Skip to content

Companies That Rode Pandemic Boom Get a Reality Check

Rich Wong, a general partner at Accel, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, sees “a truly credible case” that the growth of “these digital transformations have actually increased by a major step and, with that, the size of the opportunity in technology and venture investing.”

Stock market gyrations can shelve plans by start-ups to sell shares to the public. But the gaming site Roblox, which is popular among children and tweens and has thrived in the stay-at-home economy, made its stock-market debut on Wednesday. After its first day of trading, Roblox was valued at $45 billion, up from $4 billion just over a year ago.

At the end of last week Coursera, the digital learning network, filed the documents necessary to go public in the coming weeks. The company and its venture backers are convinced that adult education and skills training will increasingly be online, and that investors will agree. In its filing, Coursera reported that its revenue jumped 59 percent last year, to $294 million.

So far, there is little evidence of a retreat from online life in general.

SimilarWeb, an online data provider, compared traffic at the top 100 websites in the United States during last March and April, when web use spiked at the start of the pandemic, with the first two months of this year. Total traffic was up more than 12 percent this year. No “peak web” yet.

Mr. Readerman, portfolio manager for Endurance Capital Partners, has been a technology company analyst and investor for 30 years. He is mainly a longer-term investor in companies he views as tech innovators with strong managements.

One of his holdings is Nvidia, a semiconductor company whose specialized chips are well suited for artificial intelligence programs. Nvidia shares took a pounding on Monday. After the close of the market that day, from his home office in the Bay Area, Mr. Readerman said he was buying in the downturn.

“The market is giving us an opportunity to increase our conviction,” he said, chuckling.

Nvidia shares are up about 8 percent from the Monday close.