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  • 【精译求精系列】华尔街太傅:风投,一个定价,而非估值的游戏(下)

    2016-10-18 04:13:00 来源: 港股那点事


    编者按:中国投资者对巴菲特以及其经典的投资心得耳熟能详。但实际上,这个世界仍然有大量可以与巴菲特比肩的投资大师精心撰写的投资心得,但多以英文或者其他语言撰写,国内几乎没有介绍。格隆汇特意组织力量制作《精译求精系列》,力求将这些含金量十足的大师心得,呈现在广大会员眼前,体现他们的价值,为大家的投资,保驾护航。

    本文的作者是纽约大学金融系教授AswathDamodaran,号称“华尔街太傅”,目前在NYU的商学院教授估值课程,是华尔街最热门的教授之一,为华尔街培训了大量的精英。在本文AswathDamodaran主要讨论了风投行业的本质:一个关于定价,而非估值的游戏。

    But Venture Capitalists have a data problem

    但是风投资本家的数据有问题

    It is not just venture capitalists who play the pricing game. As I have argued before, most investors in public markets (including many who call themselves value investors) are also in the pricing game, though they use pricing metrics of longer standing (from PE to EV/EBITDA) and have larger samples of public traded firms as comparable firms. The challenges with adapting this pricing game to venture capital investments are primarily statistical:

    不仅只有风投资本家才玩这个定价游戏。正如我之前说过的,公开市场上的大多数投资者(包括那些自诩为价值投资的人)都在搞定价这一套,即使他们使用的财务指标都是存在许久的比如PE啊EV/EBITDA啊,同时他们找的坐标参考公司都是大范围在公开市场交易的。风投公司采取这种方式定价出现的主要问题都是在统计方面的:

    Small Samples: If your pricing is based upon other private company investments, your sample sizes will tend to be much smaller, if you are a VC than if you a public company investor. Thus, as an investor in a publicly traded oil company, I can draw on 351 publicly traded firms in the US or even the 1029 publicly traded companies globally, when making relative value or pricing judgments. A VC investor pricing a ride sharing company is drawing on a sample of less than ten ride sharing firms globally.

    1、样本范围不够广泛: 如果你是风投公司而不是上市公司的投资者的话,同时你自己的定价是根据某些未上市公司估算出来的,那么你的样本量就会大大缩小。比如说吧,在估算相对价值和做定价决定的时候,作为一个上市石油公司的投资者,我能从美国市场捡出来351家公开交易的公司,从全球范围内捡出1029家。而风投公司要想给一个拼车服务公司定价的时候,能参考的只有全球那不到十家的公司。

    With Infrequent Updating: The small sample problem is exacerbated by the fact that unlike public companies, where trading is frequent and prices get updated for most of the companies in my sample almost continuously, private company transactions are few and far between. In many ways, the VC pricing problem is closer to the real estate pricing than conventional stock pricing, where you have to price a property based upon similar properties that have sold in the recent past.

    2、信息更新不及时: 上市公司的交易十分频繁,且我样本中的大多数公司的数据都在持续更新,而未上市公司的交易量要大大小于前者,这样样本量小的问题就会被进一步激化。从很多方面而言,风投公司定价的问题比起股票定价来说更类似与房地产业定价,因为在房地产业中你要将你最近卖出去的类似的资产定价作为定价基准。

    And Opaque transactions: There is a third problem that makes VC pricing complicated. Unlike public equities, where a share of stock is (for the most part) like any other share of stock and the total market value is the share price times number of shares outstanding, extrapolating from a VC investment for a share in a company to the overall value of equity can be and often is complicated.

