Street Talk

Microfinance 2.0

From sweet shop to corner suite

Shekhar Ghosh, named India’s Entrepreneur of the Year last year by The Economic Times, just bested moguls like Anil Ambani of Reliance Capital and the Aditya Birla Group in winning one of only two bank licenses recently awarded by the Reserve Bank of India.

The “B Corporation”

Etsy’s debut on the NASDAQ last week introduced the investing public to the “Certified B Corporation,” a for-profit company committed to also delivering measureable benefits to society and the environment.  Investors apparently liked Etsy’s dual mission and, despite the fact that its online marketplace in handcrafted goods is not yet profitable, nearly doubled the price of its stock on its first day of trading. 

Activists Face Off at Sotheby’s

Poor Sotheby’s. 

No sooner had the renowned New York auction house succumbed to pressure from activist Dan Loeb of Third Point to oust its Chairman and CEO Bill Ruprecht, than another hedge fund agitator, Mick McGuire of San Francisco-based Mercato Capital, popped up and assailed the company’s “misguided” financial management.

Loeb and Singer Pivot to Asia

Two aggressive U.S. hedge funders open up a new activist frontier

Although he failed to persuade Sony Corporation last year to break itself up and spin off its entertainment business, Dan Loeb of Third Point ($14 billion AuM) now has his sights set on Fanuc Corporation, Japan’s tenth largest company and the world’s leading automation and robotics manufacturer. 

Social Stock Exchanges

Online portals for socially-minded investors and enterprises

Dismissed by cynics as a plaything for the ultra-rich, social impact investing is nevertheless catching on around the world and specialized national exchanges are now cropping up where social enterprises – both for-profit and not-for-profit – can connect with similarly-minded investors. 

The Mushrooming of Venture Capital

More money, more markets, more prospects

Maverick Capital, a 20 year-old, classic U.S. hedge fund, is launching its first venture capital fund this month, seeking up to $400 million.  Tiger Global, another well-established U.S. hedge fund, is raising a $1.5 billion VC fund to follow up its prior, early-stage investments in Alibaba (China) and Flipkart (India).

Hedge Funds Rock in India

A blessing or a curse for VCs?

Thanks to the economic optimism ushered in by the election of pro-business Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India turned out to be the star of the hedge fund industry in 2014, boasting both the world’s best-performing hedge fund and its winningest hedge fund strategy. 

Foreigners Advising Americans

HSBC just found out that it’s a bad idea to provide investment advice to Americans and not be registered with the SEC.  The British bank has been fined $12.5 million by the U.S. agency for permitting its Swiss private banking unit to manage U.S.