YieldTalk news and links - 14 March 2022

This week: Why gas prices matter; the JOBS Act turns 10 🎂; A web3 explainer

by Andrew Savikas
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Worth Reading this Week

A roundup of insights and interesting links from around the investment crowdfunding ecosystem.

⛽ It’s always puzzled me why people fixate on gas prices when they’re a relatively small part of most households’ expenses, but Ben Carlson has a nice piece on his blog that digs a bit into the psychology involved, as well as puts the recent price spike into context with overall household spending and debt levels:

Gasoline itself isn’t a huge part of household budgets, coming in at around 2.2% of total spending. It is worth noting these spending levels are from 2020 (the last time this survey was taken) but even in 2019 and 2018 the numbers were less than 3%.


In the wake of events in Europe 🇺🇦, a lot of investors are suddenly taking another look at oil and gas drilling, and this piece from Novel Investor uses the erratic nature of “wildcat” oil project returns as a reminder that a solid investment portfolio needs to be able to withstand a lot of turbulence on the way to long-term “average” returns (similar dynamics are at work with startup investing):

The risk is being so focused on the “average” return that we ignore the lesson in the variety of returns that produced that average. Your portfolio must be built to survive the variations it’s guaranteed to experience over the years. Specifically, the worst days.

Real Estate

🔮 Even as they’ve been revising 2022 home-prices forecasts upward (the median home price is now expected to hit $384K in 2022, up from $355K), Fannie Mae is projecting price growth will ease by 2023:

If home prices do rise another 11.2%, it would mark a deceleration from the current growth rate. However, that would hardly represent relief for home shoppers. After all, the typical raise that corporate America plans to dole out this year is only 3.9%. But Fannie Mae does still think relief will come, it just won’t happen until 2023. Next year, Fannie Mae projects home prices will rise 4.2%—with the median existing home price jumping to $395,000.


Despite the expiration of various pandemic-related mortgage forbearance programs, rising house prices and the tighter lending standards in place since the Great Recession have helped stave off the kind of foreclosure surge and buildup of REO properties (REO means “real estate owned” which means owned by a lender trying to recover their principal):

The pandemic related increase in serious delinquencies was very different from the increase in delinquencies following the housing bubble. Lending standards have been fairly solid over the last decade, and most of these homeowners have equity in their homes - and they will be able to restructure their loans once they are employed.


As rents continue rising, the number of single-family homes purchased by investors continues climbing, now representing about 25% of homes sold:

Investors bought roughly a quarter of the single-family houses sold in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to preliminary data from CoreLogic. That’s on par with September 2021, when investors bought more than a quarter (26.2 percent) of the single-family houses sold. (CoreLogic defines an SFR investor as an individual or company who owned three or more properties simultaneously within the past 10 years, according to CoreLogic’s analysis of public data, or has a corporate or non-individual identifier on the deed.)


This article is aimed at the advisors to “family offices”, the entities that manage the finances of ultra-high-net-worth investors, but their list of seven best practices for investing in startups can mostly be applied to anyone thinking about investing in startups as part of their portfolio:

Virtually every financial advisor will tell you not to invest directly in stocks unless you’re a professional stock picker; invest in funds instead. If that’s true in the liquid, transparent public markets, then it’s even more important in illiquid, opaque private markets.


The Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA) is offering a 2-hour class on startup valuation next week, aimed primarily at entrepreneurs looking to better understand how to value their own company, but the topics should be of interest to anyone who wants a better understanding of how to value a business:

This course is two hours long and taught by Professor George Pullen. Professor Pullen is an Adjunct Professor at UNH School of Law and Instructor at Columbia University in NYC where he teaches financial theory and modeling for blockchain, space and cryptocurrency business. In his day job he is the Senior Economist for the Commodities Future Trade Commission in Washington, DC and has over 20 years experience as an investment banker, trader and economist.


🖋️ It’s been almost 10 years since the signing of the 2012 JOBS Act, which enabled the growing investment crowdfunding ecosystem. Woodie Neiss, principal at Crowdfund Capital Advisors and one of the architects of that legislation, recently appeared on the GowerCrowd podcast to talk about the JOBS Act 10 years on.


More venture capital flowed to crypto in 2021 than the prior 10 years combined, with Bain Capital’s venture arm the latest to join the fray with a $500M crypto-focused investment fund:

A BCV representative told Cointelegraph that the goal of the crypto fund is to back entrepreneurs developing the next generation of open internet infrastructure. The spokesperson went on to say that the “dedicated investment fund” is set up with a highly technical and collaborative approach to help crypto and Web3 builders from seed through growth.


If you’re confused about what exactly “web3” is all about (including why Bain Capital is throwing half a billion dollars at it) you’re not alone. Depending who you ask, it’s somewhere between a total scam or a generational chance to build wealth while reimagining the very architecture of the internet and our global financial system. Recode has a very helpful explainer to help separate the signal from the noise on web3:

It’s easy to dismiss all of this out of hand, especially if you’re an oldster like me who has seen tech bubbles before. But lots of interesting and important things were hatched during tech bubbles — like the web browser you’re using to read this story right now — even if people blew a lot of money on a lot of dumb stuff while the bubble was inflating. So when and if the bubbles deflate — which may be exactly what’s happening now — you can still find value in the aftermath.


One of the hottest corners of the “web3” landscape continues to be NFTs (non-fungible tokens), and the froth is drawing increased scrutiny from the SEC amid concerns that many of the tokens on offer are essentially just securities in another form, thereby subject to SEC regulation:

A key legal question is whether digital assets including NFTs are securities, and therefore subject to the same rules as stocks. While the SEC has said that many tokens fall under its purview, some crypto enthusiasts argue regulations meant to police the equity markets shouldn’t also apply to virtual currencies.

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