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Other Takes and Opinions

Scooter Startups Take Steps to Curb Inefficiencies, Address Safety Concerns

  • After investing about $3 billion in both companies, after numerous growth related issues, investors are looking to improve profitability.
  • Safety concerns that the scooters could endanger riders continue.
  • Lime and Bird have spent much of the past year revamping global operations to cut costs. Lime announced they would lay off 14% of its workforce and pull out of a dozen markets in the U.S. and overseas. In October, Bird said it would turn its focus from growth to shoring up losses.
  • Supply chain issues and inability to forecast demand caused scooter and parts shortages.
  • From the outside, our view is that these businesses are severely challenged across many aspects of their business model.  Stay tuned.

Fairway Files for Bankruptcy, Proposes Sale to Village Super Market

  • This is too bad as Fairway was almost a daily stop for the best fresh produce and meats  for those of us who lived in NYC.
  • Article says combination of debt load and "on-line" competition took its toll.  Although we find this surprising as a visit to a Fairway cannot be replicated by an on-line service.
  • Looks like Village Super Markets is buying some of the stores.   Hopefully they keep the brand intact.

Raising Capital Gets Tougher for Real-Estate Funds

  • Good article on the state of the institutional real estate funding market.
  • After 12 years of generally rising real estate values, this adjustment is healthy and good to see.  Hopefully, the slow down isn't years to late.  Time will tell.
  • With "only" $18 billion of capital raised for real estate dedicated funds in 4Q-19, this is the first quarterly drop since 2013.
  • Apparently investors who generally target high teens 19% IRRs are having more difficultly finding deals and are becoming more cautious.  As an aside, having gone through multiple real estate cycles, investors have been targeting about 20% "Pro Forma" IRRs for 30 years, including the years before each downturn. The key words being "Pro Forma".
  • Article cites that some execs think the fund flow will rebound with low interest rates and higher stock prices.

Topgolf Is a Valuable Resource for the Sport of Golf

  • We are not golfers, but we do hear from friends who are that are big fans of Topgolf.  The concept has been a hit with a combination of bringing new technology, music, food and alcohol to a sport that has had flat line to declining growth.
  • According to the article, the Dallas based company has been talking to bankers about going public.

Charles Schwab to Buy KKR? That is Just One of 10 ‘Outrageous’ Predictions for...

  • Interesting predictions from Chairman of large private equity firm.
  • Main themes include: expanding footprint of private equity, as Brexit progresses this year large Britain based financial firms will opt to go private vs. taking on the uncertainty and trading of private secondary shares will expand.

Tech Companies Boost Lower Manhattan Office Market

  • For those of us who lived through 9/11 while working on the Street, this is really great to see. As tech, advertising, media and information companies flow into lower Manhattan in search of lower cost space, the numbers are impressive.
  • New leases in 2019 totaled 7.3 million square feet, the largest since the late 90's dot com era with market rent rates moving up 13%.

Health Scares Slow the Rollout of 5G Cell Towers in Europe

  • Public/Municipal concerns with the impact of higher energy 5G has caused delays in rolling out in Europe (there are similar concerns in the U.S.)
  • Public health studies have not linked medically the exposure of high levels of electromagnetic radiation. Apparently many aren't convinced.
  • The FCC in the U.S. is firmly behind the 5G rollout seeing it as a national priority saying its illegal for local governments to set-up moratoriums.  While governments in Europe have strict guidelines setting limits on the amount of energy a telecom mast can use causing carriers there to modify rollout plans.

Two Major Conferences this Week Will Increase Stock Info Flow

  • The JP Morgan Healthcare Conference started today through Thursday in San Francisco.
  • The ICR Retail Conference started today and runs through Wednesday in Orlando.

A Bain Capital Ventures Partner Says Construction Tech is Hot but Short-Term-Rental Startups are...

  • Interesting look by Bain partner at increasing investment flow into tech that expedites the cost sand timing of construction.  Fragmented industry that has been lagging the benefits of new tech.
  • Questions prospects and valuations of companies short-term rentals and co-working.
  • She thinks the rental of single family rentals will progress to being a sustained real estate asset class.

CES 2020 was Packed with Technology, Some of It On the More ‘Interesting’ Side.

  • Entertaining rundown of some of the more "interesting" gadgets this year at CES.
  • Including the picture taking Ballie, AI robot Neon, self dispensing toilet paper gadget RollBot and zero gravity massage chairs.