Big Money, Day Traders Both Love Japan Tech Darling Mercari

(Bloomberg) — Mercari Inc., the online flea-market operator that has become one of Japan’s most closely watched tech ventures, is closing in on new highs as the stock has drawn both big and small money.

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The company has already grown to command the largest weighting on Japan’s startup-focused Mothers index as individual investors buy in — of some 230 of the largest Japanese companies with market value of over $5 billion, Mercari has the third-highest percentage of individual shareholders. Then on Oct. 7, Los Angeles-based money manager Capital Group declared it had taken a 5% stake in Mercari.

That’s helping propel the stock to near the 6,000 yen mark it hit just once, on the day it listed to great fanfare in 2018. After a rapid decline, the stock has worked its way back up this year, fueled by its first quarterly operating profit. That’s been helped by the coronavirus pandemic, which has boosted usage of its online marketplace where users buy and sell items.



graphical user interface, chart, histogram: Mercari shares are nearly back to the post-IPO pop


© Bloomberg
Mercari shares are nearly back to the post-IPO pop

Mercari fell 0.2% in Tokyo on Tuesday. A gain of just 3.3% in the next trading session would see it match the 6,000 yen high.

Mercari is something of a rarity in Japan, which has few tech startups that have swelled to the size of the $8.6 billion company, according to Ikuo Mitsui, a fund manager at Aizawa Securities Co., who is still bullish on the firm after the share surge.

“In Japan there are very few companies like this, light on assets and not requiring large-scale capex,” he said. That’s why many are piling onto the stock, he added.

Video: Twilio CEO on the company’s stock jump and market opportunity (CNBC)

Twilio CEO on the company’s stock jump and market opportunity

Love autumn? This website is looking to pay 3 people to test out fall candles

If you love autumn, this may be your dream job.

Lifestyle platform Wishlisted.com says it’s looking to pay three fall fanatics to put their sense of smell to work, testing out different candle brands and scents.

The three people chosen will receive $250, a cozy blanket, an assortment of candles based on their preferences, and a $50 Starbucks gift card for all the pumpkin spice lattes they want.

The website says you’re the perfect fit if you love candles, are obsessed with fall, have strong opinions, can receive deliveries of multiple packages, are over 18 years old and are a U.S. resident.

“At Wishlisted, our goal is to provide people with the best resources to help them make the most of this fall season,” said Dayne Ford, Founder and CEO of Wishlisted.com. “And since this year will be a bit different from years past, given the effects of COVID-19, we want to give people the joyful feeling of fall from the comfort of their own homes. This contest allows three lucky winners to earn money simply by smelling candles – they will tell us what they think is best and we will turn that into content that all of our readers can enjoy.”

If you’re interested in this unique job, you can apply here by submitting your information and explaining why you’re the perfect person to take on the task.

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Ignite your kid’s love of programming for 50% off at codeSpark

codespark

codeSpark

It’s true that it’s almost never too early to help your kids learn to code. codeSpark is an app that teaches the rudiments of programming to kids starting as young as 5 years old thanks to a wealth of games and activities that don’t even require reading skills. For the month of October, you can start a subscription to codeSpark Academy for 50% off — $5 for the first month — when you use promo code TREAT50

codeSpark is available for Android and iOS devices and plays great on a tablet, but you can also sign into the academy in any web browser. It includes over 1000 activities, and every game teaches fundamental coding concepts, which can help them grasp the logic of programming, math and reading skills. codeSpark says that the activities have been carefully designed with gender-neutral characters and an interface that doesn’t require any reading, so it’s great even for very young kids.

As they progress, kids can use codeSpark Academy to design and build their own interactive games that they can play and share with others. And you get regular email updates that keep you informed about what your kids have done and what skills they’re learning.

October is a good time to sign up for a trial. Not only is the first month just $5, but there are special Halloween-themed activities sprinkled through the app as well. 


CNET’s deal team scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest promo codes from Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon and more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page

Secrets To Creating Software That Customers Love

This week Asana–which operates a platform for project management–pulled off its direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange. On the first day of trading, the shares shot up about 37%. 

The roots of Asana go back to 2008. The co-founders were Dustin Moskovitz (the the co-founder of Facebook) and Justin Rosenstein (a former employee at Facebook and Google).  They got the idea for their startup from their experiences at Facebook. When the company was growing at a breakneck speed, it was extremely challenging for teams to get things done. Often there was too much time spent on meetings and long emails.

But Moskovitz and Rosenstein thought that a cloud-based system could help solve the problem. This would allow for ease-of-use and wide access. The subscription model would also be affordable for customers.

No doubt, the vision has been spot on. As of now, Asana has 1.3 million paid users and recorded revenues of $142.6 million for fiscal 2020, up 86%. The market value is about $4 billion.

OK, how did Moskovitz and Rosenstein pull this off? What are some of the lessons? Well, Moskovitz and Rosenstein included a shareholder letter in the IPO prospectus and it provides an insightful playbook.

Here are some of the highlights:

Build Software That Customers Love: In the enterprise world,

Aurora Cannabis Stock: Love It or Leave It?

Canadian marijuana company Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB) had a dreadful 2019; its stock lost 56% of its value over the year, compared with a 36% decline in the industry benchmark Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF. External headwinds in Canada, along with Aurora’s own haphazard acquisitions, dragged down revenue and made profit challenging, while expenses kept piling up. All these factors led to its decline, and hopes of the company recovering anytime soon were minimal.

Hence, its third-quarter results at the end of March came as a pleasant surprise. The company reported a surge in revenue — to be precise, a year-over-year jump of 35% to 75.5 million Canadian dollars. Aurora gave a sneak peek into its fourth-quarter results on Sept. 8 when it discussed some impairment charges and a decline in revenue. But investors hoped to get some good news from the actual results, and the stock was up 16% in anticipation on Sept. 22. When the company released results the same day after market close, though, the picture wasn’t rosy. Let’s see whether there was anything to like in Aurora’s Q4 results. 

Cannabis plant growing outdoors.

Image source: Getty Images.

Revenue results were worrisome

As management stated in the preliminary results, net revenue fell within the estimated range, hitting CA$72.1 million, but declined year-over-year from CA$94.6 million. Sequentially, revenue also dropped 5% from the third quarter of 2020.

The company saw a 9% decline in consumer cannabis revenue from the prior quarter, to CA$35.3 million. However, medical cannabis revenue jumped 4% sequentially to CA$32.2 million, thanks to the company’s Canadian medical business and revenue from Europe.

Though Aurora didn’t discuss losses in the preliminary results, investors weren’t surprised to see a Q4 net loss of CA$3.3 billion from continuing operations. In the year-ago quarter, the marijuana company recorded a net loss of just