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  • It's graduation day for the class of 2010, and you know what that means - presents!

  • Your relatives have gone all-out to reward you for years of hard work in school, but

  • there's one gift that intrigues you.

  • It's from your rich uncle - you know, the one who shows up to every event wearing an

  • Armani suit, even summer picnics.

  • He's giving you a thousand dollars, but there's only one catch - he wants you to

  • invest it.

  • He says investing is a great life lesson.

  • Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and the right investment can change a life.

  • He got his start making savvy investments decades ago, and he wants to give you the

  • same chance.

  • Now there's just one problem - picking the right stock.

  • You know one of the best opportunities to make a lot of money on a stock is to find

  • low-priced IPOs - initial public offerings.

  • These are stocks where the company has just gone public and is about to skyrocket in value

  • as people buy shares.

  • Getting in on the ground floor is a great opportunity.

  • Now you just have to decide what to invest in.

  • Two caught your eye.

  • Tesla, the electric car startup owned by Elon Musk, and Zoinkos, the ferret-rental company

  • from Liechtenstein.

  • Maybe you'll flip a coin.

  • After all, how much difference could one investment make?

  • It turns out, a lot.

  • Many of the most powerful companies in the world started out very affordable, and the

  • people who got in on the ground floor by buying shares wound up making a lot of money.

  • It helped that many of the companies split their stocks multiple times, dividing the

  • share price and multiplying the number of shares people own, so the shares were easier

  • to buy.

  • So how much would you make if you had invested in these companies on IPO day?

  • And just how did they get so big?

  • Tesla made headlines in January 2021 as its eccentric founder Elon Musk became the richest

  • man in the world.

  • This doesn't mean he has a giant pool of money in his mansion like a certain duck - most

  • of the wealth of billionaires is actually due to stock holdings, and that's how Musk

  • keeps trading that top spot with Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.

  • Musk is often in the headlines for less-profitable ventures, like writing songs about Harambe

  • the Gorilla and getting in trouble with government bodies for jokes about stock value, but his

  • product line is only growing.

  • As concerns about the environment grow, his selection of electric cars, energy batteries,

  • and solar panels are being bought not just by private citizens, but by governments.

  • He's sold over a million of his signature electric cars worldwide.

  • His start, though, was much more humble.

  • When Tesla went public at the New York Stock Exchange on June 29th, 2010, you could get

  • a share for only $17.

  • That's less than the price of a Fajita plate from Applebee's, and you could have a share

  • of one of the world's biggest companies.

  • Today, at the start of 2021, Tesla stock stands at around $714, which means the money that

  • bought you over fifty shares of Tesla in 2010 would buy you just over one share now.

  • And if you had invested all that money in Tesla back then and just sat back and let

  • it grow, after a 5-1 stock split you would now have over $188,000.

  • That's a pretty good graduation present - and could probably buy you a few Teslas.

  • But what about Musk's top rival for the top spot?

  • How's he doing?

  • Remember walking your local mall and seeing one bookstore after another?

  • Well, there are a lot fewer of them now and that's because everyone is getting their

  • books from one company - Amazon.

  • But the omnipresent online retailer founded by Jeff Bezos isn't just a bookstore anymore.

  • It's become one of the biggest shopping companies in the world, delivering everything

  • from holiday season presents to used collectibles.

  • They became a dominant force in the grocery market when they acquired Instacart, run their

  • own streaming service with hit dramas like The Marvelous Ms. Maisel, and are one of the

  • most powerful web hosting companies in the world - meaning that even if they don't

  • own a site, many places around the internet are paying them to operate.

  • So when they went public, it was a big deal.

  • It was May 15th, 1997, and Amazon was still mostly an online bookseller in an online market

  • that was just starting out.

  • So their IPO wasn't the hottest ticket in town - only $18 a share.

  • But things have changed a lot since then, and for the lucky few who invested right at

  • the start, they've seen a small fortune grow.

  • The current Amazon stock price as of February 2021 is over 3,100 a share and has been split

  • three times, so if you invested in the company on day one, you would have a nest egg of over

  • $1,300,000 - which would buy a LOT of items on Amazon.

  • What about the third guy in the world's richest man sweepstakes?

  • No one's been atop the tech world longer than Bill Gates.

  • He became synonymous with home computers in the late 1980s and 1990s, and he hasn't

  • been knocked out of the top spot in his sector yet.

