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Jeff Bezos, Drake Invest In Sports Media Startup Overtime

  A group of investors including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and famous Canadian rapper Drake have contributed to a large funding round for a sports media startup delivering widely-watched content to fans on social media. That startup is Overtime, which's announced the closing of an $80 million Series C round. Overtime produces sports content delivered to fans primarily on social media and has made a big name for itself there. It boasts an audience of almost 50 million social media followers, an audience attractive enough to advertisers enough to build a strong business. Overtime's $80 million Series C round was led by returning investor Sapphire Sport, Black Capital and a group of big names in the worlds of technology, sports, finance, and music including Jeff Bezos and Drake. Both were joined by more than 25 current and former NBA stars in the round including Trae Young, Devin Booker, Klay Thompson, and Pau Gasol. With Overtime's new round, it's now raised more than $1

Google Execs Draw Big Paydays In 2020

Google is one of the world's biggest technology companies with over $180 billion in revenue last year and its top executives have generally enjoyed big annual paydays due to that. In 2020, it was no exception to the previous years as an annual proxy filing recently filed by Google indicates big paydays for some of its top brass. In 2020, Google's listed highest-paid executive was Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler who got $66.4 million. It's the first time that Google has revealed his pay since he assumed his role in 2015. After Schindler, Google's second-highest paid executive in 2020 was its newly promoted Search boss Prabhakar Raghavan who earned cash and stock worth $55.3 million. Raghavan was promoted to his role after a Google leadership shakeup last year that brought the company's Search, Assistant, and Ads executives to report to him. Other highly paid executives at Google include its Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat who earned $51 million in 2020 a

Job Portal ZipRecruiter Files S-1 To Go Public

The latest hot technology startup to initiate moves for a public listing is ZipRecruiter, a popular online jobs portal. The company has filed plans for a direct listing, taking the path that several hot technology companies have sought to go public as of late (most recently Coinbase and Squarespace ). ZipRecruiter has unveiled an S-1 filing to the US SEC as is usual for companies planning public listings. Also, as expected, the S-1 filing provides better insight into ZipRecruiter's business with information not publicly known before. To start, ZipRecruiter is very profitable unlike many technology startups of its kind. It reported a net income of $86 million on $418 million in revenue in 2020. In the year before that, it had a small net loss of $6 million on $430 million in revenue. ZipRecruiter has very good gross profit margins, producing over $400 million in sales with about $54 million in "Cost of revenue" both in 2020 and 2019. What majorly eats into the company'

Earnings: Snap Inc Reports First Cash Flow-Positive Quarter

Snap Inc, the parent company of popular social app Snapchat, has unveiled its latest earnings report for the first quarter of 2021. Its latest earnings report covers the three months ending March 31, 2021. One key take from Snap's latest earnings is that it reported its first quarter of positive cash flow as a public company. To the layman, it means it pulled in more revenue than it spent, to the tune of $126 million. Snap reported revenue of $770 million for the quarter, up 66% compared to the prior year. The increase was spurred by bigger advertising dollars flowing into Snapchat which's how Snap Inc pulls in the lion's share of its revenue. Snap Inc still isn't profitable and has never been in its four-year history as a public company, with a net loss of $287 million in Q1 2021, but its growing sales has spurred very positive investor sentiment leading to a current market value of $90 billion which's over triple the valuation of its public market debut in 2017.

IPO: UFC Owner Endeavor Sets Terms, To Raise $500M+

Endeavor Holdings, an entertainment conglomerate best known for owning the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) league, filed for an initial public offering earlier this month. It's the second time that the company filed for an IPO, after doing so in 2019 but halting its plans later. Now, Endeavor is certainly set to go public and expected to begin trading on Wednesday, the 28th of April. It's set the terms for its IPO, as indicated by an updated SEC filing . Endeavor plans to sell 21.3 million shares priced at $23 to $24 to raise over $500 million at the mid-range. Shares of the company will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "EDR". In addition to its IPO share sale, Endeavor has arranged a separate private placement to raise $1.8 billion. Out of that amount, $1.35 billion will be Endeavor's proceeds while $437 million will be proceeds for private equity firm KKR, one of Endeavor's main shareholders which's selling shares in the

