To everyone’s relief, 2020 is almost over. So, Bullish is taking this time to look back at the biggest winners and losers of this year. Odds are if you’re insane like us, you’ve probably sat awake at night wondering: “Why is there not an awards show for personal finance and investing?” Well, we’ve heard your subconscious ramblings loud and clear. We’re proud to introduce our first annual Bullish Awards.
1. Biggest Winner: Elon Musk (duh) and Tesla
Tesla may have burned the shorts once and for all. After a 700% gain this year and a 5-1 stock split, demand for the stock is still robust as it was added to the S&P 500. In fact, demand is so robust that the company raised money twice this year and stock continued going up.
Tesla has defied all odds in 2020. Even if the stock were to drop now, Elon Musk has proved everybody wrong. Tesla is serious business, and it’s clear that it’s America’s next big automaker.
Not to mention, Elon also welcomed a baby boy earlier this year with singer Grimes, winning our pick for best baby name of 2020.
Honorable mentions: Literally anybody else who was holding Tesla stock, people who held stocks featured on our Bullish Rippers list, X Æ A-12 memes
2. Biggest Loser: Trevor Milton and Nikola
Ironically, the flip side of our winning stock is also an EV company. Nikola, the EV company which came to market in a SPAC, went on a tare after it came to markets in June. The company even fielded a partnership with GM in September. However, it all came crashing down. It turns out Trevor Milton and Nikola were just an elaborate fraud.
Maybe investing in pre-revenue companies which only show 3D models of their products, rather than functional prototypes, is a trend we can leave in 2020.
Honorable mentions: /u/ControltheNarrative (a/k/a GUH guy)
3. The ‘Person I Wish Was Running My Money’ Award: Cathie Wood and ARK Invest
You can grandstand all you want, but nobody had a better year than Cathie Wood of ARK Invest. All five of ARK Invest’s actively managed funds more than doubled this year. ARK’s Genomic Revolution ETF ($ARKG) hit a home run, rising 200% and beating many index and thematic funds.
Their four other funds weren’t far behind. Their internet ($ARKW) and innovation ETF ($ARKK) both saddled 163% gains this year. In addition, their fintech-specific fund $ARKF jumped 110%.
All we can say is that we want Cathie to take our money because she’s making money moves — and nobody is even close.
Honorable mentions: Bobby Axelrod from Showtime’s “Billions”
4. The ‘Should Be Banned From Trading Stocks’ Award: Funds and CFPs Taking High Fees
If you’ve got an account with a CFP or RIA, you need to do yourself a favor and check the funds and fees you’re being charged. Seriously. In 2020, there’s no excuse to be paying more than 0.3% for index funds and 0.75% expense ratio for active funds.
That goes all the same for you people with financial advisors (Vanguard charges 0.3%, if you’re wondering). How much does your guy charge? Might want to take a closer look, y’all.
Honorable mentions: Any ideas?
5. Coolest Tool: Robintrack.net
If there was ever a defining moment for retail investors, it was 2020. Millions of people signed up for brokerage apps. The most popular of which was Robinhood, which added millions of users this year.
It turns out that we were able to make sense of what these new traders were buying and selling. Robintrack.net, created by Casey Primozic, became our eyes and ears on the retail investment craze. It allowed us to see live holdings data, changes in positions and sentiment.
Unfortunately, Robinhood pulled the plug on this era-defining tool, alleging that the data was being used to bet against retail traders. However, there is some hope it might see the light of day again.
Honorable mentions: TradingView, Public.com
6. Biggest Glow Up: Kodak
Well, it’s true. Everyone has a midlife crisis. And given the weirdness around corporate personhood, that means companies have them too. That might explain why Kodak, amidst its own midlife (mid-company) crisis, decided to start making drugs this year.
The former film company has glowed up big time, looking to make 2021 its breakout year as a pharmaceutical company. Kodak’s pivot feels especially timely in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a time where drug prices are rising about 6% a year. Toasts to Kodak for the open mindedness. It’s commendable.
Honorable mentions: Cryptocurrency
7. Dumbest Trend: Investing in “zombie companies”
If you need a fun and easy way to set your money on fire, we have just the trick for you. Main Street’s hot new trend is investing in zombie companies — stocks which are basically the walking dead.
The hottest zombie company of this year was Hertz. The company, which essentially went bankrupt, fell off hard in March. However, thousands of investors decided to buy the dip in the company, energizing its stock price.
Another zombie company worth a shout out is vaccine maker Novavax, one of the biggest gainers of this year. In fact, we’d venture to say it still would be a zombie company if the government didn’t bail it out.
The moral of this story is to please stop buying companies that are basically already dead.
Honorable mentions: Actually buying bonds
8. Most Transparent: S-1 Filings
There’s a lot of complicated, not-very-forthcoming people and things in the world of business. You want to know something that is? The S-1, a filing that a company makes when it intends to go public.
S-1s provide unprecedented insight into the operations, financials and dealings of a company before they go public. They’re often the first opportunity for the public to peer into privately traded companies and poke around.
If not for the S-1 process, we might have not evaded the disaster that is WeWork. WeWork, which had many problems with checks and balances, spending and organizational leadership, made a bid to come to markets late last year. It resulted in the company’s valuation plummeting from $47 billion to $5 billion, requiring the company to delay its IPO indefinitely.
Honorable mentions: Form 10-K
9. Craziest Quote: SoftBank CEO compares himself to Jesus Christ
In 2019, Chinese banking giant SoftBank launched a $100 billion venture fund called Vision Fund to “tackle the greatest challenges and risks facing humanity today.” Sounds great on paper, but the fund saddled severe losses — $13 billion in fact.
In defense of his $13 billion loss, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son responded that “Jesus Christ was also misunderstood.” Maybe that seems a little bit rich coming from a guy who just lost $13 billion of money that isn’t quite his. However, maybe Son has a point. Ultimately, he doesn’t owe us an explanation, but maybe he does to some of Vision Fund’s biggest investors. Among them are the sovereign wealth funds of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,and companies such as Apple, Foxconn and Qualcomm.
Honorable mentions: Sequoia India’s bizarre Minions tweet
10. VC of the Year: Social Leverage
Not that we’re biased or anything, but we decided to commend Social Leverage for essentially foreseeing fintech’s breakout year. Social Leverage, which is run by our friend Howard Lindzon, is a strategic investor in Robinhood, Kustomer and StockTwits. Tom Peterson and Gary Benitt work alongside Lindzon as managing partners at the VC. All-in-all, this year proved that Social Leverage might be the best VC you’ve never heard of.
Honorable mentions: Index Ventures, Social Capital