This is a guest post I wrote for Techcrunch:
It’s difficult to know where to invest your money right now. Most asset classes are moving in the wrong direction as the world teeters on the edge of a double dip recession.
There is growing distrust of most of the established financial markets – complaints include that they are deliberately complicated and full of jargon, they are over regulated, there are huge rewards for a very few that are not necessarily linked to sustained performance and, perhaps most importantly, when things go wrong it seems to be the ordinary people who are the ones that really suffer.
Let’s look at two of the most common asset classes for personal investment – stocks and bonds. The FTSE is the most widely used index of stocks in the UK. In October 2001 the FTSE stood at 5036 and today it is 4944 – actually down over the ten year period. Once you factor in inflation it is clear that the FTSE today is worth materially less than the FTSE of 2001.
UK government bonds have traditionally been a solid way of ensuring a reasonable return with good downside protection. Currently a 10 Year UK Government bond is yielding a miserly 2.4% – and again this doesn’t even keep up with inflation.
With all of this in mind it occurred to me that our entrepreneurs, with their hopes and dreams of offering customers something different and something better, represent a much safer place to put our hard earned money.
Of course, investing in start-ups is a high-risk exercise and also locks up your money for a good few years. But at the same time you are investing in the companies of the future rather than the ones of the past. In addition, these companies will be reaching maturity and perhaps looking towards an exit a few years down the road when there is a very good chance that the economy will be in better health.
All of this of course depends on the basic fundamentals of choosing companies and markets that are growing fast and will be able to prosper through the economic downturn. I invest in the technology market and I think there are three megatrends right now that would all qualify in this way – namely social, cloud computing and mobile.