Home / Tag Archives: Investing

Tag Archives: Investing

Small Business Investment Tips for Doing Well in the Stock Market

Small businesses should take advantage of investing more as they start to accumulate profits. Investing can provide added capital over time that can make it easier to take advantage of opportunities that come up and facilitate healthy cash flow.

The following are six important tips to keep in mind if you’re using small business funds to invest and grow capital:


Take advantage of penny stocks in order to get started

In the early days, it’s a good idea to look into penny stocks because they don’t require a significant investment but they have a lot of potential in some cases. Investing in penny stocks is probably not going to make you rich, but it could help you to learn the ropes of investing. And don’t forget that some people have made a fortune from penny stocks. Just a few examples of one-time penny stocks that hit the big time include True Religion Apparel, Medifast, and Mylan Pharmaceuticals.


Try to incorporate investments into your own business interests

The best way to invest for small businesses is to invest in such a way that long term business goals are worked toward through investments. Before making any type of investment, it’s a good idea to look at your long term goals and how you could use any available investment funds to meet those goals. In particular, you may want to do research on how a bull call spread can benefit your market to get some low risk chances of benefiting your business interests.


Avoid going overboard on a particular investment

One of the most basic rules of investment is learning to diversify. A lot of times, fledgling investors are tempted to put all their eggs in one basket because they have a real hunch about a particular stock or investment. However, going overboard on a particular investment creates a lot of risk. You need to diversify because, while one stock or investment may turn out to be a lemon, they all won’t. Diversify your investments so that you spread the risk out. This will give you the greatest chances for success in investing generally.


Be aware of the potential that mutual funds offer

Mutual funds offer a great opportunity for beginning investors to make some money without having to take great risks. When you are unfamiliar with the world of investing, you want to minimize risks in order to minimize losses. Mutual funds involve investing money into hundreds of stock so that risks is spread out without you’re having to make any decisions or conduct any analysis on what you’re specifically investing in. Mutual funds generally allow your investments to grow slowly and to weather the vicissitudes of the market well even though you’re not a very experienced investor.


Be patient

One of the number one rules you need to remember about investing is that you’re almost never going to get rich quickly by investing. This means that you need to bide your time and be patients about returns on investments in the stock market. Stocks that are good investments will go up little by little each day.

However, stock market investments won’t increase significantly in value immediately so you’re going to have to sit back and watch. Patience in investing leads to the greatest successes. Remember that stock market investment profits are passive, so even if they take time they don’t require upkeep or ongoing effort.


Invest strategically to minimizes fees and taxes

There are often a lot of fees that go along with making investments on certain trading platforms online. You’re also going to have to pay taxes on any investment earnings your company has.

It’s important to analyze the expenses that fees and taxes will involve and invest strategically by being aware of what it costs and what it will cost to make your investments.

Comments »

Stock Investing for Small Business Owners

Small business owners relish the potential to earn a great deal of money running their enterprises. Budding entrepreneurs should be aware one positive thing. The wealth amassed from owning a small business isn’t contingent on earning massive profits each year. Consistently saving and investing profits — even modest ones — every year might build up the business’ value and the owner’s net worth significantly.


The Corporate Strategy

Often, what works for large corporations also works for small businesses. The approaches may be scaled down a little, but the overall strategies remain the same. One strategy involves taking profits and investing the money. This creates added valuation to the business while hedging against losses related to expenditures. The insurance industry presents an example of this strategy as interest on investments may offset payments on settled claims. A small business tracking its finances with a netsuite alternative could do the same thing.


Of course, a small business owner must be smart about choosing an investment strategy. By relying on safe investments, a small business owner might find his/her profits growing in a safe place.


