The worst crash in history: the view from the front seat

It seems reasonable to think that this is the worst market crash in history. Stock markets are a relatively well-documented phenomenon since their invention only a couple of dozen generations ago, and the data seem clear.

And I was there.

I’ve been actively following this crash every day the markets traded. And I’ve been trading too. Ouch. This post is deliberately something of an ermine-esque ‘reflections from the front’, recording some of my thinking/recollections, as they occur to me and while they are fresh.

Wasn’t January a long time ago?

I remember reading about the Coronavirus in January. I was travelling through Hong Kong myself that month. The virus hadn’t reached HK; it was a story in the business pages about China.

I also had my first cold/flu for 2+ years in December/January. A nastier one than normal, which has left me with a persistent slight ‘non-medical’ cough. Grumble.

The first material impacts on my portfolios were at the end of February, after Italy moved into crisis mode. I had just finished a £1m+ topup of my equity portfolio, using proceeds from my former Home.

Almost to the day, after my £1m had slid (over 2 weeks) into my investment portfolio, the markets began their steep decline. That left me down, in February, [9%], with about £250k of cash left as dry powder. FTSE fell below 7000. That is one of only benchmarks that I immediately remember, 3 weeks later. The other one is the share price of a company I used to work for, and which will be very resilient in crises.

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Manic month – still in progress

Fascinating month, emotionally, financially, physically, psychologically.

From a blogging point of view I am doing my best to maintain, to some extent, my trading diary. For anybody curious about my world at the moment, the www.firevlondon.com/diary is the best insight I can give you, for now.


Angel investing (2): what happens next

Angel investing is not for the faint hearted. In my previous post in this series, I discussed the onset of the angel investing journey. In this, second, post I’ll take a look at ‘what happened next?’ across a series of my angel experiences. Truly, this is the Hindsight post.

Instant Riches?

Image result for golden ticket

What you’re hoping for, simply put, as an angel investor in a seed business, is that you’ve just backed the next Google/Facebook/Amazon/take your pick. You’re hoping your investment goes on to become a ‘Unicorn’, i.e. valued at above $1bn.

In the world of venture capital the professionals are generally looking for ’10x’ – i.e. making 10x their money – which often implies the business ends up, after taking on further rounds of investment, becoming a Unicorn.

One of my best ’10x’ investments is company T, shown below. OK, so it didn’t quite make me 10x (though see below). But it exited quickly – the key money back came in month 53, with a small (15%) amount retained for a further 12 months.

You’ll notice that I added to my initial investment in month 23. Whether to ‘top up’/’follow on’ your investments is one of the hardest decisions you have to take in investing, in my experience. In the case of company T, I’m glad I did – even though by so doing my multiple fell (i.e. my month 23 investment was at a higher price than my month 0 investment).

Company T was one of the best angel investments I know. But nonetheless, one of its investors was really p*ssed off when it exited. Why?

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