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商业 - 金融

要是现在更像1996年,而不是1999年呢?

Jeffrey Bussgang 2011年04月15日

问题不是我们是否处在泡沫中,而是我们处于泡沫的哪个阶段。

 

    1996年5月,Open Market IPO大获成功,新股首日交易涨幅超过一倍,市值达12亿美元。而此前一年,公司实现的营业收入仅180万美元。

    假如1996年注意到这一离奇现象的投资者得出结论,科技市场已处于不可持续的泡沫之中,那确实是对的。但如果上述发现导致他们回避投资互联网股票,他们则会错过历史上合法创造财富的奇迹时刻。

    1997年,Charles River Ventures的基金回报率达到惊人的15倍,投资股票包括Ciena、Vignette和Flycast等超级明星股。1998年,Matrix Partners有一只基金的内部收益率达到令人瞠目的514%以上。在Open Market IPO后,互联网牛市又延续了4年,终结于2000年春季。1995-1997年间筹得的风险资本平均年回报率超过50%。

    在近期有关繁荣期还是泡沫期的讨论中,很多人认为当前的市场环境有点像1999年。但如果实际情况更接近于1996年呢?如果基本面非常好,足以再支撑4年的高歌猛进,然后才会停下脚步,进入自然的商业周期调整呢?

    下面这张刊登于本周《经济学人》(Economist)杂志的失业率图,让我停下来思考这个问题。上一轮经济周期的失业率曲线证明这样的商业周期通常能持续4-5 年。2009年是最近一轮商业周期的低点——而且是相当低的低点。2010年是回稳攀升的一年,但不温不火的 IPO市场以及整体宏观经济疲弱仍持续到了当年年末(感觉类似于1995年)。2011年是感觉到真正繁荣的第一年——很像1996年。由于就业数据滞后于经济产值数据,必须得承认这是一个不完美的指标,但如果你继续类比,可能会得出下一个4-5年的繁荣期将延续至2015年!

     In May 1996, Open Market completed a successful IPO and more than doubled on the first day of trading, ending with a $1.2 billion market capitalization. We had recorded $1.8 million in revenue the year before.

    If investors observing this extraordinary phenomenon in 1996 were to have concluded that the technology market was in the midst of an unsustainable bubble, they would not have been wrong. But if that observation led them to refrain from investing in the Internet sector, they would have missed one of the most stunning legal creations of wealth in history.

    In 1997, Charles River Ventures yielded a stunning 15x return for its fund, backing such superstars as Ciena, Vignette and Flycast. Matrix Partners had a fund in 1998 that yielded an eye-popping 514+% IRR. The Internet bull market continued to run for four more years after the Open Market IPO, finally ending in the spring of 2000. The average venture capital fund raised between 1995 and 1997 returned more than 50% per year.

    Amidst all the recent talk of boom vs. bubble, there is a hue and cry that the current environment may smack of 1999. But what if it's actually more akin to 1996? What if the fundamentals are good enough to support four more years of insane behavior before the music stops and the natural business cycle correction settles in?

    The chart below from this week's Economist on unemployment made me pause and consider this question. As evidenced from the unemployment curve in the last economic cycle, these business cycles can often last 4-5 years. 2009 was the trough year of the most recent business cycle -- and a deep trough at that. 2010 was a year of firming and climbing out of a hole, but the tepid IPO market and general macroeconomic malaise seemed to linger until late in the year (similar to how 1995 felt). 2011 is the first year where it feels like a real boom – much like 1996. Employment lags economic output and is an admittedly imperfect indicator, but if you continue the analogy, it may be that the next 4-5 year boom cycle lasts until 2015!

                               

                                                                               图片来源:《经济学人》

    我们不妨思考下述问题:

    • 当标志性企业上市[如1995年网景(Netscape)的上市]时,会出现大量资本和公司跟随。Facebook可能将于2012年上市,估值为500-750亿美元。这宗IPO以及其他类似的IPO(比如Groupon、Zynga)将为很多人和机构创造巨大的流动财富,而这些人和机构可能将财富重新投入初创企业生态系统中。回流到初创企业生态系统的这些资金无疑将促进繁荣。

    • 宏观经济时好时坏,抑制了更乐观的市场情绪。海啸、中东危机、美国政府关门的风险以及隐现的预算赤字都是市场抑制因素。如果有些抑制因素消除——如果一段时期内国际局势较为稳定,如果存在分歧的美国政府能为即将到来的预算年达成一个具有财政责任感的方案并开始处理一些长期制约经济增长的的基本面因素——那么,市场将变得更加乐观。记住,1995年至2000年也不是一条直线,美国国内也经历了像政府几近关门(有点耳熟?)等一系列宏观经济危机,而国际危机则包括墨西哥债务违约、俄罗斯债务违约和亚洲市场危机。我们不应忘记1999年2月《时代周刊》(Time Magazine)刊登封面文章,将艾伦•格林斯潘、罗伯•鲁宾和拉里•萨默斯称为 “拯救世界的委员会”。这期间的宏观经济趋势有时也非常灰暗,但互联网领域持续繁荣。

    • 由于最近几十年的强劲增长,中国、印度和巴西的GDP总量和对全球经济的影响力已是上世纪90年代的四倍(见下图)。这些国家的需求对美国科技市场有非常积极的影响。他们正在快速大量地购入移动设备、个人电脑、路由器和其他科技设备。这样强劲的需求15年前是不存在的。

    Consider the following:

    • When bellwether players go public (such as Netscape in 1995), there is a massive rush of capital and companies that follow. Facebook will likely go public in 2012 and be valued in the $50-75 billion range. This IPO and others like it (e.g., Groupon, Zynga) will create tremendous liquid wealth for a number of people and institutions who will likely pour that wealth back into the start-up ecosystem. That liquidity flowing back into the start-up ecosystem will arguably fuel the boom.