Long-Term and Low-Risk

Putting a set percentage of revenue into aggressive, risky endeavors aren’t automatically bad ones. Long-term investments — even risky ones — might prove profitable. That said, would you really want to put a significant amount of business profits into risky vehicles? Lower-risk investments safeguards cash and allow the money to grow. A major corporation in dire need of building up capital could seek high-yield municipal bonds offer ing6% returns. These bonds, however, come with the looming risk of default. A treasury bond pays far less than 6%, but the odds of default aren’t exactly high.


Generally, long-term and low-risk investment strategies benefit the small business owner. Less risk has its rewards.


Diversify Assets

Certain approaches can undermine low-risk investments. For example, putting too much money into any single investment vehicle can turn low-risk investments into potentially higher-risk ones. Imagine if all of a business’ cash reserves were put into the stock market and the market crashed. For all intents and purposes, the business crashes with the market.


Savvy investors wouldn’t likely create a personal portfolio completely lacking in diversity. The same logical attitude frequently applies when investing a small business’ funds. Diversity the portfolio to reduce risk while allowing money to grow in different ways.


Match Approaches to Business and Investing

Matching business strategies and goals to your investment strategies and goals makes sense. That is, if you seek moderate growth in your business’ profits, think about seeking the same level of growth with the investments. It would be an odd strategy to try and grow a business carefully and then take the capital and put it into an aggressive growth venture known for occasionally serious losses. If you’re conservative with your business, then you likely would be more comfortable as an equally conservative investor.


Don’t Allow Trading Fees to Cut into Profits

In order to buy stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other assets, you must purchase from a broker. Brokers do need to make money for their services. Paying fees may be unavoidable, but you can cut down on the amount of money spent on trades. Before you sign up with any brokerage service, closely examine all the fees associated with the service. Seek out a reputable broker who provides reasonable fees that won’t cut into your initial buy too much.


Stay on Top of Taxes

Investments may come with tax obligations. Certain investments do fall under the category of nontaxable income, but this isn’t the case all the time. Taxes might need to be paid on dividends and capital gains. Keep all 1099s related to all investments because they will be needed at tax time. Failure to report any taxable income, even due to an honest omission, could lead to an audit or fines.


In short, be as careful with your investments as you are with your business. Make the two work together well contribute to improving your financial standing.

Comments »

Increasing Your Portfolio Across Borders

Unless you live in a cave, globalization hasn’t escaped your notice. While international trade has flourished, so has international investing. In the old days, international investing was a realm for wealthy and professional investors. It was risky and expensive. Besides, the U.S. was by far the world’s biggest economy, and investing here was better.

In 2017, investors who said that had to eat their hats. Using the S&P 500 as the domestic benchmark, U.S. equities rose by 21.83 percent. That’s not bad, but consider this: The MSCI ACWI EX US, a measure of the world’s stock market performance excluding the U.S., saw a gain of 27.9 percent. Europe, Asia, and the Far East recorded gains of 25.03 percent. Emerging markets enjoyed a stunning 37.28 percent rise.

For international stocks, the party is far from over, according to Nicole Coombes and Paul Fortin, due diligence analysts with Boston Private. “We are particularly bullish on international equities right now. They had a strong year in 2017, and we think that’s going to continue,” explains Coombes. If that prediction holds true, investors have a lot to look forward to in the international sector. Coombes recommends always having a piece of the international market. Here’s why:


A well-diversified portfolio in today’s era needs to include more than U.S. investments. Investors need to hedge all sorts of risks, including to the U.S. economy and the U.S. dollar.

2.New opportunities

International markets, especially emerging markets, are full of fresh investment opportunities. Gains from fast growing economies, privatization, and loosening trade barriers are projected to continue far into the future.

3.Attractive valuations

No matter how good a company or its products, its stock has to be valued right to be a good investment. The international markets provide much larger opportunities for value investing.

Avoid country bias

American investors have 75 percent of their equities in American companies, even though they own 53 percent of the world’s stocks. This shows a definite bias towards U.S. stocks. Why?

Americans are familiar with American companies. They know Amazon, Microsoft, and the other S&P 500 components. Overseas companies are unknown, but they are where opportunity lies.

