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Companies are staying private longer, should you invest pre-IPO? – USA TODAY



Nancy Tengler
 |  Special to USA TODAY

If you’ve ever sleept on a Casper (CSPR) mattress you would agree that the online retailer not only revolutionized sleep, but also the mattress purchasing experience. So, it would make sense that when the company went public earlier this year, devotees jumped at the chance to own the shares, right?


In fact, after offering shares to the public at $12 on Feb. 5, the price has declined by about -56.14% to $6.74 on Sep. 25. Early investors – luminaries like Leonardo DiCaprio, Adam Levine and Tobey Maguire – jumped in before the company went public and had the opportunity to sell their shares at the IPO price. But whether they did or not is not the point. By the time the average investor had the opportunity to buy the shares, a great deal of profit had already been made.

Want to invest in an IPO?: Here’s what you need to know to profit on initial public offerings

More: Worried about another tech wreck in the stock market? Consider these trends

Still, for every CSPR there is a Snowflake (SNOW). SNOW came public on Sept. 15 at $120 and the stock reached $228.90 on Sep.25. If you were an early investor you made money. If you were lucky enough to buy in at the IPO, you’ve made money. But the undeniable fact is that companies are staying private longer and the lion’s share of the easy money is made by insiders and early investors. 

What’s a retail investor to do? Enter pre-IPO investment platforms like SharesPost and EquityZen.

Early investing

Pre-IPO investment platforms have revolutionized and democratized the process. No longer just in the purview of celebrities or large mutual fund companies, individuals can now buy shares in companies before the initial pubic offering on their own (or with the help of their financial advisor).

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Phil Haslett, Chief Revenue Officer of EquityZen.The platform works alongside private companies to match insider sellers with buyers. This can take some time, but all trades are approved by the private company to avoid insider selling conflict.

More: Worried about another tech wreck in the stock market? Consider these trends

Investors must register on the EquityZen platform and be accredited, but rather than requiring a $100,000 or even a $1,000,000 investment, Haslett states that the minimum investment is an attainable $10,000.

Haslett reminds that when Amazon (AMZN) went public in 1997 the valuation was $438 million and the company claimed around a mere $16 million in revenue. In other words, there was plenty of future growth to be had. Contrast that to UBER’s, public debut on May 19, 2019 when revenue from the company’s ridesharing products had grown from $3.5 billion in 2016 to $11.3 billion by the close of 2018. Based on the initial offering price of $45 UBER was valued at $82.4 billion. Hardly an emerging company. (UBER hit 434.4 on Sep. 25.)

Looking to invest like Warren Buffett?: Here are 3 reasons why you shouldn’t.

It may just be that these pre-IPO investment platforms are on to something – that is:  Earlier is better as companies stay private for longer.

Still, investing in private companies carries a higher level of potential risk than investing in established blue-chip companies, though the rewards can be great.

You will need to assess your risk tolerance and determine if any of the pre-IPO companies available on various platforms fit your diversification needs. Early stage investing is not for everyone. Resist the siren song of easy money expectations.

  • Make sure you are putting a modest amount of your investable assets into a pre-IPO investment. Dip your toe in, don’t dive. Start with the minimum and do your research.
  • Understand you are in this investment for the long-term. 
  • Don’t gamble. Remember, a reasonable investing time horizon is three-to five-years. For pre-IPO companies it may be even longer.

2020 is shaping up to be a hot IPO market. It may be that a pre-IPO investment will give your portfolio some juice. But do your research. That will serve you better than a Casper mattress to sleep soundly.

Nancy Tengler is chief investment officer at Laffer Tengler Investments and the author of “The Women’s Guide to Successful Investing.” 

The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

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City Launches Investment Map To Show Where Money Is Being Spent – windsoriteDOTca News



The City of Windsor has launched a new investment map for residents to understand some of the many investments being made in the community each year.