    • Macroeconomic choppiness is holding back more dramatic market euphoria. Tsunamis, Middle East crises, government shutdown threats and a looming budget deficit are all dampers on the market. But if some of these dampers clear out – if there is a period of reasonable international stability, if a divided US government can strike another fiscally responsible deal for the upcoming budget year and begin to deal with some of the long-term, fundamental drags on growth -- then the markets will become even more euphoric. Remember, it wasn't a straight line between 1995 and 2000; there were a series of macroeconomic crises on the domestic front, such as a near government shutdown (sound familiar?) as well as international crises, including the Mexican debt default, Russian currency defaults and the Asian market crisis. Let's not forget that Time Magazine featured Alan Greenspan, Rob Rubin and Larry Summers on the cover in February 1999 as "The Committee to Save the World." At times, this period saw pretty grim macroeconomic trends, while the Internet continued to boom in the trenches.

    • Thanks to recent decades of strong growth, the combination of China, India and Brazil have GDPs that are 4x the size and impact on the global economy as compared to the 1990s (see chart below). Demand from these, now larger, economies are having a very positive effect on the US tech market. They are gobbling up mobile devices, PCs, routers and other technology gear at a rapid rate. This powerful source of economic demand didn't exist 15 years ago.

  GDP int'l

    • 当前的科技公司都拥有大量流动资金,而且资金数额比过去更大了。总部位于美国、市值超过1,000亿美元的全球科技公司有8家,分别是苹果(Apple)、谷歌(Google)、甲骨文(Oracle)、IBM、微软(Microsoft)、英特尔(Intel)、惠普(HP)和思科(Cisco)。还有一些公司处于有利的市场地位,增长迅速,有望成为下一批1,000亿美元级公司,如亚马逊(Amazon)、戴尔(Dell)、Netflix、 EMC、VMWare、Salesforce.com以及百度。这些公司要么在上世纪90年代时还不存在,要么比15年前强大了无数倍。互联网应用、手机应用、广告支出——所有这些在过去15年中都有了巨大的增长,为最新一轮繁荣提供了更强有力的支持。请看下图,如果考虑到手机上网增长,纳入更新的数据,曲线只会更陡峭。

    • All the existing technology players are awash in liquidity and all the numbers are bigger this time. There are eight US-based global technology companies with market capitalizations of greater than $100 billion (Apple, Google, Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Intel, HP, Cisco). There are a handful of companies that are very well-positioned, growing fast and could be the next $100 billion players (Amazon, Dell, Netflix, EMC, VMWare, Salesforce.com and Baidu come to mind). These companies either didn't exist in the mid-90s or are in infinitely stronger positions than they were 15 years ago. Internet usage, mobile phone usage, advertising dollar spend – all have grown enormously over the last 15 years to provide a stronger foundation underneath the latest boom. See the chart below, which will only explode further when updated for more recent figures that will take into account Internet access via mobile phones.

    Internet growth

    我并不想鼓励盲目乐观。我知道全球经济仍存在一些重大的结构性问题,情况可能比过去更严峻。而且,在最近的美国股市上涨中有很多人认为牛市将不会持续太久。如果油价飙升至150美元/桶,更多国家陷入主权债务危机,华盛顿僵局持续,我们可能最早在2012年就会再次看到经济衰退。

    但是,随着企业家精神抬头,随着这一代年轻人(“企业家一代”)对科技和数字内容的兴趣和使用激增,随着创新领域显现一些积极动向,也可能欢歌还会再持续4-5年。这难道不值得我们重视吗?

    本文作者杰弗里•巴斯刚是风险投资公司Flybridge Capital Partners的普通合伙人。

    The point here isn't to be Pollyannaish. I recognize that we have major structural issues in the global economy and they are perhaps more daunting than they have ever been. And the recent run up in the stock market has many arguing that the bull market won't last much longer. If oil soars to $150 per barrel, a few more soverign nations default on their debt obligations and gridlock persists in Washington, we could be looking at another recession as soon as 2012.

    Yet, with entrepreneurship on the rise, with this generation of young people ("the Entrepreneur generation") surging in their use and interest in technology and digital content, with some of the positive fundamental forces in innovation, it may just be that the music may not stop for another 4-5 years. Wouldn't that be something?

    Jeffrey Bussgang is general partner at venture capital firm Flybridge Capital Partners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

    

    

    

    

    

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