribution group's stock soared in July 2022 due to renewed buying by private speculators, who made it one of their meme stocks with AMC and GameStop.
Second-quarter 2022 results and financial health worsened. He didn't celebrate his miraculous operation in a nightclub. He told a British newspaper, "I'm shocked." His parents dined in New York. He returned to Los Angeles to study math and economics.
Jake Freeman founded Freeman Capital Management with his savings and $25 million from family, friends, and acquaintances. They are the ones who are entitled to the $110 million he raised in one month. Will his investors pocket and withdraw all or part of their profits or will they trust the young prodigy for new stunts on Wall Street?
His operation should attract new clients. Well-known hedge funds may hire him.
Jake Freeman didn't listen to gurus or former traders. At 17, he interned at a quantitative finance and derivatives hedge fund, Volaris. At 13, he began investing with his pharmaceutical executive uncle. All countries have increased their Google searches for the young trader in the last week.
Naturally, his success has inspired resentment.
His success stirs jealousy, and he's attacked on social media. On Reddit, people who lost money on Bed Bath & Beyond, Jake Freeman's fortune, are mourning.
Several conspiracy theories circulate about him, including that he doesn't exist or is working for a Taiwanese amusement park.
If all 20 million American students had the same trading skills, they would have generated $1.46 trillion. Jake Freeman is unique. Apprentice traders' careers are often short, disillusioning, and tragic.
Two years ago, 20-year-old Robinhood client Alexander Kearns committed suicide after losing $750,000 trading options. Great traders start young. Michael Platt of BlueCrest invested in British stocks at age 12 under his grandmother's supervision and made a £30,000 fortune. Paul Tudor Jones started trading before he turned 18 with his uncle. Warren Buffett, at age 10, was discussing investments with Goldman Sachs' head. Oracle of Omaha tells all.
4 months ago
I created BAW-IV Trading because I was short on money.
More retail traders means faster, more sophisticated, and more successful methods.
Only requires a laptop and an internet connection.
We'll use OpenBB's research platform for data/analysis.
Pricing and execution on Options-Quant
You don't need to know the arithmetic details to use this method.
Black-Scholes is a popular option pricing model. It's best for pricing European options. European options are only exercisable at expiration, unlike American options. American options are always exercisable.
American options carry a premium to cover for the risk of early exercise. The Black-Scholes model doesn't account for this premium, hence it can't price genuine, traded American options.
Barone-Adesi-Whaley (BAW) model. BAW modifies Black-Scholes. It accounts for exercise risk premium and stock dividends. It adds the option's early exercise value to the Black-Scholes value.
The trader need not know the formulaic derivations of this model.
This strategy targets implied volatility. First, we'll locate liquid options that expire within 30 days and have minimal implied volatility.
After selecting the option that meets the requirements, we price it to get the BAW implied volatility (we choose BAW because it's a more accurate Black-Scholes model). If estimated implied volatility is larger than market volatility, we'll capture the spread.
(Calculated IV — Market IV) = (Profit)
Some approaches to target implied volatility are pricey and inaccessible to individual investors. The best and most cost-effective alternative is to acquire a straddle and delta hedge. This may sound terrifying and pricey, but as shown below, it's much less so.
First, we want to find our ideal option, so we use OpenBB terminal to screen for options that:
Have an IV at least 5% lower than the 20-day historical IV
Are no more than 5% out-of-the-money
Expire in less than 30 days
stocks/options/screen/set low_IV/scr --export Output.csv
This uses the screener function to screen for options that satisfy the above criteria, which we specify in the low IV preset (more on custom presets here). It then saves the matching results to a csv(Excel) file for viewing and analysis.
Stick to liquid names like SPY, AAPL, and QQQ since getting out of a position is just as crucial as getting in. Smaller, illiquid names have higher inefficiencies, which could restrict total profits.
We calculate IV using the BAWbisection model (the bisection is a method of calculating IV, more can be found here.) We price the IV first.
According to the BAW model, implied volatility at this level should be priced at 26.90%. When re-pricing the put, IV is 24.34%, up 3%.
Now it's evident. We must purchase the straddle (long the call and long the put) assuming the computed implied volatility is more appropriate and efficient than the market's. We just want to speculate on volatility, not price fluctuations, thus we delta hedge.
The Fun Starts
We buy both options for $7.65. (x100 multiplier). Initial delta is 2. For every dollar the stock price swings up or down, our position value moves $2.