Equity prices in the U.S. stock market are looking expensive. Even with some recent pullbacks, the P/E ratio of big U.S. companies, and the valuation of the market itself, are far above the international average. With these high valuations comes the specter of a bubble not seen in international stocks.

Another reason U.S. investors shy away from international equities is a false sense that international investing is too complicated. The real problem may be more in line with international markets being unfamiliar. Though investing in unfamiliar territory causes some justifiable reticence, a ready solution is close at hand.

International stock funds take all the guesswork out of investing overseas. Professional money managers pick the best values, after countless hours of research, so you don’t have to. This takes away the problem of having to worry about investing in something you don’t understand.

The fund managers understand these markets. With the incredible performance of many international markets and their values still remaining low, international funds stand to outpace their U.S. counterparts for years to come.

Increase your profits with options

Options are a great tool to increase returns in flat markets. With the U.S. market seeming to slow down, it’s a good idea to branch out into other investment vehicles. One way to use options to capitalize on placid market waters is through a bull call spread strategy.

This spread involves purchasing a call option and put option on the same stock with the same expiration date, as Investopedia explains. Because volatility is expected to remain low until the expiration date, there is a high chance that the stock price will fall between the strike prices of the call and put. In that case, the investor profits from both positions.

Comments »

Investment Tips before Investing In Private Companies

Investors seeking to invest in private companies will admit that it is not an easy decision, owing to the risks involved, long-term investments and liquidity issues. Whether you are investing in a private company for the first time or you have invested in over 100 companies, it pays to learn the basics so that you don’t make mistakes. For starters, you need to understand what you want to gain from the investment, but don’t primarily focus on making money. Investors seeking to invest in companies should pursue projects that they are familiar with, have a passion for, and have background knowledge on so that they can easily make more money. Besides, investors should also consider these other things before investing in companies.


Have diversified strategies

You are not likely to be a successful investor if you put all your money in only three or four companies. Studies reveal that successful private investors invest in between seven to ten companies. In fact, angel investors have about nine years of experience, and they have an average of one investment per year. Therefore, you should identify the amount of money you plan to allocate to that class so that you can diversify your investments to increase success odds and reduce risks.


Talk to customers

You need to get more customer data so that you make the right investment decision. In fact, you should talk to not less than five customers who use the service or product. It will enable you to understand from the first-hand users of products or services the void that the brand fills as well as what they like about it. When talking to them, find out if there is an alternative product or service that they would use in place of the product or service. You should find out if they would still use the brand if competitors drop the prices, why they would or would not consider using another product so that you can gauge their loyalty to your product. Most importantly, find out from the customers if they can refer other people to use the product. Investors should pay attention to the kind of customers that the company has, and they can feel safe if the customers promote the product.


Know the exit strategy

You should understand the exit scenarios of the sector that you want. Consider how big the company needs to be and the margins so that it can go public or have an attractive acquisition target. Also, you should understand the options available to you as the investor when buying or selling specific underlying equity. Investors can be a short or long put strategy based on the rights to sell the specific investment.


Talk to an expert

Investors should talk to experts in the sector that they have interest in, to get advice on various issues such as the viability of the industry. You can look for financial experts in that sector rather than in other sectors because the later might not be knowledgeable in your business of interest. Also, you should ensure that you talk to an attorney so that you know legal requirements such as legal documents when investing in private companies. Let your lawyer see all the documents to get feedback. Investors should understand their lawyer’s points even if they don’t care about them.


Know the deal

Investors should know how the deal structure and the company’s valuation stack up against other companies in the sector. They need to consider the valuation relative to other companies depending on several factors such as growth rate, capital structure, revenue, risk profile, and net income. You should avoid companies with a high valuation.


Understand the business

Investors should invest in what they know, which means that they should use their products or services before they invest in the industry. An investor who understands a business has more confidence in the investment than one who doesn’t know about the company. Besides, you cannot invest in a tech business when you don’t have a tech background. You should understand tech trends and how technology is affecting various industries among other pressing issues before you invest in the tech business.

