Motley Fool’s “Like Buying Apple Before the iPhone” Pitch

What does David Gardner call "the one breakthrough you can't afford to miss in 2017?"

“Here’s what world famous tech investor Marc Andreesen had to say:

‘For fun, our firm has an internal game of what public companies we’d invest in if we were a hedge fund. We’d put all our money into [this same company].’

So... what's the stock? Answers below...

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, March 15, 2017

This article was first published January 23, 2017, it has not been updated or revised.

This ad caught my eye over the weekend, and it had enough clues that the Thinkolator started chugging along almost before I turned the switch this morning — so let’s dig in, and maybe we can even make it a little quicker than usual.

The spiel is for the Motley Fool’s flagship Stock Advisor newsletter, and it’s hinting at a pick by David Gardner, who is the “Growth” half of the founding Fool brothers. His brother, Tom, tends to focus more on valuation — David is the one who likes buying “Rule Breaker” companies that are changing the world… and that Wall Street thinks are “too expensive.” I’m often a bit of a fuddy duddy on valuation, so I tend to find more that is comfortable to me among Tom’s recommendations that I’ve seen, but David’s have done far better over time (largely because of the outsize impact of the multi-thousand-percent returns from picks like Priceline and Amazon and Netflix early on).

So what is it that Dave Gardner is pitching to try to lure in new Stock Advisor subscribers? Let’s take a look at the details of the ad.

It starts out with some broader hints:

“David Gardner’s newest stock is the leader in what our analysts believe is the one breakthrough you can’t afford to miss in 2017.

“Wall Street Insiders are calling it ‘bigger than the Internet.’

“One Legendary Google Engineer is saying this technology will be as transformative as the discovery of electricity.”

OK, so plenty to get you daydreaming about riches there — what might get the Thinkolator pointed at the right answer? Some more specific clues:

“Here’s what world famous tech investor Marc Andreesen had to say:

‘For fun, our firm has an internal game of what public companies we’d invest in if we were a hedge fund. We’d put all our money into [this same company].’

“This incredible company’s platform is so dominant… that they are being compared to Microsoft in the early days or Apple before the iPhone.

“Here’s Andreesen again:

‘We’ve been investing in a lot of startups applying this technology to many areas, and every single one effectively comes in building on the [same company’s] platform. It’s like when people were all building on Windows in the ’90s or all building on the iPhone in the late 2000s.'”

And apparently this is a threepeat recommendation from David Gardner:

“It first caught his attention back in 2005 when it traded for a paltry split-adjusted $6.62 per share. He issued a buy recommendation that’s gone on to incredible 1,496% gains!

“David went back to the table to recommend the stock in December, 2009. Investors who bought then are already up 575%!

“And now David is issuing a brand-new recommendation on the company for a simple reason…

“The field this company dominates recently experienced breakthroughs that led researcher Tractica to estimate jaw-dropping 5,395% growth across the next decade!”

So who is it?

This is, once again, our old friend NVIDIA (NVDA), which has been the hottest large cap stock in the market over the past year or so on the back of strong revenue growth, accelerating earnings growth, and a great “story” thanks to the company’s important role in several large investing and tech trends, including virtual reality, artificial intelligence and deep learning, data center acceleration, and, in what is being pitched mostly here, autonomous driving.

I’ve written about NVIDIA a bunch of times — it has indeed been teased and recommended by David Gardner before, he pitched it as “Warren Buffett’s nightmare” stock starting almost three years ago because of the role that autonomous driving might have in cutting auto insurance rates (or, someone hold their hands over the poor GEICO Gecko’s ears, doing away with auto insurance altogether)… and it has been a phenomenal performer since then, up more than 400%. It was also pitched heavily a few times by Michael Robinson starting a little over a year ago as a play on “neural imprintingR