Almost everyone has dreamt of hitting the lottery and played the “What would you do?” game. It’s fun to imagine hitting it big, and every year millions of Americans buy lottery tickets every week, leaving their pursuit of wealth up to fate.
Some, however, take their financial futures into their own hands and scour data, press releases and every crevice of the internet for a piece of information that may lead to riches. Netflix Inc. recently released “Eat The Rich,” a documentary outlining GameStop Corp.’s meteoric rise that made (and eventually cost) some early investors millions of dollars. Keith Gill, aka Roaring Kitty and DeepFuckingValue, is one of those that scoured every available datasheet for an investing edge. His success spawned similar stories with AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., Dogecoin and Shiba Inu.
While meme stocks may be a trend born out of COVID-19 lockdowns, the search for hidden value is not. Recently, Atlis Motor Vehicles AMV served as a lottery ticket for some early investors. The company raised money on StartEngine, selling shares at 29 cents per share in 2018. It started trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market on Sept. 28, 2022, and its price at close on Oct. 26, 2022, was $14 per share.
Those that made the minimum investment of just 700 shares for $203 in 2018 would now be up 4727.59%.
Some investors may have made out even better. Shares of Atlis Motor Vehicles hit a high of $243.99 shortly after its public listing. Any early investors that sold at the high would have realized an 8,4034.5% gain.
That type of turnaround in just four short years is astounding, to be sure, but far from an anomaly. Recent advancements in tech and social media have allowed disruptive companies to build cult followings, raise a ton of money and afford ungodly profits to those who believed in the cause. Some of the most notable venture capital (VC) bets in history include:
WhatsApp Messenger: According to CB Insights, WhatsApp has maintained its position as the best and leading VC bet of all time. In 2011, Sequoia Capital, one of the largest VC firms in the world, invested $8 million in the nascent project, valued at $80 million. One unique feature in this VC bet was that Sequoia was the only investor in both Series A and Series B financing rounds. Sequoia’s original investment grew by $2.94 billion by the time Mark Zuckerberg’s (then Facebook) Meta Platforms Inc. acquired WhatsApp.
Snap Inc. SNAP: In May 2012, Lightspeed Venture Partners invested $480,000 for 82 million Snap shares. Benchmark Capital Partners paid over $13 million for 120 million shares in the Series A fundraiser. Benchmark’s investment had Matt Cohler and Mitch Lasky as its leadoff partners. These initial investments skyrocketed and were worth $3.2 billion and $2 billion, respectively, in 2017.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. BABA: Japanese telecom giant Softbank Group Corp. was a key contributor to Alibaba’s success. Before the turn of the century, Softbank had already hit it big betting on the internet with Yahoo!. It bet big again with Alibaba with $20 million for 34% of the company in 2000. Softbank’s big payday would come 14 years later in 2014, when Alibaba sold $22 billion of stock, the biggest initial public offering (IPO) on record. While its IPO was initially valued over $165 billion, its public market debut saw a market cap of $231 billion for Alibaba, which put SoftBank’s value in the company at well over $60 billion.
LendingClub Corp. LC: From the time of Union Square Ventures’s Series D investment in 2011 to the time of LendingClub’s IPO in 2014, Lending Club scaled up its lending rate from $20 millio per month in originations to $500 million per month. In its IPO, it raised $870 million. This was a major contributing factor to the IPO jumping 56% on its first day of trading.
So, who’s next?
While it’s difficult to project, there are a couple good guesses. You could mimic billionaires Bill Gates investment firm Breakthrough Energy and invest in companies like Vantem, or you could search for companies that fit the mold of the 45 best VC bets of all time.
Candidates may arise from industries begging for disruptions. Pharmaceuticals already has billionaire Mark Cuban shaking things up with Cost Plus Drug Co., but so is TruBrain. TruBrain focuses on cognitive nutrition and has over $17 million in lifetime sales. It delivers patent-pending brain food designed by neuroscientists to enhance your memory, focus, sleep and more.
TruBrain is currently raising capital through a Regulation A offering on StartEngine with a share price of only 47 cents. Offering significant upside potential.
There is also room for even more disruption in the real estate market. Things have been shaken up by fractional investment platforms like the Jeff Bezos-backed Arrived Homes, but there may be even more untapped potential.
One way to capitalize on this may be with Rentberry. Rentberry created a platform that offers landlords and tenants a contact-free, transparent and automated means of renting properties and helps unfreeze millions of dollars tied up rental security deposits.
The company has already raised over $21 million from the top VC funds and recognized angel investors from Alphabet Inc.’s Google, McKinsey & Co., CBRE and Harvard Business School Alumni Angels. The company’s funding round on StartEngine is ending this week, meaning the opportunity to buy shares at just 87 cents is coming to an end soon.