    3、不透明交易: 第三个问题使风投公司定价更加复杂的问题就是不透明交易。在公开市场中,股本也就是市值的算法是股票定价乘以股数,根据风投公司投资的股份来判断所有股权价值就要复杂的多了。

    Why? As I noted in an earlier post on unicorn valuations, the VC investment at each stage of capital-raising is structured differently, with a myriad of options embedded in it, some designed for protection (against dilution and future equity rounds) and some for opportunity (allowing future investments at favorable prices). As I noted in that post, a start-up with a "true" value of $750 million can structure an investment, where the VC pays $50 million (instead of $37.5 million) for 5% of the company, by adding enough optionality to the investment.

    为什么呢?正如我在之前给独角兽估值的文章中提到过的一样,风投公司每个阶段的集资都是被重新规划过的,每个阶段都会嵌入无数的期权,有些是为了防止在下一轮中被稀释,有些是为了给未来能够走到一个皆大欢喜的定价留一些机会。我在文中写到,一个“真实”估值为7.5亿的初创公司可以发起融资,那么让风投公司投5%,他们会投5000万而不是3750万,就是因为要充分考虑到投资的期权性风险。

    I may be misreading Scott's section on using option pricing to price VC investments, but if I am reading it right, I think Scott is saying that Andreessen uses option pricing models to clean up for the add-on options in VC investments to get to the fair value. Put differently, Andreessen would put a value of $750 million on this company rather than the $1 billion that you would get from extrapolating from the $50 million for 5%.

    在Scott描述利用期权的定价来衡量风投公司的部分我有可能理解错了,但是如果我理解的没错的话我认为他是想说霍洛维次基金使用期权定价模型在风投公司给出公允价值的时候通过附加期权来大捞一笔。换句话说就是,霍洛维次基金会给这个公司7.5亿的估值而不是10亿,是因为如果给出10亿的话5%就变成了5000万。

    I am sure that nothing that I have said here is new to venture capitalists, founders and those close to the VC process, but it is the subtle differences that throw off those whose primary experience is in the public markets. That is one reason that public investors should take the numbers that are often bandied about as valuations of private companies (like Palantir, Uber and Airbnb) with a grain of salt.  It is also why I think that public investors like mutual funds and university endowment funds should either tread lightly or not all in the space. Even within the VC business, it is sometimes easy, especially in buoyant times to forget how much the entire pricing edifice rests as much on momentum and mood, as it does on the underlying fundamentals.

    我打包票我在这里所说的一切对于任何一个在风投行业摸爬滚打的人来说一点都不陌生,但其中的细微差别已经使他们甩开初始经验在公共市场的人十条大街。这就是中小级别的投资者应该对那些私营企业(如Palantir,优步和缤客)被任意摆布的估值持保留态度的理由之一。此外这也是为什么我认为进行像互惠基金和高校捐赠基金业务这样的公众投资者应该谨慎行事或至少不要全倾投入其中。即使在风投行业之中它有时很简单,特别是在受外界造势和情绪驱使下的躁动期以至于对整个价值体系的盲目定价,对于基本面来说也是一样。

    With Predictable Consequences

    意料之中的结果

    So, let’s see. VCs price companies and that pricing is often based upon really small samples with infrequently updated and tough-to-read data. The consequences are predictable.

    所以让我们来看看风投公司的定价以及对它们的定价行为常常建立在那些不常更新的小样本以及让人会产生阅读困难的数据之上所带来的那些显而易见的后果。

    The pricing estimates will have more noise (error) attached to them. The pricing that I obtain for Lyft, based upon the pricing of Uber, Didi Chuxing and GrabTaxi, will have a larger band around the estimate and there is a greater chance that I will be wrong.

    1、外界会有更多的对估价过程的质疑声,我获得的对来福车的定价,是基于对优步,滴滴出行以及GrabTaxi的定价,但随之而来的后果是,越广泛的定价参考范围,我错误的概率也越高。

    The pricing will be more subjective, since you have the freedom to choose your comparable firms and often can use discretion to adjust for the infrequent data updating and the complexity of equity investments. While that may seem to just be a restatement of the first critique, there is also a much greater potential for bias to enter into the process. Not surprisingly, therefore, not all VC returns are created equal, especially when it comes to the unrealized portion, with more aggressive VCs reporting “higher” returns than less aggressive VCs. That is perhaps the point being made by Scott about realized versus unrealized returns.

