As you my recall, last week Shark Tank regular and Dallas Mavericks owner, billionaire investor Mark Cuban, has warned anyone who would listen that the hi-tech bubble—with hundreds of thousands of startups and apps seeking funding from as many mom and pop investors—is sure to end badly.
Now Goldman Sachs Group Inc President and Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn spoke on CNBC Wednesday morning, and he said that Mark Cuban is “wrong” about tech companies being overvalued.
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Cohn made the point that the giant newcomers, Uber, Twitter, and Facebook, which Cuban compared to the fallen giants of the year 2000 — Broadcast.com, AOL, and Netscape, are not at all as fragile and as Cuban makes them out to be.
The reason, according to Cohn, is that we’re using these new giants every day. People go to work with Uber cars, they communicate using Twitter and Facebook virtually all the time. We depend on these companies, they have real cash flow, they offer real benefits and make real money. A lot of it.
Except Cohn, whose points were cogent and valid, did not really answer Cuban’s warning. Cuban was not casting doubts at Facebook or Google — he was alarmed by the number of small investors who are putting their hard earned money in clumps of $5 thousand each, looking to get in on the hi-tech boom — and the market just cannot possibly fulfill their grandiose dreams.
Cuban says he found some 225 thousand “angels” in the U.S. alone, folks who go online to find hedge funds to take their money, cobble it with lots of other people’s money and invest it in a startup. When that bubble will burst, Cuban is worried about those hundreds of thousands of small investors left holding the bucket.
Both Gary Cohn and Marc Cuban are Jewish. Cohn is 54, Cuban 56. They’ve been around long enough to know that investments depend on luck, lots of it, and if you can afford it, you can bet some of your money and endure the losses when they inevitably happen. But if you’re not big enough, you have no business investing.
But can you expect the CEO of Goldman Sachs to tell you not to invest?