Well, it didn’t take Michael Robinson long to alight on a new letter — the former editor of American Wealth Underground left his publisher and newsletter a while back (don’t know why, or if it was voluntary) and has now moved to Money Map Press.
Both publishers (his old one was Insiders Strategy Group) are Agora affiliates, so I don’t know whether this was all arranged or is just part of the one-upsmanship and competition between colleagues — editors move around between publishers with some regularity, though many of the ones who leave poor-performing letters are never heard from again (cue ominous kettle drums).
But anyway, he occasionally came up with some interesting and/or profitable ideas, like his well-timed table pounding for rare earth stocks a couple years ago, so I thought it would be worth seeing what stocks he’s touting now as the maiden teaser targets for his new letter.
The new letter, by the way, is called Radical Technology Profits — and from the description, it looks like he’ll be treading similar floorboards to Patrick Cox over at Mama Agora with his penny-stock-loving Breakthrough Technology Alert or David Gardner and his more mainstream Rule Breakers service over at the Motley Fool … looking for “world changing” growth stocks that will grow so fast it’ll make your head spin. And perhaps not surprisingly, it’s a pricey-ish letter at $695, right around what parent Agora charges for Patrick Cox’s letter.
So what’s he pitching today to entice us?
“An Opportunity Last Seen in 2004… Now Emerging Again For a Limited Time
“Rare ‘Mega RTDs’ That Turned Every Dollar Into… $115.41… $208.38… Even an Incredible $399.25….
“‘RTDs’ (Radical Tech Dividends) have been quietly making a few ordinary Americans wealthy for decades.
But since 1983, there have only been six ‘Mega RTDs’ – the kind that multiplied every dollar by multiples of TENS and HUNDREDS. And there’s been none since 2004.
Insiders say this new ‘Mega RTD’ opportunity is tied to what could easily be the next Trillion-Dollar Industry. And it could potentially turn more early participants into millionaires than several previous ‘Mega RTDs’… combined.”
Sounds just lovely, no? Well, he goes on a longish spiel about how there have been a couple Industrial Revolutions so far, and half a dozen major companies that allowed for radical change in technology, including breakthroughs that became tech titans like Intel, Microsoft, Apple and Google.
And, of course, he’s looking for the next one. Here’s how he describes the “big picture” of the opportunity:
“Today, we’re on the brink of a third revolution that, because of today’s connected global economy, is poised to have an exponentially greater impact than the previous ones combined.
“This new Industrial-Technology Revolution combines the physical and the virtual in ways that were unimaginable a few years ago.
“And the key is a radical new development I call ‘Genesis Technology’… because it is a process of creating something out of nothing, right before your eyes.
“This new manufacturing technology is so advanced, don’t be surprised if it conjures up images of Star Trek”
So what’s he talking about? This is another spiel for what’s generally known as “3D printing” — the building of three dimensional objects using technologies that are in many ways similar to inkjet printing (though these systems work in a few different ways, some are more “sculpting” than “printing”). Here’s some of his pitch for the idea:
“A quick look back at your own life… to the seemingly out-of-nowhere emergence of the Internet and PC… demonstrates how easily 3D printing could impact the world of manufacturing world in exactly the same way the PC, Desktop Publishing and the iPod permeated our lives and changed the world.
“Today’s new 3D ‘Mega RTD’ opportunity promises to put a ‘factory’ on every desk. And you scoff or ignore the promise at your own financial peril.
“98% of the companies trying this will fail.
“But I know the handful that are best positioned to make themselves… and savvy investors… quite rich
“Now you can see why the 3D printing technology is the real deal that is launching the new Industrial-Technology Revolution. And may be the biggest of the rare, “Mega RTD” opportunities ever.
“It’s taking the world by storm in all directions.
“On the high end, it’s being adopted by manufacturers, government and health care.
“And it’s expanding at the low end, to bring this technology to the masses.
“In other words, I’m confident this is going to be bigger than big. And it’s going to impact virtually every single person on the planet. Soon.”
OK, so it’s not necessarily a new pitch — that’s what folks have been saying about 3D printing and rapid prototyping machines for a few years now, though the dream is certainly getting closer (thanks largely to lower costs and improving technology — the same “cheaper and better” evolution that helped other technologies eventually breach the mainstream). And it’s a similar argument to that made by the Motley Fool folks (and made again, and made again, and made again — they do love to stick with a winning pitch) for their much-more-mainstream Stock Advisor newsletter starting back in March.
So is Robinson pitching the same stocks as the Foolies, or something different? Let’s see what he teases when he gets specific — he hints at two different picks:
“Right now there are several dozen companies vying for leadership of this exciting new technology. But I see only two that are perfectly positioned to run away with the whole thing.