Comments »

How to Build Wealth on a Firm Foundation

There are many ways to increase your investment portfolio, but there are two rules you must follow when you set out on your mission to make more money. First, you must determined to have a balanced portfolio to ward off any dips. Second, you must not ever, ever panic.


Most experts say people make terrible mistakes when they panic during a drop. They sell assets low only to give themselves a facepalm when their former stocks dramatically rise later. Building a portfolio takes time, most of it waiting, and you need to be prepared to let your assets simmer over a decade or two to truly build wealth.


Conservative Choices for Older Investors

Beyond that, there are some things you can do to increase your wealth and protect your assets. Most experts state you can take on more risk with aggressive stocks when you are younger. The older you are the more you should look to conservative investments like bonds or treasury notes. They offer less in return, but are safe.


There is a lot of talk about gold, silver and other precious metals. A diversification into precious metals could be helpful to offset any loss in stocks over the years. Gold goes the opposite direction of stocks because of its inverted relationship with inflation. If stocks are down, gold prices surge. Be aware that gold will more than double, possibly even triple, but it takes 20 years to get the most value out of it.


Blue chip stocks, those companies that have been around and are sure winners, are always good to include in your portfolio. They usually have strong growth and carry little risk.


Aggressive Investment Choices

Cryptocurrency is the center of a lot of talk because of Bitcoin’s sudden value rise and drop over the past year, but most experts remain wary of investing in the online currency. There are at least 20 different cryptocurrencies to choose from and all have their different advantages. Bitcoin is the most well known, but some of the lesser known currencies like Ethereum and Litecoin deserve some notice. Around 43 percent of those who are into cryptocurrency say the future is in Ripple.


Some of the largest growth is coming in new technology like artificial intelligence, according to stock experts. A fund including new tech like blockchains or a GPU database could net big money as the technology grows. Blockchains, which are the tech behind cryptocurrency, are considered by some to be a smarter choice than cryptocurrency itself. GPU databases are showing they offer more functionality than in gaming and should see expansion into other sectors, like the financial or industries wanting to effectively supercharge their databases.


Those watching the stock market advice real, serious money will be made by investing in the back-end tech behind new inventions like self-driving cars, virtual medical exams, and water filtration systems. These are all smaller, unknown companies at the moment, but are the ones that make new inventions function.


The Past is Made New Again

There could also be significant growth in sectors that were once U.S. industry leaders, but died off in the global market. President Donald Trump’s deregulation efforts, tariffs and one-on-one agreements will have a significant impact on industries like steel, automotive, and coal. Coal companies are reopening in the Blue Ridge Mountains and steel companies are seeing profit sharing stocks rise. One company saw a 13 percent profit sharing increase since Nov. 8, when Trump was elected. Part of confidence stems out of the promise of protective tariffs and part from dramatic infrastructure improvements.


Investing is a smart decision as long as you make it an informed decision. Brokerages have investment funds of solid choices which do the research for you and that is helpful to new investors. In the end, you will find having any kind of investment portfolio is better than not having one at all.

Comments »

4 Big Names In and Around Silicon Valley Who Have Invested in Smart Drugs

Sometimes it can be difficult to maintain your focus, concentration, and energy. If you have to work long hours, spending long periods of time in front of a computer, it’s easy to get drained pretty quickly. With this in mind, many people turn to quick fixes — things like coffee or energy drinks — as a way to stay at the top of their game. While these temporary boosts may work in the short-term, many would rather seek a longer lasting solution. That’s where so-called “smart drugs” come in. Smart drugs (sometimes called nootropics) is the all-encompassing name used to refer to the drugs and supplements that are designed to enhance cognitive functions like creativity, motivation, memory, focus, and more. It’s not just a niche market either. Some notable names from Silicon Valley have made strides in promoting smart drugs with big investments.


Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that Silicon Valley minds have gravitated toward smart drugs. Silicon Valley business experts like to stay on the cutting edge and tap into trends as they’re on the rise. Here are four who are putting their money where their mouth is, so to speak.


Marc Andreessen


Marc Andreessen is a co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. You’ve likely heard his name before. He’s a billionaire who has invested in such notable companies as Skype, Airbnb, Twitter, and Buzzfeed. So Andreessen has a pretty good record when it comes to backing successful ventures. One of the smart drug companies he’s invested in is Nootrobox, a startup based out of San Francisco. Nootrobox is founded by Michael Brandt and Geoffrey Woo, and the investment is meant to help in further research of nootropics along with increasing production of their offerings. Andreessen and his venture capital group clearly see the potential in this field.


Steve Farber


Steven Farber is the president and founder of The Extreme Leadership Institute, which helps develop leaders within education, the business community, and non-profits. He’s also a best-selling author and a motivational speaker focused on leadership. Since he’s so connected with business leaders, he also is in tune with the demands on Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. In dealing with these demands, he eventually discussed nootropics with Daniel Schmachtenberger, one of the founders of the Neurohacker Collective. As Farber puts it, he came away from the discussions so impressed that he became a channel partner for the company. The Neurohacker Collective looks to provide nootropic supplements designed to help people focus, improve motivation, and enhance overall brain health.


Marissa Mayer and Mark Pincus


For this entry, we’ll return to the company Nootrobox, which not only got backing from Andreessen Horowitz but two other notable Silicon Valley leaders: Marissa Mayer and Mark Pincus. Mayer was a long-time executive of Google before becoming the president and CEO of Yahoo!, a position she resigned from in 2017. Pincus is the co-founder and former CEO of Zynga, the company behind top social media games like Farmville and Words With Friends. Both Mayer and Pincus were attracted to the idea of smart drugs and jumped on board with a $500,000 investment each. The two have other connections with Nootrobox as well. Mayer originally hired one of the company’s founders back when she worked at Google, and Pincus worked next door to Nootrobox at the time the investment happened.

Comments »

Diversify Your IRA With These Nontraditional Investments


Opening an IRA to save for your retirement is an exciting prospect, but it can also be a little intimidating with so many investment strategies open to you. In most cases, people stick with mutual funds and individual stocks, but they may be unaware that they can diversify their holdings among a wider range of investments. By taking full advantage of the opportunities available to you, you can increase your chances of achieving greater returns and a more positive outlook for your future.


Adding Precious Metals to Your Portfolio

You might already have invested in precious metals through your choices in stocks and funds, but maybe you would feel better about actually purchasing the metal itself. Whether your preference is for coins, gold bars, or silver, there is a process that makes it possible to add these products to your IRA portfolio. It will require you to obtain an IRA specialty custodian, before you can proceed.

Next, you’ll be required to complete an application and fund the account with the money you’ll use to buy the metals. This is important, because you cannot use precious metals already in your possession, according to IRS stipulations. The third step involves choosing the metals for your investment. For instance, you might choose gold bars, which will require you to negotiate with as gold broker. Once you settle on the price and quantity, you’ll contact your specialty custodian, who will execute the deal and issue payment.


Real Estate Presents a Number of Investment Opportunities

Trust deeds are one way to go in which your funds are loaned to a borrower with their real estate put up as collateral. In this scenario, you’ll essentially become the banker for this one property with your IRA account loaning the money. This is a secured loan, because your money is backed by the asset of the real estate property, though you won’t see a profit, if the value of that property happens to rise. Still, the rate of return is significantly higher, when compared to other investments.

Another option is to buy real estate directly with your IRA funds, but check with your administrator before you act. Some IRAs won’t allow this type of investment. Additionally, all expenses must be paid with your IRA funds, because the IRS prohibits mixing non-IRA funds with your investment. You’re also restricted from buying property for your own personal use, or you may face penalties.


