An MVIS GIG Dilemma Slowly Solved

No need to rush. Wait long enough and dilemmas become clearer, or at least decisions become easier. Last year, I had a dilemma. In the last twelve months, I did little about it except pay attention. While my dilemma was about stocks, the lesson has more to do with patience and only moving when it is to my advantage to move. Within the last year, I’ve heard a lot, read a lot, saw a few things – and nothing much changed in the meantime. An opportunity to make a decision has arisen, and I intend to act. Some dilemmas are complicated, like in politics, what to eat for dinner, and trying to understand how to deal with other people. My dilemma is simpler. It only has to deal with personal finance.

Almost exactly a year ago I posted an article titled, “This Investor’s Dilemma MVIS V GIG“. I was invested in each of the companies, MicroVision (MVIS) and GigOptix (GIG). Each was getting close to potentially significant profitability, but it was hard to tell which would get there first. MicroVision’s management was known for speaking much and saying little; great stories with lots of pronouns and few details. GigOptix’s management was known for saying little, being too technical when they did communicate, and not communicating much. The company sizes were similar (~$100M). They even have a common heritage reaching back to an innovative set of researchers at the University of Washington. They were each making progress; but would they both continue to progress; and if so, which would progress first and further?

Because I interpreted MicroVision management’s communiques to suggest they would have several new revolutionary products out within the next twelve months, I bought a small extra holding in MVIS. The size of the purchase was small relative to the market, but about as large as I could afford within my budget. In particular, I thought they said there’d be a new product out in time for the holiday season. Not quite. A couple of new products were announced, but not launched. I think it is understandable that some, like me, could interpret ‘announced’ to mean ‘for sale’. Evidently, ‘announced’ means the manufacturer said something about a product that should be available, sometime. Note: That doesn’t mean the announcement is in English. That doesn’t mean the product will be for sale in North America. That doesn’t mean MicroVision will pass along the news, even though it is supposedly material and important to the operation and viability of the company.
The products announced were a very nice smartphone with a MicroVision projector inside, and a stand-alone projector that doesn’t need another computer attached to it. The products were finally available for sale within the last few months. The Qualper smartphone was available sometime in June. The ViewSmart projector was available as of sometime in July. Both were several months of a delay. The details are unclear to me because I have yet to find clear communications from any of the companies involved, including the one of which I am a part-owner. Aside from the too-innovative robotic smartphone known as RoBoHoN that was made available for sale in Japan in May, there have been no other products launched. Innovative? Yes. Major market? No. Positively disruptive? No. Source of significant revenue and profits? No.

This week, MicroVision announced their quarterly profits. Product revenue was up 62% from last year. Sounds impressive. They made about $4.2M in the quarter. The stock fell from $1.75 to $1.56. That 62% sounds great, but it was from a too-small number last year. Within the call, management only discussed two customers, no significant new orders, and no projection that encouraged stockholders hoping for profitability. Several OEMs are expected to announce products; but now, more of us understand the glossary. As has been the case for MicroVision for years, “really good news” should happen within the next few months – again. Some day that will be proven true; but not as of July 2016.

This week, GigPeak announced their quarterly profits. Before I get into those, though, check the name. Whatever you want to call the company behind the stock called GIG, it has been growing for years through mergers, acquisitions, and internal efforts. Their technology enables high-bandwidth internet services like streaming and working within the cloud, but it is esoteric enough that most analysts and individual investors can find simpler companies to understand. The merger activity confuses the finances, with a similar result. For some reason, they also changed the name from GigOptix to GigPeak; which doesn’t decrease the confusion.

Back to GIG’s finances. For a company of a similar age and heritage, though a different management style, they have grown to making $15.4M in the quarter, 35% over last year’s quarter. They even earned $0.1M in the quarter. That’s profits. Imagine that. Not much, but profits.

MicroVision’s management convinces me that they understand the details of the technology and manufacturing, and the potential within the industry and the market; but they seem to lack news, communications, or any apparent dedicated efforts at sales and marketing, the things that make companies money. I know the officers and managers must be doing what they can, but it is evidently being done very quietly, so quietly that I could believe it is a major unfunded task at a critical time in the company’s development. Meanwhile, GigPeak’s management doesn’t say much, but at least they mentioned customers and sales in their press releases.

My parents taught me enough about investing for me to get started when I was about 19 years old. To honor that, I’m taking roughly 10% of my inheritance and investing it. That’s not enough to buy me a new bicycle, but it is enough to appreciate significantly considering GIG’s potential. MVIS’ potential is greater, at least according to my amateur research; but GIG is actually doing something now. Maybe MVIS will surpass it with one epic reveal of one of their mysterious NDAs. That’s why I’m holding onto the MVIS shares I already own. Now, it is time for me to give GIG another chance by adding to my holding.

Ironies exist. Since MicroVision’s announcement of 62% revenue growth, the stock is down 11%. Since GigPeak’s announcement of 35% revenue growth, the stock is down, yes, down, 7.4%. Of course, that sounds like something that is increasing in value while decreasing in price. Buy!

My dilemma is resolved and will be acted upon after I figure out how to make a deposit into an account that I haven’t added to in years.

Those other dilemmas, well, politics will sort itself out by early in November, probably; dinner will be resolved after I publish and share this post; and other people – that’s one I won’t rush because listening takes time. I wonder if the politicians have tried that, really tried that.

About Tom Trimbath

consultant / entrepreneur / writer / photographer / speaker / aerospace engineer / semi-semi-retired More info at: and at my amazon author page:
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