    2、定价变得更加主观,因为你有了选择可比公司们的定价数据以及随意使用主观判断来调整那些对不常见数据的更新和应对股本投资多变性的自由。虽然这看起来像是对上一条批判理由的重述,但是这仍然可能会令种种潜在的偏见施加到这个行业中来,因此,并不是所有的风险投资回报都是公平的,尤其是就风投中未实现的部分而论的时候,随之而来的就是那些激进的风投回报比那些保守的更多。这也许就是Scott关于实现收益与未实现收益的理论重点所在。

    The pricing will lag the market: It is a well-established fact that the capital coming into the VC business ebbs and flows across time, with the number of transactions increasing in up markets and dropping in down markets. When there is a severe correction (say, just after the dot-com bust), transactions can come to a standstill, making repricing difficult, if not impossible. If VCs hold off on full repricing until transactions pick up again, there can be a significant lag between when prices drop at young companies and those price drops getting reflected in returns at VC firms.

    3、定价会拖市场的后腿:一个不争的事实是资本对风投行业的流入是随着时间有起有伏的,伴随着交易数量随市场热度的起伏涨落。当大力度的调控出现时(就在互联网泡沫破灭之后),交易行为进入了一个停滞期,重新定价变得困难,如果有可能的话,若风投公司能暂缓全面的重定价行为直到市场交易重新恢复活力。这就会在那些新公司价值下跌的时候带来的效应反馈到风投公司那里的这个进程产生一个明显的停滞。

    There is a price feedback loop: Since VC pricing is based upon small samples with infrequent transactions, it is susceptible to feedback loops, where one badly priced transaction (in either direction) can trigger many more badly priced transactions.

    4. 一个定价反馈回路:因为风投公司定价建立在不频繁交易的小样本之上,它比较容易形成反馈循环,即一次糟糕的定价交易(不管朝向这个循环的哪一个方向)都会触发一个更多糟糕定价交易的恶性循环。

    And a time horizon issue: The lack of liquidity and small samples that get in the way of pricing holdings also introduce a constraint into the pricing game. Unlike public market investors, where the pricing game can be played in minutes or even fractions of a minute on liquid stocks, private market pricing requires patience and more of it, the younger a company is. Put differently, winning at the VC pricing game may require that you take a position in a young start up and bide your time until you build it up and find someone who will find it attractive enough to offer you a much higher price for it. This is perhaps what Scott was talking about, in his response, when he talked about this being VC investing being a "long" game.

    5、随之而来的投资回报期问题:流动资产的缺乏和过小的样本对定价控股的阻碍也同时对定价博弈形成了约束。不同于公开市场投资者,那是一个定价博弈可以分分钟发起甚至利用流动资产以更快速度进行的领域,私募市场定价则需要慎之又慎的耐心。公司越年轻,换句话说,若要在风投的定价博弈中成为赢家需要快人一步,也需要等待时机直到你不断发展壮大从而让投资者觉得你的公司有足够的吸引力来获得一个更高的定价。这也许就是Scott之前所要阐述的。由他的反应来看,当他谈到风险投资时,意味着这是一场持久战。

    There is one final point that also needs to be made. Much as we like to talk about the VC market and the public market as separate, populated by different species, they are linked at the hip. To the extent that a venture capitalist has to plot an exit, either in an initial public offering or by selling to a publicity traded company, if the public market catches a cold, the venture capital market will get pneumonia, though the diagnosis may come much later.