The new tool shares information on projects ranging from neighbourhood sidewalk improvements to master plans that impact the entire city, and all of it is conveniently mapped out so users can see exactly where the investment is located.

“We take great pride in the number and variety of investments undertaken in our community each year,” said Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens. “This web portal and the mapping you see are our latest efforts to provide information on many of those investments. And while these are by no means all of the investments laid out in the City’s annual capital budget or all of the assets funded, we hope you’ll find it an easy way to explore some of the great work being done in our community.”

Key investment categories targeted for the launch of the new mapping tool include parks, facilities, art, culture and sidewalks. With just a few clicks, users can search the entire city or zoom in on their neighbourhood. Filters can be applied to focus on specific categories, or the map can be viewed without filters to include the entire investment picture.

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Canada makes largest federal investment in Tecumseh's history to protect the Town from future flooding – Canada NewsWire



TECUMSEH, ON, Oct. 26, 2020 /CNW/ – The safety and well-being of Canadians remains the Government of Canada’s top priority as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The federal government is taking decisive action to support families, businesses and communities, and continues to look ahead to see what more can be done. Investing in infrastructure to create jobs and strengthen local economies is a key part of these initiatives.

In recent years, the communities of Tecumseh and Windsor experienced catastrophic storms that caused significant flood damage to local residences and businesses. Now more than ever, communities need help adapting to these intensifying weather events caused by climate change.

Today, Irek Kusmierczyk, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and Member of Parliament for Windsor−Tecumseh, on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and his Worship Gary McNamara, Mayor for the Town of Tecumseh, announced significant funding to reduce the impact of severe storms and flooding in the Town of Tecumseh.

The Government of Canada is investing $10.7 million in this flood resiliency project through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF). This is the single largest federal investment in Tecumseh’s history. The Town is also contributing more than $16 million to complete the project.

The work involves the construction of and improvements to four infrastructure assets: decommissioning of the St. Mark’s Pump Station; construction of a new consolidated Scully and St. Mark’s Pump Station; improvements to the PJ Cecile Pump Station and; improvements to the storm sewers at two locations to move storm water runoff to the consolidated Scully and St. Mark’s pump station.

This investment is just one of many regional flood-related projects recently funded by the Government of Canada, including a historic $32,090,691 investment in flood mitigation for Windsor in 2019.


“On my very first day as MP for WindsorTecumseh, I met with Mayor McNamara to discuss key priorities for the Town of Tecumseh. With severe weather events on the rise, funding from the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund was outlined as a critical need. I am proud of the terrific collaboration between our federal government and the Town to deliver this important investment for the residents of Tecumseh. Once complete, the Tecumseh flood resiliency project will protect residences and businesses from the severe effects of flooding.”

Irek Kusmierczyk, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and Member of Parliament for Windsor−Tecumseh, on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“Flooding continues to be the most frequent and costly natural disaster in Canada. By investing in infrastructure, the Government of Canada is helping communities, like the Town of Tecumseh, increase their resiliency. The DMAF helps protect Canadians by reducing the risk of climate change and the long-term costs associated with replacing infrastructure following natural disasters.”

The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

My Council colleagues and I have heard from residents that more needs to be done to protect them from flooding and flood mitigation is a vital priority for our Council. This funding will assist in building our town’s resiliency and keeping our community and its residents safe.”

 His Worship Gary McNamara, Mayor of the Town of Tecumseh

Quick facts

  • Windsor and Tecumseh have received over $50 Million to fund 16 projects related to flooding and wastewater.
  • The Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) is a $2-billion, 10-year program to help communities build the infrastructure they need to better withstand natural hazards such as floods, wildfires, earthquakes and droughts.
  • To date, more than $1.7 billion has been announced through DMAF for 60 large-scale infrastructure projects that will help protect communities across the country from the threats of climate change.
  • DMAF is part of the federal government’s Investing in Canada plan, which is providing more than $180 billion over 12 years for public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and rural and northern communities.
  • To support Canadians and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new stream has been added to the over $33-billion Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to help fund pandemic-resilient infrastructure. Existing program streams have also been adapted to include more eligible project categories.
  • The COVID-19 Resilience Stream will help other orders of governments whose finances have been significantly impacted by the pandemic by increasing the federal cost share for public infrastructure projects.
  • The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will provide up to $31 million in existing federal funding to support communities as they deploy innovative new ways to adapt spaces and services to respond to immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19 over the next two years.

