A new generation of Internet companies is gaining currency and enticing investors again. Although remnants of the Internet mania of the...
DALLAS — A new generation of Internet companies is gaining currency and enticing investors again.
Although remnants of the Internet mania of the late 1990s still litter the landscape, that debacle almost assures that today’s cyberinvestor remains grounded in reality.
“All of us took more risks [in the late 1990s] than we should have,” said Ryan Jacob, portfolio manager of the Jacob Internet fund. “Today, investors are much more scrutinizing, and it is a much more rational environment.”
That’s good because investing in dot-coms is not — and never should have been — for everybody.
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The sector is volatile and no place for a retirement nest egg.
Although the number of Internet-related initial public offerings, or IPOs, is just a trickle, most financial experts predict plenty more to come.
That forecast is based primarily on the fact that private venture-capital firms are starting to pour money into Internet-related companies, and that is often a precursor for them going public.
The dazzling debut of Google last year provided the backdrop for the dot-com renewal and injected some much-needed excitement into the sector.
Google shares have soared from $85 when the company went public in August 2004 to about $430 a share.
But Google was a unique cultural and financial phenomenon. Only recently have investors considered the profit potential in other Internet companies.
So far this year, only four out of the 158 IPOs have been Internet-related companies, according to Renaissance Capital’s IPOhome.com. But there are at least that many more in the IPO pipeline. (The financial-services industry produced 28 IPOs, the most of any sector.)
These sites allow young people — particularly college students — to post personal information and keep in touch with friends.
In fact, even traditional media companies are buying these types of Internet companies.
For example, this year media giant News Corp. bought Intermix, which owned MySpace.