    还有最后一点需要说明的是。我们虽然把风投市场和公开市场分开单独讨论,把它们二者看做不同的事物,但它们其实还是联系在一起的,在某种程度上来说风险投资家已经在不得不谋划撤出,在首次公开募股的时候或者以转手卖给一个公开上市的公司的方式。如果公开市场来了个伤风感冒,那风投公司就该得肺炎进医院了,虽然确切诊断书可能会下达得比以往任何时候来的更晚一些。

    The VC Edge

    风投的优点

    If I were to summarize the entire post in a couple of sentences, here is what it would say. Venture capitalists price the companies they invest in, base that pricing on small samples of opaque transactions and the pricing is therefore more likely to be wrong and lag reality. That sounds pretty damning, but I think that these features work to the advantage of venture capitalists, or at least the very best among them. That may sound contradictory, but here is my basis for making that statement.

    如果要我用几句话来总结整篇文章,以下是我想说的。风险投资家给他们参与投资的企业定价是基于他们那些对不透明交易中的小样本的定价。这种做法导致他们的定价行为有很大的可能会出错以及拖实际情况的后腿。这听起来非常的令人抓狂,但是我认为这些行为特征有利于风险投资家们的业务发展,或至少对于这一职业群体中最优秀的人会有积极作用。这听上去可能有些自打脸,那就让我在下面阐述一下我此番言论的根据。

    The average VC does better than the average public market active investor: Both VC and public market investors play the pricing game, with the latter having the advantage of more and better data, but over time, venture capitalists seem to deliver better results than public market investors, as seen in the graph below. These are raw returns and I do realize that you have to adjust for risk, but some of the biggest risks in venture capital (failure risk) have already been incorporated into long term returns.

    风险投资家这个职业群体的平均业务素质是要好于公开市场的活跃投资者们的:这两个群体同时进行定价博弈的时候。虽然后者在数据的数量和质量上占有优势,但随着时间推移,较之公开市场活跃投资者们,风险投资家们却能给出更好的结果。如下面的柱状图表显示,这些是原始回报而且我也认识到了你需要调整风险回报率,但是一些存在于风投中最大的风险(例如失败)已经被纳入长期回报的投资轨道上来。

    The Elite: The most successful VCs not only earn higher returns than the top public market investors but that there seems to be more consistency in the VC business, in so far as the best of the VCs are able to generate higher returns across longer time periods. That would suggest that venture capitalists bring more durable competitive advantages to the investing game than public market investors.

    精英们:那些最成功的风险投资家们不仅可以比那些顶尖公开市场投资者们获取更多的回报利润,而且他们在风投行业中拥有更持久的获利能力。也就是说这些最高竿的风险投资家们可以在长线投资中获取更高的回报。这表明前者会比后者在投资博弈中带来更多的持久性竞争力优势。

    How do I reconcile my argument that the VC pricing game is inherently more error-prone and noisy with the fact that VCs seem to make money at it? I think that the very factors that make it so difficult to price and profit of a VC investment are what allow VCs collectively to earn excess returns and the very best VCs to set themselves apart from the rest. In particular, the best in the business set themselves apart from the rest on three dimensions:

    我如何来证明我的两个论据,即风投在定价博弈中天生更容易出错以及伴随着对风险投资家们以此来获利的质疑之间的矛盾?我认为这正是导致很难界定风险投资的价值和利润原因所在,和使风险投资家们获得超额收益成为可能,以及让那些顶尖风险投资家们在同行中脱颖而出的重要因素。说得再溢美一点的话,就是在这个行业中实力最超班的人才完全可以甩其他人十条皇后大道。

    They are better pricers (relatively): As Scott notes in his piece, the price that you can attach to a VC investment can vary widely across investors and he uses the example of how Andreessen's option pricing approach can yield a lower pricing for the same company than an alternative approach. While all of these prices are undoubtedly wrong (because they are estimates), some of them are less wrong than others. Repeating a statement that I have made before, you don't have to be right to make money, you just have to be less wrong than everyone else and the chances of you doing that are greater in the VC pricing game.