Buy Interest in a Business

Here is another option that you might want to consider, especially if you know of a business that you believe will succeed and grow in the coming years. Again, there are some IRS stipulations that complicate this type of investment. The government prohibits you from benefitting from the business in any way, prior to your retirement. This means you cannot draw a salary or share in gains directly. Similarly, your close relatives are also prevented from making transactions via the IRA.

While the potential for gain is certainly present, this can also pose a greater risk than other investments. Instead of dividing up your funds among the various companies supported in a fund, everything is invested in the success of this one business. If the company fails or even shows a minimal profit, you may either lose all of your investment capital, or your gain could be far less than that which you had anticipated.

There are many other options for investing your IRA funds, aside from the traditional mutual funds and individual stocks. Before choosing any investment strategy, it’s important to educate yourself about the IRS stipulations concerning that type of investment, as well as the risks you’ll be facing. If you feel confident that the investment will bear out and you’re comfortable with the risk, proceed with the opportunity. Whether it’s investing in rare items, like artwork and coins, or in business ventures and real estate, it’s up to you to pursue a strategy that will ensure an adequate nest egg for your retirement.


Comments »

How to Succeed in Healthcare Investing

Over the last couple years, the fate of healthcare stocks have been in question. With ample political turmoil surrounding the topic to give investors cold feet and the healthcare sector stock index turning up negative in 2016, reasons to avoid healthcare investing have not been in short supply. And the list goes on. Many investors have been steering clear of healthcare, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s the only winning move in this economic climate.


Investing in healthcare can be a profitable exercise, if the investor knows what to do. Just as a physician assesses the state of a patient in order to determine the most appropriate treatment plan, an investor must know how to assess the state of a market in order to choose wisely in healthcare investment. In light of this analogy, let’s take a look at some considerations to make when approaching healthcare investing.


Check the vital signs

The first thing any doctor does when a patient comes through their door is check check their breathing, blood pressure, pulse and temperature. This exercise is a prerequisite to proceeding toward any kind of diagnosis. This will alert medical professionals of any previously undetected issues that may be more pressing than what was originally suspected. Once this simple but critical step is successfully cleared, the physician will proceed.


Similarly, when an investor is considering a healthcare stock to invest in, there are certain “vital signs” they should explore as prerequisites to see if the stock is a viable options, or if there are greater risks involved than anticipated. One investor, Brian Hennessey of Alpine Woods Capital Investors in Purchase, New York, reported that among the vitals he looks for are a solid balance sheets, reliable earnings drivers and healthy cash-flow. Good management and rights to intellectual property in the case of biotech and pharmaceutical companies are also big pluses, Hennessey says.


Pay attention to medical records

Doctors review medical records prior to even seeing the patient. They do this to gain an overall understanding of the patient’s medical history and current state. Doctors are able to compare the reports of medical issues with past problems. In some cases, they are able to identify correlations between the two and they can accordingly. A patient’s medical information is like to factor into the processes of diagnosis and treatment.


Similarly, investors should consider the “medical histories” of the companies they are considering for investment. Are they a big company with an extensive history of success or a start-up with not much history to go off of? This greatly influences the level of risk involved in investment. Even looking at records of the interaction between the company and their clients can be an indicator of the investment value of the company. Have they had longstanding contracts with clients or were contracts terminated quickly? Again, this can help to inform investment decisions before even getting into the minutia of crunching the numbers.

Select the treat with the most upside

Medical professionals have to make some difficult decisions. In some cases they have to make decisions that reconcile risk with upside. In other words, they may have to choose between a treatment option that is high risk/high reward and low risk/low reward. In the case of doctors, this sensitive decision will vary based on the circumstance. Ultimately, they are looking for the treatment that will secure the best quality of life for the patient.