“‘Mega RTD’ #1 is a company that’s paid its dues as a pioneer of 3D technology. With rock-solid financials, it’s built a business model focused on double-edged growth by 1) dominating the high-end shift to real manufacturing AND 2) leading the low-end expansion to the masses.
“They’re working steadily to be as close to a full service, vertical, one-stop shop as possible. They’ve launched a line of both professional and personal printers. They’re already affiliated with a company that produces on-demand parts. They provide design and digital content.
“Today it’s incredibly affordable at around $25 a share, with a market cap of just over $1.45 billion.
“I believe it could easily approach $50 in the short term… a nice 100% gain… with only the sky as the limit as the technology takes hold worldwide.”
This one, says the Thinkolator, is 3D Systems (DDD) — which was indeed one of the three picks touted by the Fool. It’s the largest “pure play” on the 3D printing/prototyping business, and they do indeed have that “low end” consumer device that they’re trying to use to push 3D printing down to the masses — though at $1,299 we’re still a bit early in the “low end” movement, I expect those prices will move down pretty quickly if it gets popular … especially because it would mean that they could get rich on selling supplies and proprietary cartridges. That product is the Cube, and it’s supposed to be available in a couple weeks.
Analysts think DDD is going to put together consistent 20%+ earnings growth for many years, which means that you can certainly make an argument that their current valuation, with a trailing PE of about 40 at the recent $25 price, is eminently reasonable. Analysts have not been all that reliable at estimating their numbers recently, but DDD did blow out expectations in the first quarter this year, so they’re on the right track. I haven’t read their filings or checked into the numbers any further than that, but it is a rabidly followed industry by investing pundits and bloggers and, of course, over at the Motley Fool, where their favorite newsletter picks also tend to get a heckuva lot of ink on the free side of the site. I’m tempted, and that level of growth and revolutionary change is pretty cool, but there is certainly also competition, such as from their similarly-sized competitor Stratasys (SSYS), which was also touted by the Fool (SSYS trades at a similar valuation, though analysts think it will grow more slowly).
Personally, my inclination for these kinds of rapid-growth stocks is to start with a small initial position and then watch and wait to buy more — hopefully, if it’s a stock that you definitely like for riding a long-term trend, when they report a bad quarter that drives the shares down … though as I said, I haven’t personally gotten aboard this particular story just yet.
So what’s the second pick touted by Robinson?
“‘Mega RTD’ #2 is laser-focused on the incredibly lucrative medical applications of 3D bio-printing. This company is well on its way to achieving its long-range goal of making replacement blood vessels and organ tissue from a patient’s own cells. Plus they’ve recently adopted a more immediate way to generate revenue by partnering with pharmaceutical companies to make human tissue samples that drug development companies could use to test experimental drugs before giving the drug to human patients in clinical trials.
“The company recently went public on the heels of a reverse merger and $6.5 million in private placement financing.”
Ah, now here we get the whoa-nelly small cap that I expected from Robinson, though it’s also a stock we’ve chatted about here in the past: Organovo (ONVO, trades over the counter on the OTCQB)
This is a far riskier stock, with a teensy $100+ million market cap that seems mammoth when compared to their revenue, which came in at under a million dollars last year. They are very new and in much more of a niche business on the edge of biotech, where profits aren’t necessarily what folks are looking for — what we want is breakthroughs and life-changing technologies that turn a $100 million company into a $100 billion company.
So will that happen with Organovo? Beats me. You can see their annual report press release here, they only came public through that reverse merger a few months ago so the financial history is limited … but since they continue to get far more revenue from research grants than from product sales I think we can safely guess that the company will not become profitable anytime soon (they had losses of more than $4 million last year to go with their “almost $1 million” in revenue, though at least half of those losses were “non cash” debt-related losses).
And yes, they do have a cool technology — creating human tissue “on demand” via “bioprinting,” you can read more of the bull case for the shares in this free article from Michael Robinson’s publisher back in March. I have no idea how or when it becomes a financial viable idea — the path to approval for any kind of engineered human tissue must be a challenging one, so it’s probably good that they’re focused on creating tissue for research purposes right now, but I imagine they’re going to have to see a path forward to making non-laboratory products if folks are going to accept that they should be worth dramatically more in the coming years.
So that’s about all I know about Michael Robinson’s two 3D printing teaser picks — but hey, at least you didn’t have to shell out $695 for the answer!
If you do decide to try Robinson’s new letter, by the way, make sure to come back here and review it for your fellow investors — you could be the first to review this one, and inquiring minds want to know what you think!