De-teasing Manward’s “#1 pre-IPO investment for 2021”

What's being teased by Manward's new Venture Fortunes? (Plus, a little primer on SPACs)

Today we’re sniffing out some teased picks by Andy Snyder that were hinted at in ads for his new “upgrade” newsletter at Manward Press. It’s called Venture Fortunes, and theoretically has a $5,000 sticker price but is being launched at $1,975 for the “charter” subscribers, who also get two years (“list price” in these kinds of letters exists just to get you to think that you’re getting a bargain at $2,000 for some investment research… though they do, to their credit, offer a refund for folks who test the product for a full year and are disappointed, now sadly a rarity for the “upgrade” newsletters that generate most of a publisher’s profit).

And the idea with this Venture Profits newsletter is to “get in early” on hot stocks and IPOs, which is, of course, a hugely popular idea… particularly among newer investors who think they’ve “missed out” on past growth stocks. He even teases a “back door,” which is a popular metaphor for a sneaky way to invest in a hot idea — and that, of course, makes it feel more justifiable to pony up a huge price for a newsletter, because you’re getting access to something “secret” (wait behind the velvet rope with the peons? Forget it, dude, I’m using the VIP “back door!”)

None of this will be all that “secret” to most Gumshoe readers, since you’re so smart and well-informed already (and lest I forget to mention, looking really sharp today!), but let’s see how he pitches this… the ad is staged as an “interview” with a newsy-type person, Corrina Sullivan, who is one of the huge flock of freelance former TV news reporters and anchors whose TV-ready personalities make the world of promotional “interview” presentations and corporate videos seem somehow reassuring and familiar. Here’s a bit from the infomercial, in Snyder’s words…

“… with the back door I’m going to talk about today, anybody can get into the hottest pre-IPO opportunities, usually for around just $10…

“Today, I’ll explain how this back door works so our audience can decide for themselves whether it’s right for them.

“I’ll give everyone watching details on my #1 pre-IPO investment for 2021.

“And I’ll also share the details behind THREE MORE little-known pre-IPO opportunities.

“Each of these companies plays a key role in developing new technologies that are changing our world.”

And it will come as no surprise that what he’s really talking about here are SPACs…

“I believe the success of Virgin Galactic’s SPAC fundamentally changed the IPO market.

“And it started the SPAC revolution in 2020.

“As Jack Ablin, the chief investment officer of $12 billion investment fund Cresset Capital, says…

‘It’s an easier and often cheaper way for private firms to go public.’

“After Virgin Galactic went public and proved startups could bypass the Wall Street machine, the number of SPAC deals took off…”

That’s certainly true, though the market has cooled off dramatically now — for six months or so, from last Fall through February or March, anything related to SPACs seemed to be soaring as investors got excited about the next big deal and the idea of buying “pre-IPO” companies. Those Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs — more on that in a moment if the idea is new to you) have raised giant pools of capital in their “blank check” listings on the stock market, and are looking to invest that money by merging with private companies to take them public… which, depending on who you talk to, is either a democratization of the IPO process or a way to further fleece novice investors.

Snyder goes through the basic idea of SPACs, which we’ll skip for the moment, but the basic backdrop is that hundreds of those SPACs are out there, with billions of dollars burning holes in their pockets (if they don’t buy something, they have to give it back — which is the LAST thing a SPAC manager wants to do), so they’ll be making deals right and left over the next couple years… Snyder’s new high-end newsletter, like many others from most publishers, is trying to take advantage of that buzz and promising to try to recommend the best plays on this group of new-to-the-market companies.

Which ones does he like? We do get a tease for his favorite, along with three others, so we’ll put the Thinkolator to work, get some names for you, then you can research and decide for yourself, without a $1,975 impulse purchase of a newsletter clouding your judgement. Here’s more from the pitch:

“Our strategy is to purchase SPACs planning to merge with companies you want to be invested in….

“… it’s an easy decision to invest in SPACs because…

  • You need only a small amount of money.
  • If the SPAC doesn’t go public, you get your $10 back.
  • SPAC pre-IPO profits come in a fraction of the time that regular pre-IPO profits take.
  • And you can do it over and over and over again.”

Snyder also tells us what he looks for in these SPAC deals…

“There are three main boxes I like to check.

  • I want to see quality backers and management.
  • I want the company to be set up for big growth in a huge market.
  • I want to see that the company is a first mover in its market.”

The examples of past deals he thinks meet those criteria is a nice cherry-picking of a few of the most popular SPAC deals in the last year, including Luminar (LAZR), AppHarvest (APPH) and QuantumScape (QS)… but what’s his favorite “#1 pre-IPO investment” right now? We finally get into the clues…

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“I’m recommending people buy a SPAC that could merge with a genetics company in the coming weeks.

“But this isn’t a normal SPAC…

“It’s funded by the guy who started this revolution in the first place… billionaire and founder of Virgin Galactic Sir Richard Branson.

“He says this genetics company is ‘absolutely transforming drug discovery.'”

And a few other clues we can feed to the hungry Thinkolator…

“This company is the first mover and market leader in the field of genetic testing.

“It has 8 million separate, individual genomes sequenced….

“The personalized medicine market size is expected to reach $3 trillion by 2025.

“And this single company is by far the market leader.

The Wall Street Journal reports that it has ‘a pipeline of more than 30 therapeutic programs, spanning oncology [as well as] respiratory, cardiovascular and other diseases.'”

And apparently it’s still trading at roughly the initial SPAC price, which means investors are not super-lusty about the idea at the moment (this is true of a lot of SPACs — anyone with a deal announcement saw their price soar during the high times a few months ago, but investors have grown more cautious of late) … and, of course, we have the “urgent” message that all newsletter ads are required to include (if there’s no rush, why would I pull out my credit card RIGHT THIS SECOND and spend $2,000?)…

“But to be very clear: There’s serious urgency right now to get in.

“The company could go public in the coming weeks… if not days.”

That’s one you might well have heard of before, it’s Anne Wojcicki’s 23andMe, which is in the process of merging with Richard Branson’s VG Acquisition SPAC (VGAC) and, assuming the deal is consummated as planned, will mean that VGAC changes tickers to ME, probably within the next month or so.

23andMe started life as the first high-profile “check your DNA” company almost 15 years ago now, and has been through a few upheavals in that time — originally they wanted to provide preventive DNA-based health screening to consum