We want delta to be 0 to avoid price vulnerability. A delta of 0 suggests our position's value won't change from underlying price changes. Being delta-hedged allows us to profit/lose from implied volatility. Shorting 2 shares makes us delta-neutral.
That's delta hedging. (Share price * shares traded) = $330.7 to become delta-neutral. You may have noted that delta is not truly 0.00. This is common since delta-hedging means getting as near to 0 as feasible, since it is rare for deltas to align at 0.00.
Now we're vulnerable to changes in Vega (and Gamma, but given we're dynamically hedging, it's not a big risk), or implied volatility. We wanted to gamble that the position's IV would climb by at least 2%, so we'll maintain it delta-hedged and watch IV.
Because the underlying moves continually, the option's delta moves continuously. A trader can short/long 5 AAPL shares at most. Paper trading lets you practice delta-hedging. Being quick-footed will help with this tactic.
As expected, implied volatility rose. By 10 minutes before market closure, the call's implied vol rose to 27% and the put's to 24%. This allowed us to sell the call for $4.95 and the put for $4.35, creating a profit of $165.
You may pull historical data to see how this trade performed. Note the implied volatility and pricing in the final options chain for August 5, 2022 (the position date).
Congratulations, that was a doozy. To reiterate, we identified tickers prone to increased implied volatility by screening OpenBB's low IV setting. We double-checked the IV by plugging the price into Options-BAW Quant's model. When volatility was off, we bought a straddle and delta-hedged it. Finally, implied volatility returned to a normal level, and we profited on the spread.
The retail trading space is very quickly catching up to that of institutions. Commissions and fees used to kill this method, but now they cost less than $5. Watching momentum, technical analysis, and now quantitative strategies evolve is intriguing.
I'm not linked with these sites and receive no financial benefit from my writing.
Tell me how your experience goes and how I helped; I love success tales.
10 months ago
The latest “bubble indicator” readings.
As you know, I like to turn my intuition into decision rules (principles) that can be back-tested and automated to create a portfolio of alpha bets. I use one for bubbles. Having seen many bubbles in my 50+ years of investing, I described what makes a bubble and how to identify them in markets—not just stocks.
A bubble market has a high degree of the following:
- High prices compared to traditional values (e.g., by taking the present value of their cash flows for the duration of the asset and comparing it with their interest rates).
- Conditons incompatible with long-term growth (e.g., extrapolating past revenue and earnings growth rates late in the cycle).
- Many new and inexperienced buyers were drawn in by the perceived hot market.
- Broad bullish sentiment.
- Debt financing a large portion of purchases.
- Lots of forward and speculative purchases to profit from price rises (e.g., inventories that are more than needed, contracted forward purchases, etc.).
I use these criteria to assess all markets for bubbles. I have periodically shown you these for stocks and the stock market.
What Was Shown in January Versus Now
I will first describe the picture in words, then show it in charts, and compare it to the last update in January.
As of January, the bubble indicator showed that a) the US equity market was in a moderate bubble, but not an extreme one (ie., 70 percent of way toward the highest bubble, which occurred in the late 1990s and late 1920s), and b) the emerging tech companies (ie. As well, the unprecedented flood of liquidity post-COVID financed other bubbly behavior (e.g. SPACs, IPO boom, big pickup in options activity), making things bubbly. I showed which stocks were in bubbles and created an index of those stocks, which I call “bubble stocks.”
Those bubble stocks have popped. They fell by a third last year, while the S&P 500 remained flat. In light of these and other market developments, it is not necessarily true that now is a good time to buy emerging tech stocks.
The fact that they aren't at a bubble extreme doesn't mean they are safe or that it's a good time to get long. Our metrics still show that US stocks are overvalued. Once popped, bubbles tend to overcorrect to the downside rather than settle at “normal” prices.
The following charts paint the picture. The first shows the US equity market bubble gauge/indicator going back to 1900, currently at the 40% percentile. The charts also zoom in on the gauge in recent years, as well as the late 1920s and late 1990s bubbles (during both of these cases the gauge reached 100 percent ).
The chart below depicts the average bubble gauge for the most bubbly companies in 2020. Those readings are down significantly.
The charts below compare the performance of a basket of emerging tech bubble stocks to the S&P 500. Prices have fallen noticeably, giving up most of their post-COVID gains.
The following charts show the price action of the bubble slice today and in the 1920s and 1990s. These charts show the same market dynamics and two key indicators. These are just two examples of how a lot of debt financing stock ownership coupled with a tightening typically leads to a bubble popping.
