- A promising sign for this battery tech company…
- This monkey can now play video games…
- Verizon is winning the race to 5G…
Tuesday was another exciting day in the world of space exploration.
SpaceX launched its Starship prototype SN9 following quickly on the heels of its December 9 launch of prototype SN8.
The 165-foot tall spacecraft managed to reach an altitude of 10 kilometers and then flip into a horizontal position to return to Earth.
The whole maneuver resembles a belly flop into a pool. It is quite something to watch.
This is the same maneuver the spacecraft will use when it eventually returns to Earth after a successful mission.
This time, the landing was just as exciting as it was for SN8. Let’s have a look.
Starship SN9’s Crash Landing
Ouch! Critics will call this a failure. I see something quite different.
This was a fantastic success. It was the second high-altitude flight of a Starship prototype, and the flip maneuvers were fantastic on both the SN8 and SN9 test flights. Both prototypes use just three Raptor engines, but the final Starship will actually have six engines to provide more power and flight control.
SpaceX is iterating at remarkable speed with incredibly complex aerospace technology. It is applying the kind of rapid product development techniques used so widely in Silicon Valley to spacecraft. This is something that has never been done before.
The company is on track to launch an early supply mission to Mars in 2024. And days ago, Elon Musk indicated that he believes the first manned mission to Mars will happen in five and a half years. I wouldn’t bet against him.
We’re watching history in the making…
Let me also remind readers about our Investment Accelerator event taking place next Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. ET.
As the name implies, this event is all about how we can turbocharge our investment gains in the months and years to come. To that end, we will cover a wealth of topics.
We’ll discuss what I see as the five best investment opportunities over the next five years. These are strategic investment areas that I believe could 10x our money.
We will also talk about a way to “piggyback” on the hottest deals made by the world’s savviest investors. In many cases, this strategy even allows normal investors to get in at the same price as the insiders.
Not only that, but I’ll share more about two brand-new projects that I have in development right now. I’ll pull back the curtain next week.
So please mark your calendar for our Investment Accelerator event next Wednesday, February 10. We’ll get started at 8 p.m. ET sharp. I hope to see you there.
Now let’s turn to today’s insights…
The next big thing in battery technology…
A company called Sila Nanotechnologies just raised an incredible $590 million in its Series F funding round. This is the largest venture capital (VC) raise in history for any company in the battery technology supply chain.
And it’s no surprise this company is garnering so much attention…
Sila Nanotechnologies is a Silicon Valley-based outfit doing bleeding-edge work on electric vehicle (EV) battery tech. The company is developing proprietary silicon anode technology, which is a key component of EV batteries.
It is widely believed that implementing silicon technology is the key to developing next-generation batteries that can extend an EV’s range far beyond current limitations. This is a massive trend in the industry, and Sila Nanotechnologies is out in front of it.
With this latest VC raise, Sila Nanotechnologies is now valued at $3.3 billion. And I am confident this company will go public in the next 12–18 months. Maybe even sooner…
We saw late stage investors participating in Sila’s Series F round. Both the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and T. Rowe Price joined the VCs investing in Sila’s Series F. That’s a pension fund and a mutual fund company acquiring shares.
The presence of these two funds is significant. We typically see these entities enter the picture when an initial public offering (IPO) is expected in the near future.
And there’s no doubt in my mind that Sila’s IPO will be incredibly successful.
Last month, we talked about how shares in battery tech company QuantumScape have been soaring. The stock has been on fire even though QuantumScape has yet to deliver a single product. It has zero revenues, and it won’t have any for a few years.
This shows us how much excitement there is around battery tech right now.
So Sila Nanotechnologies is absolutely a company to watch going forward. This company will make a fantastic investment target at the right valuation. Let’s make sure it’s on our early stage watchlist.
Elon Musk just hosted a room on Clubhouse…
We just talked about social media upstart Clubhouse in Tuesday’s issue. We talked about how the platform is getting a lot of attention in tech circles right now… and now we have even more evidence of this.
Of course, Musk is well-known for his dislike of short sellers. Tesla (TSLA) was a major target of short sellers in its early days. Many critics claimed the company was destined for bankruptcy.
Wow, were they wrong.
Those short sellers ultimately got burned as shares of Tesla have soared higher over the last year and a half.