Psychedelic Drugs Startup ATAI Life Sciences Files For IPO

A German startup that's betting heavily on psychedelic drugs having mainstream medical use soon has filed for an initial public offering in the US. That startup is ATAI Life Sciences, one founded by serial German entrepreneur Christian Angermayer. Backed by nearly $400 million in private funding, ATAI Life Sciences has used its large cash balance to buy up psychedelic drug candidates still in the pipeline. It even recently bought an ambitious startup that wants to use brain-computer interfaces to help treat mental health conditions. ATAI Life Sciences has submitted an S-1 filing for an IPO to the US SEC. It listed a placeholder size offering of $100 million, although that's an amount often used to estimate listing fees and is subject to change at any time. On its end, ATAI is promising investors an opportunity to buy in early into a startup at the forefront of applying psychedelic and hallucinogenic drugs to potentially treat mental disorders. Whether investors buy into that

Coinbase Insiders Cash Out Big On Market Debut

After its recent debut on the public markets, several major shareholders of the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase have apparently seen fit to cash out big sums of their stakes collectively amounting to billions of dollars. Among such insiders include Coinbase's founder and CEO Brian Armstrong and early VC investors Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures (USV). Brian Armstrong, Coinbase's CEO, sold around 750,000 shares in three separate transactions and netted $292 million from the sales, as indicated by an SEC filing . The sale represents less than 2% of his total holdings in the company. Just like Armstrong, Coinbase's other co-founder Fred Ehrsam sold 298,789 Class A shares at a weighted-average price of $374.72 and netted $112 million. He sold shares on Coinbase's Wednesday debut at prices ranging from $318.67 to $422.76. Coinbase's CFO Allesia Hass sold 255,500 shares at a price of $388.73 and netted roughly $99 million. It represents roughly 15% of her h

IPO: Drug Discovery Firm Recursion Pharma Debuts On Markets

Recursion Pharmaceuticals, a company using machine learning to hunt for new drugs and therapies for ailments, has raised $436 million from an initial public offering (IPO) and begun trading on the public markets. It sold roughly 24.2 million shares for $18 each to raise that amount. Recursion Pharma filed for an IPO last month in March. Debuting at $18 per share on the markets, it closed trading on Friday up more than 70% at $31.34, giving it a market value of over $5 billion. A seven-year-old company, Recursion is part of a group of companies that emerged in the past few years to harness the rapid development and improvement in artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies in recent years and apply them to drug discovery. Recursion uses AI and machine learning to help discover new drugs. Its customers are primarily pharmaceutical companies such as Bayer, which has a collaborative agreement with it to seek new drugs for fibrotic diseases. Bayer bought a $50 million stake i

China's Luckin Coffee Gets $250M Investment After Fraud Fallout

Luckin Coffee, the once high-flying Chinese coffee chain startup that came crashing down on the heels of a major accounting fraud wherein it admitted faking revenue to the tune of over $300 million , appears to be attempting to bounce back even after its hefty troubles.  Luckin has said that it's secured a $250 million investment commitment from two Chinese private equity firms, Centurium Capital and Joy Capital, both of whom were existing shareholders of the company before committing the funding. Under their set terms, they'll purchase preferred shares of Luckin Coffee, which was delisted from the Nasdaq stock market last year and now trades over-the-counter. Centurium Capital will invest $240 million while Joy Capital is ponying up a much smaller $10 million. The new capital for Luckin is akin to a bailout that the company hopes to use to rebound its business.  Unsurprisingly, Luckin says that it'll use the new capital it just secured to help pay a hefty $180 million fin

Market Moves: Squarespace Unveils S-1 For Direct Listing

Squarespace, the popular web building and hosting company, has unveiled its S-1 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The company had before now  filed confidentially for a public listing  this January and raised funding valuing it at $10 billion in March. As usual, the S-1 filing gives a peek into Squarespace's business and financials with information not publicly known before. In Squarespace's case, it paints a picture of a rapidly growing company with a history of profitability, the latter of which's a rarity among the recent crop of public listings from the startup world. Squarespace has been profitable for the past three years even as it grew rapidly. From 2018 to 2020, the company's annual revenue grew from $390 million to $621 million while it maintained profitability in the tens of millions. In 2018, 2019, and 2020 respectively, Squarespace reported a profit of $43 million, $58 mi