  • The company took a huge jump in momentum when they entered the video game world 2001 with

  • the Xbox, becoming the third big player in the gaming market alongside Nintendo and Sony.

  • Sure, there was that pesky thing with the company being hit by an antitrust lawsuit

  • from the federal government in the 1990s, and the company's rivals have been picking

  • up steam, but Microsoft is still going strong.

  • So when would you have had to get on board with the company on IPO day?

  • One of the earliest modern tech companies to go public, investors have been able to

  • have their piece of Microsoft since March 13th, 1986.

  • The company was a hot investment from the start, and its initial share price of $21

  • reflected that - especially without the inflation that has happened in the last 34 years.

  • There have been a lot of fluctuations over the years, but right now Microsoft is in a

  • bit of a lull.

  • As of 2021, its shares are around $234 a share - but the stock has been split nine times,

  • meaning you would have over $2,600,000 if you invested that $1000 in it and kept it

  • there.

  • That's a lot of video games - and proof that playing the long game can pay off big

  • time.

  • What about Microsoft's top rival?

  • It's hard to believe there was ever a time when Apple wasn't the hottest thing around,

  • but the tech company started by Steve Jobs spent much of its early years as a distant

  • second to Microsoft.

  • Its computers were more expensive and seen as a niche product for tech-lovers.

  • That changed with the onset of the mobile era, as one product after another from Apple

  • became the hottest thing to have.

  • First it was the iPod, the portable music player.

  • Then the iPhone, the smartphone that was basically a mini-computer, followed by the tablet computer

  • iPad.

  • Apple still makes desktop computers, but they're only a small part of their brand now.

  • With a newly launched streaming service, they're as much a lifestyle brand as a computer company

  • now - as their die-hard fans will be happy to tell you.

  • And for those who have been on board from the start, they'll reap the rewards.

  • It was December 12th, 1980 when Apple went public for savvy investors.

  • The price was $22 a share, not much different from Microsoft six years later.

  • And while the company has had many peaks and valleys over the years, its price right now

  • doesn't compare to some of the newer tech heavyweights.

  • A share can be had for just under $126 as of February 2021, but the five stock splits

  • mean you'll have many more shares and an investment portfolio worth just over 980,000

  • - more than enough to afford whatever flashy new gadget they have coming next.

  • None of these companies, however, have quite the global reach of the next one.

  • In the dawn of the internet, the center of the World Wide Web wasn't social media networks.

  • It was search engines, where the early adopters could scour the internet for sites that interested

  • them.

  • And few rose higher and faster than Google.

  • Founded by college students Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998, the company soon gained

  • a reputation as the smoothest and most accurate search engine around - despite those Bing

  • ads.

  • But they've become so much more than that since, hosting the world's most popular

  • free email and document sharing services, GMail and Google Docs.

  • They provide video chat services, maps, and their own browser in Google Chrome.

  • They even own the world's most popular video site, YouTube.

  • That cat video you just watched?

  • Brought to you by Google.

  • And they've come a long way since IPO day.

  • Google was already a powerhouse when they went public on August 14th, 2004, with their

  • IPO going for $85 a share.

  • So you would have only been able to get just over 12 shares with your $1000 - if you were

  • able to get one.

  • Demand was so high, there was an online auction by investors.

  • So were they rewarded in the long term?

  • Well, the share price as of February 2021 is over $2000, one of the top tech stocks

  • behind Amazon.

  • If you went in on the big ticket stock then, you would have over $41,000 in the bank right

  • now thanks to a single 2-1 stock split.

  • And it doesn't look like Google is slowing down any time soon.

  • But in the internet world, success can be fleeting.

  • Google wasn't the first search engine to become a household name.

  • That was Yahoo!, the front page of millions of internet users during the 1990s and early

  • 2000s.

  • Their catchy marketing campaign and easy to navigate design made them popular, and they

  • were also one of the first search engines to bundle a homepage with a free email service.

  • Yahoo Mail was one of the most popular email services for a long time, but multiple hacking

  • incidents led people to start switching to providers they saw as more reliable.

  • And of course, there was Google, which eventually left their rival in the dust.

  • But when Yahoo went public, they were one of the hottest tickets in town.

  • It was April 5th, 1995, and Yahoo went public at $13 a share.