Interestingly, Musk was also asked questions about Neuralink during his Clubhouse discussions.
As a reminder, Neuralink is a company Musk founded to develop brain-computer interface (BCI) technology. This is technology that allows the brain to be connected to a computer.
We last talked about Neuralink back in September after it demonstrated how its BCI prototype could sense brain activity in pigs. This was not received well. In fact, several expert neuroscientists scoffed at the demonstration. They called it simple “theater.”
At the time, I suggested that those scientists didn’t understand the Silicon Valley model that drives development at Neuralink. The model is to innovate fast, iterate quickly, build on the best ideas, and make improvements as you go.
For this reason, I predicted that Neuralink would do some amazing things within the next 18 months.
And what Musk revealed on Clubhouse just proved me right.
In its most recent experiment, Neuralink’s BCI enabled a monkey to play the old Pong arcade game.
For those who aren’t familiar with Pong, it was an early game that was something like virtual Tennis. Users moved a “paddle” up and down on the screen to hit the ball back to their opponent.
Source: Nintendo Wikia
And get this – Neuralink’s BCI allows the monkey to play this game with just its mind. No controller necessary. The BCI implant is wireless and connects to the computer. How’s that for impressive?
Musk said that the company will release more information on this breakthrough, including videos and details on the science next month. I’m excited for that.
So this is an incredible neuroscientific development… and the story broke on Clubhouse. I guess our timing couldn’t have been better this week.
We’ll continue to track both Neuralink and this budding social media giant going forward.
Verizon is powering ahead with its high-performance 5G network…
Verizon just released plans for its 5G network build-out in 2021. And I’m very excited about the company’s direction.
As we have discussed before, Verizon is focused heavily on building out millimeter wave (mmWave) 5G, which provides the lightning-fast speeds that 5G is known for. This is also called ultra-wideband (UWB) 5G, and it represents what the technology is capable of.
Verizon has been criticized for this approach because it prevents the company from quickly building out a nationwide network.
That’s because these mmWave base stations must be very close together – 1,000 feet or less – to provide continuous coverage. This limits the geographic area that Verizon’s mmWave 5G network can cover. And that makes for a much slower build-out.
In comparison, AT&T and T-Mobile have been focused on building out their 5G networks over low-band spectrum. This allows these companies to cover a much greater geographic area much faster. But the trade-off is inferior performance. In fact, 5G over low-band spectrum provides speeds that are often on par with or even slower than 4G.
Of course, if low-band 5G isn’t any better than 4G, it begs the question – what’s the point?
For AT&T and T-Mobile, it is simply about marketing. They want to be able to claim that they have a nationwide 5G network in their commercials. And this led the industry to wonder if Verizon would potentially switch gears to keep up.
Well, I am happy to say that Verizon is sticking to its guns. The company just announced that it will more than double the number of its mmWave base stations in the U.S. from 14,000 to 30,000 this year.
For consumers in the areas covered by these mmWave base stations, Verizon’s 5G network will be vastly superior to AT&T and T-Mobile.
And here’s what the critics don’t realize. Verizon will supplement these mmWave areas with 5G over C-band spectrum. This is the spectrum that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been selling in its recent auctions. You might recall that we talked it about last month.
5G over C-band spectrum offers performance that is superior to 4G. Yet the towers can be deployed farther apart from one another compared to 5G deployed over the mmWave bands. That means 5G over the C spectrum can cover a much wider geographic area.
So Verizon is ignoring the critics and playing the long game here. And it will end up with a far superior nationwide 5G network than its competitors as a result.
What’s more, Verizon announced that it will have UWB 5G coverage in 81 cities by the end of the year. That’s tens of millions of people who will have access to 1 Gbps + speeds.
And this speaks to the level of investment Verizon is pouring into its 5G network.
The company spent $18.2 billion in capital expenditures (capex) in 2020. And it expects to spend the same amount this year.
That’s on top of the tens of billions it is spending to acquire C-band spectrum from the FCC. This level of investment gives us an indication of the capital-intensive nature of building out a new generation of wireless networks.
For consumers, this means that 5G coverage is expanding rapidly. Most of the U.S. population will be covered by the end of the year.
And for investors, this means the 5G boom is alive and well. The companies providing the core technology are seeing incredible demand for their products right now. And that will be great for their share prices in 2021
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
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