BlackRock, Temasek Team To Launch $600M Climate-Focused Fund

BlackRock and Temasek, two investment giants of which the former is American and the latter is a sovereign fund of the Government of Singapore, have teamed up to form a big investment fund that'll focus on climate change-centric and green investments. The new fund is named Decarbonization Partners and just like its name suggests will seek out deals for companies working on carbon reduction cum sustainability technologies.  Initially, BlackRock and Temasek have committed $600M to Decarbonization Partners, and the firm as a separate entity has a target to raise $1 billion for its first fund including capital from its anchors BlackRock and Temasek. With the focus on sustainability and climate change growing day by day, it's usual that institutional investors with big loads of capital have turned their ever-deal-seeking eyes towards the sector.  BlackRock's longtime CEO Larry Fink is one of the fore-running business executives pressing for action on climate change globally. Ear

SPAC: Record $40B Merger Deal Sealed By Singapore's Grab

Pertaining true to rumors, Grab, a Singapore-based ride-hailing giant dominating Southeast Asia, has officially agreed to a deal to go public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC).  This time, Grab isn't like other mergers as the $39.6 billion  pro forma equity value that it's negotiated makes the merger the biggest one to date. Deal Details: Grab is merging with Altimeter Growth Corp. (Nasdaq: “AGC”) and will start trading on the Nasdaq exchange with the symbol "GRAB" after the merger.  From its merger, Grab will receive roughly $4.5 billion in gross cash proceeds with most of it coming from a $4 billion PIPE round led by a $750 million commitment from Altimeter Capital, the very sponsor of the SPAC it's merging with.  Grab's merger is not just the biggest ever SPAC deal but is also expected to mark the biggest US equity offering by a company in Southeast Asia. It sets Grab on the global stage outside Southeast Asia where it doesn'

Kim Kardashian’s Shapewear Brand Skims Valued At $1.6B With VC Round

A popular shapewear brand founded by reality TV star Kim Kardashian has raised a round of venture capital funding giving it a robust valuation. Skims, the shapewear brand, has raised a $154 million round giving it a valuation of $1.6 billion. The round was led by Thrive Capital, a VC firm founded and chaired by Joshua Kushner, the husband of model Karlie Kloss and brother of former Trump Senior Advisor Jared Kushner. Existing investors Imaginary Ventures and Alliance Consumer Growth also participated in the round. Skims' $154 million round was a Series A round and the shapewear brand's first big outside round. It signals major success for the brand launched just two years ago by Kardashian. According to reports , the brand made $145 million in sales last year. Kardashian guided Skims to make a few hundreds of millions in sales in just two years on the backs of her fame and social media power. Skims has gained popularity with young shoppers with its shapewear and bodysuits made

Jessica Alba's Honest Company Files For IPO

A consumer goods company founded by popular actress Jessica Alba is the latest company to file for a listing on the public markets. That company is The Honest Company, which was started ten years ago by a team led by Alba. With Alba's popularity, she helped steer The Honest Company into a high sphere of popularity that has brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. The company sells a variety of household products with a major pitch of being eco-friendly. The Honest Company has filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an initial public offering. As usual, the S-1 filing gives a strong insight into the company's business with information not publicly known before. The Honest Company made $301 million in revenue in 2020, compared to $236 million in 2019. The company isn't profitable, reporting a net loss of $14.5 million in 2020 and $31 million in 2019. The Honest Company on Friday filed to sell $100 million worth of shares on the public marke

KKR Gets Bullish On Cloud Storage Company Box, Invests $500M

Private equity giant KKR has gotten bullish on Box, the publicly traded cloud storage company, and backed up its bullishness with a big investment in the company.  KKR has agreed to invest $500 million in Box in the form of convertible preferred stock, giving hopes and much-needed backing to the company amid its struggles with activist investor Starboard Value LP which has pushed for a sale. Last month, Box was reported to be exploring selling itself amid pressure from hedge fund Starboard over its stock performance. Compared to its peers, Box's stock performance has lagged over the years, pulled down by intense competition in its turf from the likes of Google, Microsoft, and Dropbox. Under the terms of KKR's Box investment, it'll get a board seat at the company that'll be occupied by John Park, the firm's Head of Americas Technology Private Equity. Also, Box's founder and longtime Chairman and CEO Aaron Levie will give up his Chairman position but retain his

