Thursday, September 21, 2006

Interesting investing opportunities

I saw two interesting articles courtesy CNNMoney's Disruptive Technologies.

The first is about a company called EEStor that has a novel, non-toxic mechanism for storing electrical energy that makes some very bold claims. I'm dubious in that I would expect a startup focusing on disruptive power storage technologies to take aim at existing markets such as (exploding) laptop batteries, cell phones, etc. What I find interesting is that they're located in Cedar Park, TX, a small exurb of Austin.

The other interesting article is about yet-another-social-networking site called Zopa that allows investors / lenders to be paired up with borrowers, with an average return of 7% with less that 0.05% rate of uncollectible debt, according to the article. It's not a bank and therefore has higher risk, but the management overhead is lower so they are able to offer higher yields directly to the lender. The thing I find most interesting about this is that it may supplement (or supplant!?) traditional Venture Capital by distributing the loan amongst a loose network of individual investors who are excited about the technology being developed. If they replace the "loan repayment" portion with issuing private stock shares or options then it may be a new model for pre-IPO fundraising. Imagine how much money YouTube could raise from individual "investors" contributing a week's salary to one of their favorite websites.


Anonymous said...

They may have a really efficient way of making it, but what's new about a capacitor?

Texas Hippie said...

I don't recall having heard of electric or hybrid cars that use capacitors for charge storage, nor do cell phones or laptops. I don't know the details, but I'm sure there's a reason why rechargeable chemical batteries have been preferred for a while now, despite being bulky, hazardous and having the potential to catch fire. Maybe their design is no different than a capacitor, but with different properties that makes it more attractive for use in heavy loads.