Everything driving the bubbles in this market segment is classic—the same drivers that drove the 1920s bubble and the 1990s bubble. For instance, in the last couple months, it was how tightening can act to prick the bubble. Review this case study of the 1920s stock bubble (starting on page 49) from my book Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises to grasp these dynamics.
The following charts show the components of the US stock market bubble gauge. Since this is a proprietary indicator, I will only show you some of the sub-aggregate readings and some indicators.
Each of these six influences is measured using a number of stats. This is how I approach the stock market. These gauges are combined into aggregate indices by security and then for the market as a whole. The table below shows the current readings of these US equity market indicators. It compares current conditions for US equities to historical conditions. These readings suggest that we’re out of a bubble.
1. How High Are Prices Relatively?
This price gauge for US equities is currently around the 50th percentile.
2. Is price reduction unsustainable?
This measure calculates the earnings growth rate required to outperform bonds. This is calculated by adding up the readings of individual securities. This indicator is currently near the 60th percentile for the overall market, higher than some of our other readings. Profit growth discounted in stocks remains high.
Even more so in the US software sector. Analysts' earnings growth expectations for this sector have slowed, but remain high historically. P/Es have reversed COVID gains but remain high historical.
3. How many new buyers (i.e., non-existing buyers) entered the market?
Expansion of new entrants is often indicative of a bubble. According to historical accounts, this was true in the 1990s equity bubble and the 1929 bubble (though our data for this and other gauges doesn't go back that far). A flood of new retail investors into popular stocks, which by other measures appeared to be in a bubble, pushed this gauge above the 90% mark in 2020. The pace of retail activity in the markets has recently slowed to pre-COVID levels.
4. How Broadly Bullish Is Sentiment?
The more people who have invested, the less resources they have to keep investing, and the more likely they are to sell. Market sentiment is now significantly negative.
5. Are Purchases Being Financed by High Leverage?
Leveraged purchases weaken the buying foundation and expose it to forced selling in a downturn. The leverage gauge, which considers option positions as a form of leverage, is now around the 50% mark.
6. To What Extent Have Buyers Made Exceptionally Extended Forward Purchases?
Looking at future purchases can help assess whether expectations have become overly optimistic. This indicator is particularly useful in commodity and real estate markets, where forward purchases are most obvious. In the equity markets, I look at indicators like capital expenditure, or how much businesses (and governments) invest in infrastructure, factories, etc. It reflects whether businesses are projecting future demand growth. Like other gauges, this one is at the 40th percentile.
What one does with it is a tactical choice. While the reversal has been significant, future earnings discounting remains high historically. In either case, bubbles tend to overcorrect (sell off more than the fundamentals suggest) rather than simply deflate. But I wanted to share these updated readings with you in light of recent market activity.
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8 months ago
A Simple Guide to NFT Blockchains
Ethereum's blockchain rules NFTs. Many consider it the one-stop shop for NFTs, and it's become the most talked-about and trafficked blockchain in existence.
Other blockchains are becoming popular in NFTs. Crypto-artists and NFT enthusiasts have sought new places to mint and trade NFTs due to Ethereum's high transaction costs and environmental impact.
When choosing a blockchain to mint on, there are several factors to consider. Size, creator costs, consumer spending habits, security, and community input are important. We've created a high-level summary of blockchains for NFTs to help clarify the fast-paced world of web3 tech.
Ethereum currently has the most NFTs. It's decentralized and provides financial and legal services without intermediaries. It houses popular NFT marketplaces (OpenSea), projects (CryptoPunks and the Bored Ape Yacht Club), and artists (Pak and Beeple).
It's also expensive and energy-intensive. This is because Ethereum works using a Proof-of-Work (PoW) mechanism. PoW requires computers to solve puzzles to add blocks and transactions to the blockchain. Solving these puzzles requires a lot of computer power, resulting in astronomical energy loss.
You should consider this blockchain first due to its popularity, security, decentralization, and ease of use.
Solana is a fast programmable blockchain. Its proof-of-history and proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanisms eliminate complex puzzles. Reduced validation times and fees result.
PoS users stake their cryptocurrency to become a block validator. Validators get SOL. This encourages and rewards users to become stakers. PoH works with PoS to cryptographically verify time between events. Solana blockchain ensures transactions are in order and found by the correct leader (validator).