Ex Starbucks Boss Howard Schultz Invests In Cybersecurity Startup Wiz

Howard Schultz, the former chairman and chief executive officer of coffee chain giant Starbucks, has put a small part of his $5 billion+ fortune to buy a stake in a hot cybersecurity startup named Wiz. Wiz is a cloud security startup founded by serial entrepreneurs that sold their previous cybersecurity startup named Adallom to Microsoft for a reported $320 million. Just a year-old, Wiz recently closed a $130 million funding round valuing it at $1.7 billion , a round that Howard Schultz participated in according to Bloomberg . Schultz's participation in Wiz's recent funding round wasn't reported before. He joined others like Sequoia Capital, Insight Partners, and Greenoaks Capital in the round.  Schultz has previously invested in other startups like Swedish plant-based milk maker Oatly and mental health care provider Lyra Health. With a fortune of over $5 billion, he can very much afford to invest in many startups without even worrying about recouping his investments. Wiz

Larry Page's Air Taxi Startup Sues Rival Archer Aviation

An air taxi startup backed by Google co-founder Larry Page has initiated legal battles with one of its main rivals. The startup, Wisk Aero, is suing rival Archer Aviation, which's on its way to the public markets through a SPAC merger . Wisk Aero, a joint venture between aerospace giant Boeing and Larry Page's air taxi startup Kitty Hawk, is accusing Archer of intellectual property theft facilitated by former employees who left Wisk to work for the company.  Wisk alleges that certain former employees that previously worked for the company before heading to Archer downloaded thousands of files related to its confidential aircraft designs, component designs, system designs, manufacturing, and test data. To make its case, Wisk has centered on an aircraft design recently unveiled by Archer which's strikingly similar to a design that it developed and submitted in a confidential patent application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office back in January 2020. It's shown in the

SoftBank Makes Big Biotech Bet On Genetic Testing Firm Invitae

Japanese investor SoftBank has made a big bet in the biotech world, this time on a publicly-traded genetic testing company named Invitae (NYSE: NVTA). SB Management, a SoftBank subsidiary, led a $1.2 billion convertible bond investment for Invitae that gives the company ample cash to further its growth initiatives. SB Management is SoftBank's asset management group that owns billions of dollars in global stocks. It's separate from SoftBank's famed $100 billion Vision Fund that also makes big bets on global companies. By leading a $1.2B investment in Invitae, SoftBank has added the company to its list of major biotech public holdings which also include Canadian antibody developer AbCellera, 4D Molecular Therapeutics Inc, and DNA-sequencing company Pacific Biosciences of California Inc. Invitae is a genetic testing company offering test services for diseases in a range of areas, including neurology, pediatric genetics, and reproductive health. The company's appeal lies in

LG Backs Out Of Smartphone Business

You can say it's a sad day for the smartphone industry, as it just lost one of its major players. That lost player is South Korea's LG Electronics, which has announced  that it's shuttering its mobile phone business worldwide to focus on other sectors. The decision from LG effectively pulls it out of the smartphone business where it worked hard and tried as much as possible to gain a foothold but is apparently not satisfied with its outcome.  Officially, LG Electronics will wound down its mobile phone business on the 31st of July, 2021, meaning no more new inventory of LG smartphones. The company says it'll continue to provide support and software updates for current LG mobile owners for a "period of time", albeit unspecified, that'll vary by region.  LG's smartphone business is known to have lost money for years, so it seems that LG got tired of bleeding cash in a business that's rife with intense competition globally. Rumors flying around is that

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Warren Buffett Makes A Rare Startup Bet, In Brazil