Associated links

Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund 

Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund projects in Ontario   

Investing in COVID-19 Community Resilience

Investing in Canada: Canada’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan 

Investing in Canada plan project map

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Web: Infrastructure Canada

SOURCE Infrastructure Canada

For further information: Contacts: Chantalle Aubertin, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, 613-949-1759, [email protected]; Lesley Reeves, Manager Strategic Initiatives, Town of Tecumseh, 519-735-2184 ext 150, [email protected]; Media Relations: Infrastructure Canada, 613-960-9251, Toll free: 1-877-250-7154, [email protected]

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Insurtech investment keeps up, but not all will survive the pandemic – Insurance Business CA



However, it’s also important to note that although this data points to the sector staying on track to raise potentially the second-highest amount of money in any given year, it was the top 10 insurtechs who have walked away with the majority of the capital spoils, leaving the rest of the community to fight over the leftover one-third of total funds invested.

Read more: Insurtech funding rebounds in Q2 – Willis Towers Watson

Meanwhile, another key trend to highlight is that while there are some insurtechs that are making headway by writing coverage and directly competing with traditional insurers, legacy insurance companies are still dominating the playing field, says one expert.

“I don’t see a behemoth insurtech out there that’s going to essentially end the insurance business as we know it, and take over massive amounts of market share,” said Sam Friedman (pictured), insurance research leader at the Deloitte Centre for Financial Services. “Where insurtech is having a huge impact is in helping insurers become better at what they do.”

Insurtechs have helped insurers to become more digital, improve the customer experience, access new sources of alternative data, and get better at advanced analytics and predictive modelling to help with policy administration and claims handling. This in turn has helped with fraud management and augmenting underwriting so that underwriters can focus on more cognitive work, including portfolio management, and working with brokers and clients to set terms and coverage, explained Friedman. Rather than serving as direct competition, the insurtech-insurer relationship has become a much more symbiotic one, he added.

Read more: MPI makes the switch to Duck Creek for core systems

Nonetheless, there has been a ripple-effect from the pandemic on this relationship, in that “it’s forced insurers to prioritize who they’re going after now and who they need to work with, which is anybody that can help them accelerate digitization,” said Friedman. “There may be some areas where they’re going to decide, ‘I’m not going to work on that this year, or maybe for another 18 months. I [instead] need help to get my claims adjusters virtual so that they can look at a damaged property, whether it’s through a drone or the policyholder’s camera phone.’”

As a result, there’s more emphasis being placed on insurtechs that are ready to go to market, and have products that have been proven and can be scaled, in order to help insurers get through the transition prompted by COVID-19.

Moreover, according to the Deloitte expert, “You could see more merger and acquisition activity in insurtech, both among insurtechs, because what you’re seeing is there’s a lot of duplication of solutions out there that may have to be consolidated, and also, because insurance companies are now looking for holistic solutions, rather than point solutions,” said Friedman.

Read more: COVID-19 crisis is an ‘inflection point’ for the insurance industry

While the market for insurtech investment is dynamic right now, there are some insurtechs that may get left on the sidelines because either they’re not far enough along to be of immediate value to the industry, they duplicate what too many of their peers are doing, or their products are not exactly what the industry needs during the pandemic.

“You’re going to have to wait and see, do they have enough money to sustain them for 12 to 18 months when they are not necessarily going to do a lot of business – that’s going to be the interesting thing to watch,” said Friedman.

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