Posted August 20, 2014
By Ray Blanco
Who's Really Profiting from Drone Tech and How to Join Them
Is now the time to bet big on drones?
Is this sector ready to take off?
The evidence points to yes and stocks in this industry seem poised for flight.
But if youre a believer in this space, stocks arent where the real money will be made...
The real money will be made elsewhere.
Today, Ill walk you through why we think this sector is set to soar, and where the real returns will come from.
The U.S. military has used drones or technically, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for the last 20 years.
Theyve employed them for a variety of tasks, from routine intelligence gathering to carrying out air strikes against our enemies.
Traditionally, drones were large, expensive aircraft but like most technologies, their size and price has come done drastically:
Several years ago, the cost of a drone was measured in the millions of dollars; today, a state-of-the-art surveillance drone might only cost $150,000.
We believe that as the cost of drone technology continues to fall, the demand for these devices will skyrocket.
Facebook and Google recently engaged in a bidding war over a small drone manufacturer. These two tech giants intend to use these devices to provide Internet connectivity in remote regions.
But Internet access isnt where drones will have the greatest financial impact.
Here are three sectors and a handful of stocks that could see a significant lift from the drone trend:
1. Finance A friend of mine works at Thomson Reuters. His job is to secure licensing deals for all of Thomsons data products.
He was recently telling me about a new drone data service theyve been selling. In order to get more timely information on retail shopping trends, Thomson will deploy thousands of drones across the US to record shopping mall traffic.
Using a combination of heat sensor technology and advanced video processing algorithms, theyll know before the rest of Wall Street how various retailers are performing, and what consumer spending might look for the coming quarter.
This is valuable stuff. Hedge funds pay big bucks and earn even more for access to such timely information.
Expect to see more investors leveraging this technology to get an edge.
You could take advantage of this trend by betting on firms like Thomson Reuters (NYSE: TRI)
2. Defense Drones were born out of the defense industry.
Between un-manned attack planes and lighter surveillance drones, the defense industry spent an estimated $11 billion last year.
One way to benefit from this trend is to focus on the manufacturers:
If youre into large caps, look at Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC). Or if youre looking for small-cap plays, definitely take a look at AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV).
3. Retail & E-Commerce Imagine ordering a book in the late afternoon and having it delivered to your door before dinner? Thats what retailers imagine when they think of drones.
If they can pull it off, companies like Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) might benefit greatly. In fact, late last year Amazon announced plans to begin testing drone delivery services in select markets.
All of these stocks could rise as the sector expands...
But the real money will be made elsewhere.
Thomson Reuters, Northrop Grumman, Amazon these are multi-billion dollar companies.
Sure, unmanned aircraft might improve their businesses a bit but what are the chances that the impact from drones will move the needle on their stock prices?
Pretty low, if you ask me.
But if we were talking about smaller drone companies specifically, start-up companies that focus all their efforts on this emerging area the returns for investors could be huge.
Look at what happened when the smart phone sector exploded in 2007:
Your clever bet on Apple would have returned 10 times your money thats nothing to sneeze at.
But, alternatively, you could have invested in Zynga, a mobile gaming start-up, when it was still private.
The earliest Zynga investors didnt make 10 times their money they made an estimated 163 times their money!
And thats why we focus on early-stage, private companies when we invest in emerging technologies.
Drone start-ups are just beginning to heat up...
Google outbid Facebook for Titan Aerospace, a small drone manufacturer.
Facebook countered by acquiring a UK drone company called Ascenta.
My business partner, Matt Milner, recently wrote about a new drone fund."
Now, thanks to the JOBS Act, you have the opportunity to get involved in tomorrows success stories today while theyre still private start-ups.
Were keeping an eye on this sector, and well continue to showcase relevant equity crowdfunding opportunities as they arise.
Innovation is coming and so are potential profits.
Ed. Note:If you'd like to learn some of the best ways to invest in this and other amazing technology spaces,sign up for the Tomorrow in Review e-letter, for FREE, right here. Inside today's issue, readers saw a chance to grab an entry-level research package full of expert analysis and specific stock picks that could skyrocket as these stories progress. Don't miss out on another opportunity like this. Sign up for the FREETomorrow in Review e-letter, right here.