Riding the Tech Wave
October 21, 2002
"You have to look at the Internet sector as a brand new industry with mostly development-stage companies," Alex Cheung told CNBC in April 1999, when he was portfolio manager of the Monument Internet Fund. Although the fund itself invested no more than 25% in emerging Internet companies and Cheung is still not keen on pure-plays, especially those still in the red, he was, at the time, one of the many Internet soothsayers advising investors to throw traditional P/E valuation models out the window in favor of the potential to make money.
Look for a company with a "business model with a clear path to profitability" - "and money in the bank," he said.
Now managing partner with hedge fund Long Bow Capital Management, in King of Prussia, Pa., Cheung got out at the right moment, less than a week after the Nasdaq bubble burst on March 10, 2000.
After nearly a year relaxing - Cheung says his dot-com riches never tempted him to lead a lifestyle of luxury - he started Long Bow in January 2001.
Cheung, who declined to disclose assets under management, has been patiently waiting for the economy to turn around ever since.
A true tech enthusiast, Cheung says he believes "more uses for the Internet" have yet to be discovered. "This is just the beginning of the information age. The question, then, is how fast the Internet will spread and what other uses people will make of it."
As for other high-tech disappointments, Cheung expects the fiber-optic oversupply to continue for some time, and wireless applications to be stalled until the price of licenses fall.
For the moment, Cheung is long biotech. And still waiting. First for the rebound.
Then for the next technological wave.