Solana's PoS and PoH mechanisms keep transaction fees and times low. Solana isn't as popular as Ethereum, so there are fewer NFT marketplaces and blockchain traders.
Tezos is a greener blockchain. Tezos rose in 2021. Hic et Nunc was hailed as an economic alternative to Ethereum-centric marketplaces until Nov. 14, 2021.
Similar to Solana, Tezos uses a PoS consensus mechanism and only a PoS mechanism to reduce computational work. This blockchain uses two million times less energy than Ethereum. It's cheaper than Ethereum (but does cost more than Solana).
Tezos is a good place to start minting NFTs in bulk. Objkt is the largest Tezos marketplace.
Flow is a high-performance blockchain for NFTs, games, and decentralized apps (dApps). Flow is built with scalability in mind, so billions of people could interact with NFTs on the blockchain.
Flow became the NBA's blockchain partner in 2019. Flow, a product of Dapper labs (the team behind CryptoKitties), launched and hosts NBA Top Shot, making the blockchain integral to the popularity of non-fungible tokens.
Flow uses PoS to verify transactions, like Tezos. Developers are working on a model to handle 10,000 transactions per second on the blockchain. Low transaction fees.
Flow NFTs are tradeable on Blocktobay, OpenSea, Rarible, Foundation, and other platforms. NBA, NFL, UFC, and others have launched NFT marketplaces on Flow. Flow isn't as popular as Ethereum, resulting in fewer NFT marketplaces and blockchain traders.
Asset Exchange (WAX)
WAX is king of virtual collectibles. WAX is popular for digitalized versions of legacy collectibles like trading cards, figurines, memorabilia, etc.
Wax uses a PoS mechanism, but also creates carbon offset NFTs and partners with Climate Care. Like Flow, WAX transaction fees are low, and network fees are redistributed to the WAX community as an incentive to collectors.
WAX marketplaces host Topps, NASCAR, Hot Wheels, and cult classic film franchises like Godzilla, The Princess Bride, and Spiderman.
Binance Smart Chain
BSC is another good option for balancing fees and performance. High-speed transactions and low fees hurt decentralization. BSC is most centralized.
Binance Smart Chain uses Proof of Staked Authority (PoSA) to support a short block time and low fees. The 21 validators needed to run the exchange switch every 24 hours. 11 of the 21 validators are directly connected to the Binance Crypto Exchange, according to reports.
While many in the crypto and NFT ecosystems dislike centralization, the BSC NFT market picked up speed in 2021. OpenBiSea, AirNFTs, JuggerWorld, and others are gaining popularity despite not having as robust an ecosystem as Ethereum.
6 months ago
Before 2021, most startups had excessive valuations. It is currently causing issues.
Higher startup valuations are often favorable for all parties. High valuations show a business's potential. New customers and talent are attracted. They earn respect.
Everyone benefits if a company's valuation rises.
Founders and investors have always been incentivized to overestimate a company's value.
Post-money valuations were inflated by 2021 market expectations and the valuation model's mechanisms.
Founders must understand both levers to handle a normalizing market.
2021, the year of miracles
2021 must've seemed miraculous to entrepreneurs, employees, and VCs. Valuations rose, and funding resumed after the first Covid-19 epidemic caution.
In 2021, VC investments increased from $335B to $643B. 518 new worldwide unicorns vs. 134 in 2020; 951 US IPOs vs. 431.
Things can change quickly, as 2020-21 showed.
Rising interest rates, geopolitical developments, and normalizing technology conditions drive down share prices and tech company market caps in 2022. Zoom, the poster-child of early lockdown success, is down 37% since 1st Jan.
Once-inflated valuations can become a problem in a normalizing market, especially for founders, employees, and early investors.
the reason why startups are always overvalued
To see why inflated valuations are a problem, consider one of its causes.
Private company values only fluctuate following a new investment round, unlike publicly-traded corporations. The startup's new value is calculated simply:
(Latest round share price) x (total number of company shares)
This is the industry standard Post-Money Valuation model.
Let’s illustrate how it works with an example. If a VC invests $10M for 1M shares (at $10/share), and the company has 10M shares after the round, its Post-Money Valuation is $100M (10/share x 10M shares).
This approach might seem like the most natural way to assess a business, but the model often unintentionally overstates the underlying value of the company even if the share price paid by the investor is fair. All shares aren't equal.
New investors in a corporation will always try to minimize their downside risk, or the amount they lose if things go wrong. New investors will try to negotiate better terms and pay a premium.