  • It was quickly snapped up, and at its high Yahoo was up to $500 for a single share.

  • For those who invested, it was a windfall - but it would evaporate quickly.

  • The price declined, and never recovered.

  • By the time it ended its run as a publicly traded company in 2017, most of its value

  • had evaporated, and those who invested heavily in it took a bath.

  • The age of the mega-search engine was ending.

  • The age of social media had begun.

  • When Mark Zuckerberg co-founded Facebook as a Harvard student, it was little more than

  • a dating tool for him and his friends.

  • But as the social media network grew, it became a key part of the modern age of the internet.

  • It made it easy to keep up with people who you hadn't seen in years, to get into political

  • arguments with friends of friends, and to see every single cat meme your mother came

  • across on the internet.

  • So when it finally went public, anticipation was high.

  • It was May 18th, 2012 and shares went public at $38.

  • But for the many shareholders who jumped on board, it would be a bumpy ride.

  • The site faced intense competition from other sites like Twitter and Tumblr, and controversies

  • around the site's use of its user data and its involvement in election-era disinformation

  • led to Zuckerberg being ordered to testify in front of Congress.

  • But the site acquired popular image-sharing site Instagram, which helped to shoot the

  • stock back up.

  • Currently the stock sits at around $250 a share with no stock splits, which means your

  • $1000 share would be worth a decent $6100 right now - but many people wonder if it's

  • downhill from here.

  • What about Facebook's top rival?

  • Twitter had a much more straightforward mission than Facebook - a blogging site where anyone

  • could share any thought they had, as long as it was 140 characters or less.

  • Co-founded by Jack Dorsey, the site became a hub for just about everyone - celebrities

  • recruited new fans, influencers used it as a way to promote their content, and random

  • people threw out their bad takes for the entire internet to yell at.

  • World leaders could even use the site to promote their policies and make announcements - until

  • Twitter drops the ban-hammer at least.

  • So how did it fare when the site went public?

  • November 7th, 2013 Twitter went public with a relatively modest share price of $26, and

  • it quickly became a hot stock.

  • The site's stayed strong since, with controversial personalities bringing new traffic - and no

  • small amount of controversy - to Twitter.

  • There have been controversies over the site's lack of moderation, but it's become the

  • modern day equivalent of the public square.

  • So has that been rewarded in terms of share price?

  • Not really.

  • The site hasn't made any big acquisitions, and its price currently sits at $70 a share

  • after one 2-1 split - meaning an opening-day investment of $1000 would be worth a little

  • over $1600 now.

  • Enough time on social media - what about the internet's biggest entertainment hub?

  • Few companies have had a stranger journey than Netflix.

  • The company started as a mail-order DVD service in 1997, an alternative to the popular video

  • stores.

  • It had trouble competing with the established chains, and for a time was even considering

  • a sale to powerhouse Blockbuster.

  • Then Reed Hastings made one investment that changed everything - original content.

  • They debuted their first original drama in 2013, and from there greenlit hundreds of

  • popular water-cooler shows like Stranger Things, The Witcher, and Tiger King.

  • The company's simple business model - keep many people subscribed for a modest per-month

  • fee that starts at $10 a month - has paid off.

  • Also, Carole Baskins totally fed her ex-husband to tigers.

  • But when Netflix went public, it was a different story.

  • At launch day on May 23rd, 2002, Netflix was still a small DVD company and their share

  • could be had for a modest $15 each.

  • That was ten years before the company's sea change began, and many people undoubtedly

  • unloaded their shares.

  • But for those lucky few who didn't?

  • They saw one of the biggest returns on their investment around, with shares currently going

  • for $533 each as of February.

  • That means those lucky few would have over $461,000 of Netflix stock right now - or over

  • 10,000 years of a Netflix subscription.

  • So are there any big IPOs that are still good buys now?

  • For anyone who's ever tried to get a taxicab on a busy night, you probably have a horror

  • story.

  • That's what created the need for the latest big company to go public - Uber.

  • This rideshare app quickly took over the city streets in the 2010s, and founders Travis

  • Kalanick and Garrett Camp soon built it into a transportation powerhouse.

  • It quickly expanded into delivery services with Uber Eats, which streamlined millions

  • of restaurants under one delivery platform - something that paid off in a big way in

  • 2020 when we were all ordering delivery.