Chris’ note: Last Wednesday, colleague and early-stage tech investor Jeff Brown hosted an online event that has been hugely popular with your fellow readers. It’s about a way to invest in the world’s best tech companies before they go public. He also made a big announcement: He’s launched a new investment advisory all about this opportunity in early-stage tech. If you missed it, catch the free replay of Jeff’s event here.
Today, I’m sharing the second part of a series we began last week on Jeff’s 2021 predictions. Pay close attention. These tech megatrends will offer some of the best investment opportunities this year…
Each year, I publish predictions about what I see coming in the different areas of technology I follow. Regular readers are familiar with many of these exciting tech trends – 5G networks, biotech, artificial intelligence (AI), and many more.
Each of these technologies offers investment opportunities we don’t want to miss out on.
And we have a lot to look forward to in the coming year…
I wrote to you last Tuesday with some of these predictions. Today, I bring you five more.
Here’s what I see coming in the next 12 months…
AI is one of the most important bleeding-edge tech trends I follow for my readers. It’s speeding up innovation in many other areas of technology. One key area I’m watching is autonomous vehicles.
We saw huge progress in this space in 2020. I predict 2021 will be the year fully autonomous technology is deployed.
It won’t be worldwide. It won’t even be nationwide. But we’ll start to see Tesla (TSLA) and its rivals demonstrate self-driving cars that can operate in almost any conditions – bad weather, city streets, gravel roads, and so on.
That leads me to my next prediction…
Waymo is the self-driving-technology division of Google (GOOG). I predict we’ll see the first major licensing deal between Waymo and an automotive manufacturer in 2021.
A lot of mainstream analysts believe Waymo wants to become a carmaker. But that’s nonsense. Manufacturing cars is a resource-intensive business with low margins. Google has no interest in being an automotive manufacturer. Its master plan is really to license its self-driving tech so existing carmakers can use it.
One day soon, we’ll walk into an auto dealership. We’ll see a new car or truck on display in the showroom. It will have a sign: “Self-driving technology from Waymo.”
Perhaps it will be a ride-hailing company such as Uber (UBER) or Lyft (LYFT). They’ll license Waymo’s technology and embed it in their cars. Or perhaps it will be a new entrant that specializes in grocery delivery via autonomous vehicles. You plop the groceries in the self-driving car, and it heads off to somebody’s front door.
That’s what’s coming down the line. I predict the first licensing deal will be inked in the next 12 months.
My next prediction involves a different kind of AI…
One of the biggest breakthroughs of last year involved applying AI to computer vision. This is vital if you want a robot to grip an object. And it’s been a bottleneck in robotics.
Right now, even the best robots are still not as fast or efficient as a human child when it comes to picking or sorting objects. That’s because they aren’t good at “understanding” how best to grip different types of objects.
Is this object slippery? Is it delicate? Do I have to hold it a particular way? These are things humans know instinctively. But robots still have a tough time with them.
Right now, it takes about 29 seconds for a robotic arm to look at an object and decide the best way to get it from Point A to Point B without damaging it.
But a team of researchers at UC Berkeley is solving this problem. It’s using a form of AI called deep neural networks to train a robotic arm on the optimal way to move objects without damaging them.
After training, it didn’t take this AI-powered robot 29 seconds to decide how best to move an object. It took it 80 milliseconds. That’s a 350x improvement.
This is the last piece of the puzzle for fully functioning robots. I predict we’ll start to see these robots deployed in manufacturing plants, logistics facilities, warehouses… even laboratories in 2021.
Continuing with the theme of manufacturing, let’s look at another bleeding-edge technology – 3D printing.
One-third of all global installations of 3D-printing equipment are in the U.S. It’s easy to see why. 3D printing wastes fewer materials, is much faster, and costs a lot less than traditional manufacturing.
For example, a company that needed to create molds to produce a propeller for a large air compressor saved $147,000 per mold casting by using 3D printing. And 3D printing saved 8 to 11 months on delivery of the mold castings.
This tech is transforming many different industries.
And I predict the first 3D-printed rocket will go into orbit sometime in the next 12 months…
A company called Relativity Space can already 3D print an entire rocket – including the engine – in 60 days. It can take up to a year to build a rocket using traditional methods.
So yes, I predict a 3D-printed rocket will go into orbit in 2021.
Finally… my last prediction for 2021 may be my most important one…
We’re going to see initial public offerings (IPOs) raise record levels of capital in 2021.
Last year was a record year for IPOs. 552 U.S. companies went public – the most in more than 20 years. They raised a combined $172 billion – an all-time high that beat the previous record by 43%.
But I predict 2021 will set new highs.
There’s a backlog of IPOs right now. There are so many exciting tech firms that have been staying private for years. All this pressure has been building. Now the cork on the champagne bottle is popping.
This gush of new IPOs is great news for investors. Investing early in a company’s life cycle via pre-IPO shares can provide some of the best profits available.
But there’s been one big problem lately…
The companies list their IPOs at a certain price per share. But when these shares become available to the general public, they’ve already blown way past this IPO price.
I recently saw this firsthand when I recommended an AI stock to readers of my Exponential Tech Investor service when it IPO’d in December.
The stock was priced at about $42. But when it started trading, it immediately jumped above $100. My readers never had a chance to invest at a reasonable valuation.
Vacation-rental platform Airbnb (ABNB), AI-powered drug-discovery company AbCellera (ABCL), and cloud computing company Snowflake (SNOW)… These were three of the hottest IPOs of 2020.
But each time their stock began trading, it shot past its IPO price before regular investors could buy in. Sometimes it started trading two or three times higher than the IPO price.
At these levels, I can’t recommend any of these companies. The valuations are simply too high.
So what’s the solution?
The most obvious answer is to buy shares before the IPO. But pre-IPO shares are typically reserved for wealthy institutional investors. Everyday investors like you have been locked out.
But there’s a way for you to beat them at their game. It’s a way to invest in pre-IPO companies from your brokerage account. It’s with something I call a “pre-IPO code.” It’s open to all investors… accredited or not.
And it allows you to essentially get shares in companies before their IPOs.
This is not any type of private deal. Like I said, you can profit from this opportunity using your regular brokerage account. This opportunity has been building over recent years under the radar, and there are hundreds of these pre-IPO-code companies trading right now.
That’s all I can say here. If you want the full story, I hosted a special event last Wednesday to share all the details.
Please make sure you don’t miss out. Go right here to watch the free replay while it’s still up.
Editor, Blank Check Speculator