Warren Buffett is a legendary investor, one known for making a huge fortune from buying and selling stakes in many companies. Via his firm, Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett has led investments in many companies across many industries. Though, in his long investing career, Buffett has largely shied away from one area - tech startups and companies. Paraphrasing his own words, it's because he "didn't understand it".  As time has progressed, Buffett has somewhat become friendly with tech investments, starting with bigger names like Apple and IBM, and then Paytm , India's premier fintech startup. Now, in his latest tech bet, Buffett's Berkshire has ventured into Brazil to the country's premier fintech startup, just like it did in India.  Berkshire has bought a $500mn stake  in Nubank , a premier neobank and the largest fintech startup in Brazil and Latin America at large. The investment is part of a $750mn round for the company at a reported valuation of $30bn.  At

SPAC: Self-Driving Startup Plus To Go Public In $3.3B Deal

An autonomous driving startup with its major operations in the US and China is the latest tech company that's set to hit the public markets through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). That startup is Plus (formerly, one focused on automated trucking. Plus has agreed to a deal to merge with Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. V (NASDAQ: HCIC) and become a public company. The terms of the merger value the self-driving startup at $3.3bn. From its merger, Plus will get $345mn of cash held in trust by HCIC and then a $150mn PIPE round from investors including BlackRock and the D. E. Shaw Group. That sums up to a cool $495mn for the company to fund its operations. The cash from its SPAC merger is crucial for Plus, as a company that plans to kick off mass production of its product this year.  Plus sells a stack of hardware and complementary software to enable automated driving for trucks. Its main customer base is truck manufacturers, such as China's F

SPAC: EV Startup Lordstown Motors Is In Trouble

You may have heard of this story before - an electric car startup launches, then makes very big promises to investors as it sought to go public through a SPAC merger. But, it later turned out that those promises were a sham. In the above short story, that was Nikola , the troubled electric car startup that was the first company to test the waters of the current SPAC boom. Now, that story is likely repeating itself with another company - Lordstown Motors (NASDAQ: RIDE) . In a recent filing to the SEC , Lordstown warned that it doesn't have sufficient capital to fund commercial-scale production of its electric truck. This is despite raising $675mn from its SPAC merger last year. With its admission of lacking capital, Lordstown is definitely in financial trouble if further investment isn't secured. The question is will investors will be willing to give it loads of cash once again? Lordstown's recent admission is just much in contrast with its sentiment at the time of its SPAC

Space: Rocket Trip With Jeff Bezos Sells For $28M

A seat on a planned short space trip by Blue Origin, the aerospace company owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, has been auctioned off for a large amount - $28mn . That emerged as the winning bid from a group of 7,600 people across 159 countries. The $28mn bid was won by a yet-to-be-identified person, who will take a short trip to space aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket. He/she will tag along with Jeff Bezos and his brother Mark Bezos on the trip to the edge of space. It'll be a short 11-minute trip to suborbital space and back as the first crewed mission undertaken by Blue Origin. It's a critical first space trip with humans aboard since Blue Origin was founded in 2000. The ride aboard Blue Origin's rocket is scheduled for July 20, barely two weeks after Bezos will step down as Amazon's CEO and become Chairman. It seems he has been waiting all this while to relinquish his CEO duties and take a trip to space. Blue Origin's first crewed mission is a thing of p

Covid-19: Novavax Says Vaccine 90% Effective

An American biotech firm working on a vaccine for Covid-19 has announced very positive results from its trials. That firm is Novavax , a reputed vaccine maker that began working on a Covid vaccine late last year. Novavax said its vaccine demonstrated 90.4% efficacy against Covid-19 from a sample of nearly 30k participants in the US and Mexico. At that, it plans to file for authorization with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) later this year. Novavax seems late to the game after successful Covid vaccines for the US have already been developed by Pfizer and Moderna. It's yet to receive authorization at a time when hundreds of millions of Pfizer and Moderna doses have already been sold in the US and abroad. Unlike Moderna and Pfizer, Novavax's Covid vaccine is protein-based rather than the mRNA technology the two companies decided to work with. The use of proteins is a long-established way of making vaccines compared to the mRNA which is new to mass production. There ap