    1、他们是更好的定价者(相对来说):如Scott在他的著作中所言,你能在风投中加入的定价在投资者中的变化非常之多变,他还以霍洛维次基金期权定价方法相对于其他方法会为同一家公司定一个收益率更低的价格。即使所有这些定价毋庸置疑都是错的(因为它们只是估值),没准这些定价中的一部分相对于其它的错得还不是那么离谱。再重申一遍我之前的观点,要赚钱你不一定非要是对的,你只需要比其他人错得少一点,就能使你有机会在风投定价博弈中做的更好。

    They can influence the pricing game: Unlike public market investors, who for the most part can observe company metrics but not change them, venture capitalists can take a more active role in the companies that they invest in, from informally advising managers to more formal roles as board members, helping these companies decide what metrics to focus on, how to improve these metrics and how (and when) to cash in on them (from an IPO or a sale).

    2、他们能影响定价博弈:与公开市场投资者这些在大多数情况下只是观测公司财务数据而不是改变它们这样的一个群体不同,风险投资家们在他们所投资的公司中能够扮演一个更活跃的角色。他们能私下建议经理人们把自己变成董事会正式成员,去帮助这些公司决定哪些指标需要关注,如何提升这些指标以及如何(和何时)在上面投入资金(通过上市或出售的方式)

    They have better timing: The pricing game is all about timing, and the VC pricing game is more emphatically so. To be successful, you not only have to time your entry into a business right but even more critically, time your exit from it.

    3、他们拥有更好的时机:定价博弈中时机意味着一切,在风投定价博弈中时机更是重中之重。想要成功,你不仅需要权衡你介入博弈的合适时机,更重要的是,你得知道什么时候脚底抹油。

    If you are an investor in a VC fund, therefore, you should of course look at both realized returns and unrealized returns, but you should also look at how the fund measures its unrealized returns and how it has generated its returns. A realized return that comes primarily from one big hit is clearly less indicative of skill than a return that reflects multiple hits over longer time periods. After all, if separating luck from skill is difficult in the public marketplace, it can become even more so in the venture capital business.

    如果你是一个风投基金中的投资者的话,不用说你肯定会看这支基金的实际回报率和未实现收益,但是建议你也应该看一下它对未实现收益会采取什么措施以及它是如何创造收益的。要了解到它的收益若是主要来自撞大运的话那就肯定会比那些细水长流长期收益的基金在经营上少了一些技巧和稳定性。总之,如果在公开市场中去分辨收益到底靠的是运气还是能力有些难的话,那在风险投资中想分辨的话没有最难只有更难。

    相关链接:

    精译求精系列之一:顶级大师霍华德马克斯谈投资秘诀:敢于成就伟大

    精译求精系列之二:卡尔伊坎卖出苹果,巴菲特买入苹果,你左右为难了吗?

    精译求精系列之三:昙花一现?科技新贵的刹那芳华(上)

    精译求精系列之三:科技公司的生命周期被压缩—投资者的一大挑战(下)

    精译求精系列之四:脱欧到底意味着什么?!

    精译求精系列之五:华尔街如何对优步(Uber)进行估值(上)?

    精译求精系列之五:华尔街如何对优步(Uber)进行估值?(中)

    精译求精系列之六:寻找十倍股的不二法门,投入资本回报率(上)

    精译求精系列之六:寻找十倍股的不二法门,投入资本回报率(下)

    精译求精系列之七:优步的主要竞争对手Lyft有什么独特之处?(上)

    精译求精系列之七:优步的主要竞争对手Lyft有什么独特之处(下)?

    精译求精系列之八:美国基金经理七月资产配置调查

    精译求精系列之九:巴菲特炮轰川普,川普“跌停”?(中英对照视频

    精译求精系列之十:华尔街太傅:风投,一个定价,而非估值的游戏(上)

    格隆汇声明:格隆汇作为免费、开放、共享的海外投资研究交流平台,并未持有任何关联公司股票。转载本文,请务必注明来源“港股那点事”及作者。

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