How the value of a struggling SpaceX increased
SpaceX's 2008 Series D is an example. Despite the financial crisis and unsuccessful rocket launches, the company's Post-Money Valuation was 36% higher after the investment round. Why?
Series D SpaceX shares were protected. In case of liquidation, Series D investors were guaranteed a 2x return before other shareholders.
Due to downside protection, investors were willing to pay a higher price for this new share class.
The Post-Money Valuation model overpriced SpaceX because it viewed all the shares as equal (they weren't).
Why entrepreneurs, workers, and early investors stand to lose the most
Post-Money Valuation is an effective and sufficient method for assessing a startup's valuation, despite not taking share class disparities into consideration.
In a robust market, where the firm valuation will certainly expand with the next fundraising round or exit, the inflated value is of little significance.
Fairness endures. If a corporation leaves at a greater valuation, each stakeholder will receive a proportional distribution. (i.e., 5% of a $100M corporation yields $5M).
SpaceX's inherent overvaluation was never a problem. Had it been sold for less than its Post-Money Valuation, some shareholders, including founders, staff, and early investors, would have seen their ownership drop.
The unforgiving world of 2022
In 2022, founders, employees, and investors who benefited from inflated values will face below-valuation exits and down-rounds.
For them, 2021 will be a curse, not a blessing.
Some tech giants are worried. Klarna's valuation fell from $45B (Oct 21) to $30B (Jun 22), Canvas from $40B to $27B, and GoPuffs from $17B to $8.3B.
Shazam and Blue Apron have to exit or IPO at a cheaper price. Premium share classes are protected, while others receive less. The same goes for bankrupts.
Those who continue at lower valuations will lose reputation and talent. When their value declines by half, generous employee stock options become less enticing, and their ability to return anything is questioned.
What can we infer about the present situation?
Such techniques to enhance your company's value or stop a normalizing market are fiction.
The current situation is a painful reminder for entrepreneurs and a crucial lesson for future firms.
The devastating market fall of the previous six months has taught us one thing:
Keep in mind that any valuation is speculative. Money Post A startup's valuation is a highly simplified approximation of its true value, particularly in the early phases when it lacks significant income or a cutting-edge product. It is merely a projection of the future and a hypothetical meter. Until it is achieved by an exit, a valuation is nothing more than a number on paper.
Assume the value of your company is lower than it was in the past. Your previous valuation might not be accurate now due to substantial changes in the startup financing markets. There is little reason to think that your company's value will remain the same given the 50%+ decline in many newly listed IT companies. Recognize how the market situation is changing and use caution.
Recognize the importance of the stake you hold. Each share class has a unique value that varies. Know the sort of share class you own and how additional contractual provisions affect the market value of your security. Frameworks have been provided by Metrick and Yasuda (Yale & UC) and Gornall and Strebulaev (Stanford) for comprehending the terms that affect investors' cash-flow rights upon withdrawal. As a result, you will be able to more accurately evaluate your firm and determine the worth of each share class.
Be wary of approving excessively protective share terms.
The trade-offs should be considered while negotiating subsequent rounds. Accepting punitive contractual terms could first seem like a smart option in order to uphold your inflated worth, but you should proceed with caution. Such provisions ALWAYS result in misaligned shareholders, with common shareholders (such as you and your staff) at the bottom of the list.
1 month ago
Shifting from Obsidian to Tana?
I relocated my notes database from Roam Research to Obsidian earlier this year expecting to stay there for a long. Obsidian is a terrific tool, and I explained my move in that post.
Moving everything to Tana faster than intended. Tana? Why?
Tana is just another note-taking app, but it does it differently. Three note-taking apps existed before Tana:
simple note-taking programs like Apple Notes and Google Keep.
Roam Research and Obsidian are two graph-style applications that assisted connect your notes.
You can create effective tables and charts with data-focused tools like Notion and Airtable.
Tana is the first great software I've encountered that combines graph and data notes. Google Keep will certainly remain my rapid notes app of preference. This Shu Omi video gives a good overview:
Tana handles everything I did in Obsidian with books, people, and blog entries, plus more. I can find book quotes, log my workouts, and connect my thoughts more easily. It should make writing blog entries notes easier, so we'll see.
Tana is now invite-only, but if you're interested, visit their site and sign up. As Shu noted in the video above, the product hasn't been published yet but seems quite polished.
Whether I stay with Tana or not, I'm excited to see where these apps are going and how they can benefit us all.