Alert: FDA Approves New Alzheimer's Drug From Biogen

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted a landmark approval for a new drug to treat Alzheimer's , a neurologic disorder that affects millions worldwide. It's the first medication cleared by US regulators to treat the ailment in two decades. The drug granted clearance is  Aduhelm made by Cambridge-based Biogen. It's a branded name for  Aducanumab , a medication that works by removing sticky deposits of a protein called amyloid beta found in the brains of early Alzheimer's patients, with the hopes of reducing the ailment's buildup. As a note, Aduhelm is not a cure for Alzheimer's, but a way to attack what is believed to be an underlying cause in the disease in its early stages. It can't be used to tackle Alzheimer's that has already progressed to later stages. Aduhelm will cost $56k per year to patients.  The FDA clearance for Aduhelm came despite objections from many in the scientific and medical community, where there has been a fierce

Alert: Roblox Faces Major Lawsuit Over Music Rights

Shortly after a very successful public listing, gaming platform Roblox now has a formidable obstacle to face. It's getting sued by a group of music publishers alleging exploitation by their music being used on the Roblox platform without permission or payment. The music group suing Roblox includes Universal Music Publishing, Big Machine Records, and popular DJ Deadmau5. They're represented by the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and seeking at least $200mn in damages. The major allegation against Roblox is that it sells its users the option to insert virtual music players into games they create and that play copyrighted music by artists without compensating writers and copyright holders.  As such, the NMPA asserts that Roblox is enabling piracy with its user base, which skews towards young kids. “Roblox actively preys on its impressionable user base and their desire for popular music, teaching children that pirating music is perfectly acceptable,” the complaint s

Fintech: Sweden's Klarna Raises $640M, Valued At $46B

  Klarna, Europe's premier "buy now, pay later" financing startup has closed a big new round of funding. It's confirmed a $639mn financing round valuing it a whopping $45.6bn. The financing round was led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, a new investor in the company. Other existing investors including Adit Ventures and WestCap Group also chipped into the round. With a $46bn valuation, Klarna has taken the top spot as the most valuable privately-held tech startup in Europe, according to CB Insights data . Globally, it's the second-most valuable, only beaten by American payments processor  Stripe . A company based out of Sweden, Klarna has built itself into the leading "buy now, pay later" provider globally, beating out Afterpay in Australia and Affirm in America. The company reported $1.1bn in net revenue on a gross merchandise volume of $53bn in 2020. After conquering many markets in Europe, Klarna's major focus is now in the US, where it launched i

Markets: Zoom, Salesforce Invest In's IPO

The stock market devotees of the tech world should be aware of, an Israeli software company that filed for a US IPO last month May. After filing, recently had a successful market debut, with two big names chipping in cash to invest. The two big names are Zoom , the popular video-conferencing software company, and CRM software giant Salesforce . They each bought shares worth $75mn at its IPO price and got a modest paper profit as the company soared 15% on its first trading day. Soaring 15%, the $75mn of shares each bought by Salesforce and Zoom produced a one-day gain of $11.6mn. It's a benefit of being a strategic investor whereas it got to purchase shares at the floor IPO price like the bankers underwriting the listing. Though, the shares purchased by Zoom and Salesforce are subject to lock-up restrictions and can't be sold for a period of 180 days. It means the profit is only on paper for now and could get reversed at the whims of the market.

Crypto: MicroStrategy Offers More Junk Bonds To Buy BTC

There's been one company at the forefront of promoting bitcoin use in the corporate world - MicroStrategy . It's bought a few billion dollars worth of bitcoin, financed by its own cash flow as well as borrowings on the bond market. Now, MicroStrategy is back again on the bond market to raise cash to buy bitcoin. This is despite its own indication of expecting to report an impairment loss of $285mn  in its next earnings report due to fluctuation in the price of bitcoin that it holds. MicroStrategy is selling $500mn worth of high-yield bonds, fondly called junk bonds, to buy bitcoin. The bonds are senior notes due by 2028, with an annual interest of 6.125%. MicroStrategy apparently is dazzled with bitcoin, such that after selling $1.6bn worth of bonds last year to buy it, it's back on the block to sell $500mn more. In fact, it originally planned to sell $400mn but topped $100mn more at the last minute. Buying bitcoin is how MicroStrategy has drawn the attention of many inves