While circumstances in investing will also vary, looking for investment options with an attractive upside is also a good rule of thumb. This decision may be the result of weighing several different factors including company track record and market position. Ultimately, the point is to look for companies that will be able to pay dividends in the foreseeable future. This will fall somewhere within the spectrum of high and low risk/reward scenarios. But as long as investors are on the lookout for promising upside, they should be on the right track.


There is no online training or book that can ensure success in resuscitating a stock portfolio through healthcare investing (although there is ACLS online training in the medical field). Still, there are some guidelines that can steer investors in the right general direction. And with the right information and a little luck, investors may find great success in the healthcare sector.

Comments »

3 Unique Industries to Invest In

The new year is often seen as a time of change or renewal. It is an opportunity to take a look at things in people’s lives or businesses and reevaluate them. One of the things you may take the time to look at and consider is your investments. There are new opportunities appearing all the time. Companies continue to release new products, government policies are enacted or updated, and industries evolve to match popular trends.

There are several industries with new developments on the horizon, and now might be the right time to invest in them. Here, we’ve gathered three industries to keep an eye on in the upcoming year:

Artificial Intelligence

Just a few years ago, “artificial intelligence” seemed like something that was only possible in science fiction series like Star Trek, Doctor Who, or maybe The Twilight Zone. Recently, however, several tech giants have started their own initiatives or formed partnerships in a serious effort to develop software that can think and make complex decisions on its own.

When investing in artificial intelligence, there are actually so many different initiatives in development that it’s necessary to narrow it down even further. For example, companies have already begun implementing in medical devices, mobile devices, and even cars as the race to create a self-driving vehicle continues. Two of the most popular devices sold this past Christmas were the Google Home and Amazon Echo smart speakers, both of which listen to user requests and attempt to interpret them in context. Meanwhile, the healthcare industry is predicted to grow faster than any other market in the field of AI in the near future, with AI being developed to help care for patients, enterprise imaging, and even discover new drugs.


Cigarettes and other traditional forms of tobacco have grown more and more unpopular over the years, and many smokers have been looking for an alternative. Many people have been turning to e-cigarettes and “vaping” as a different option, whether it is part of a lifestyle change or simply to avoid the stigma that traditional cigarettes bring with them. E-cigarettes and vape mods are battery-powered devices that hold cartridges of liquid nicotine, or “vape juice,” which the devices heat.

The industry has grown rapidly in recent years, with the number of retail outlets for these devices increasing to about 8,500 in April of 2016. According to an analysis from Wells Fargo, sales of the devices and supplies related to them got as high as $3.5 billion.


ESports, also known as competitive gaming, is a booming industry already, but in the next few years, it’s set to explode. According to research firm NewZoo, the eSports arena could surpass $1 billion dollars as soon as next year. Meanwhile, ESPN reported that there were 205 million people watching and playing eSports in 2014—enough that the eSports population would form the fifth largest country in the world, right behind Indonesia. Since then, the number has increased dramatically each year.

Streaming services like Twitch (owned by Amazon), YouTube, and Facebook Live have dedicated considerable resources to build up the eSports industry. Meanwhile, game developers like Blizzard, Valve, and Riot Games have promoted the competitive gaming scene by partnering with companies to hold world championship tournaments and even form complete leagues around their various products.

Traditional sports franchises have even begun investing in eSports. In September of 2016, the Philadelphia 76ers purchased a majority share in Team Dignitas. Meanwhile, that same week, Apex, a group which includes several NBA team owners as well as former NBA star Magic Johnson, purchased Team Liquid, a leading team across many different eSports.

Brands will also occasionally sponsor individual players, rather than teams. At the moment, professional gamers will seem to switch teams at the drop of a hat, and individual players carry more weight behind them than the teams they have joined. With upcoming initiatives like Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch League, an attempt to make the competitive scene of their popular Overwatch first-person shooter more like traditional sports leagues, that may change. In the system Blizzard has proposed, players would sign more formal contracts and receive a steady salary and benefits rather than depending on the winnings from each event to pay the bills.

Comments »