In the start-up world, when a company is fresh and new and modestly funded, it will usually spend a few years under the radar and attempt to develop a viable product or service. When it's time to take that business on the market, the startup starts the "stealth" mode and reveals what it's been up to.
Stealth mode can obviously be a stressful time, but it can also be a nice episode where the startup has the most desirable of goods: time. More importantly, time is free from external judgments. Hope literally springs forever and no fights are beaten.
The money eventually runs out, and hidden mode is no longer practical. The business must stand alone.
There are periods, but when a withdrawal to hidden mode can be justified. Tesla is now in one of these periods.
Read more: Elon Musk grimaces to the bank when Tesla finally raises more money
The company comes from a tortured 201
However, 2019 distance to a messy start is. Tesla returned to its money-losing ways in Q1, with a substantial increase in revenues, down $ 3 billion from over $ 7 billion in Q4 2018. The writing has been on the verge of a new capital increase for a while, and Last week, Tesla pulled the trigger and took in $ 2.7 billion (the offer was a mix of convertible debt and equity).
Tesla has two choices for 2019
This should take a lot of pressure from 2019 and give Tesla a window to put your head down and just perform. Card sellers should be happy to be able to borrow more shares to bet against the company, but their more extreme representatives have also seen their "go to zero" arguments undermined by Tesla's improved balance.
Two things can now happen. First, Tesla could seriously engage with what Musk now seems to be, is Next Big Thing, a robotic taxi service. This has been percolating for a while. About three years ago, Musk realized that self-driving was the hot new idea in transport, which moved the electric car revolution that had allowed Tesla to rise. He swung and swung quickly. At an investor event a few weeks ago, we saw the fruits of that effort: some pretty convincing Tesla-centered autonomous technique.
Musk told analyst Adam Jonas that Morgan Stanley was going to tell all Tesla's adventurous expenses, so it is safe to assume that much of the new capital could head in that direction.
But there is another possibility: become a functional car manufacturer.
Tesla has always been a dysfunctional car manufacturer. It was fine because being a functional car manufacturer in 2010 would have spelled Tesla's judgment. It needed to bend the automotive industry to attract enough customers to take a crazy chance on an electric car.
But it is now time for Tesla to put away the childish games. That's because Tesla dominates the electric car market. However, that dominance is still quite small, as the EV market is rinkydink. It is critical that Tesla grows its dominance as this market expands.
Why? Because the cost structure of attacking the EV market for a newer player from the traditional industry is not scary. Car manufacturers rake so much money selling pickups, SUVs and luxury cars, now that they can afford to waste money on the "problem" of electrification.
But for Tesla, the cost structure is total. The company doesn't really have another business. It sells EV or bust. Due to its financial vulnerabilities, Tesla has most of the profits in EV that will flow to the balance sheet. It is the only way it will survive. And the cost of that survival is functional execution. Incredibly boring, functional design.
A crazy dream for Tesla
My dream is that Tesla will wisely take the new $ 2.7 billion and say, "Thank you so much, now we go underground for for a while, so we can figure out how to make more money by building and selling cars. "
Based on Musk's comments on autonomy, it will not happen. So I would be pleased with the same statement, aimed only at rolling out a functional self-service over the next few years. Anyway, play mode will be dandy prerequisite for a decision.
Musk has a tough time controlling the tongue, so I'm not optimistic. BUT, lukewarm Tesla is not outstanding.
Take robotaxi tech. I've spent a few weeks digging into it, and it's actually incredibly impressive. In a nutshell, Tesla has developed a massively multiplayer online game, overlapping reality with some real-time simulation and the use of its large fleet of cars (equipped with cameras and sensors) as players. Simply put, robotax tech creates an AI simulation that the fleet can use, puts it into reality and merges the two environments. Basically, it is "The Matrix Reloaded" when Neo combines the movie's actual and virtual worlds.
Tesla had not said anything about this before the recent investor presentation; The only intel unit provided by the company was to provide updates on full-self-propelled hardware and updates to Autopilot, Tesla's existing semi-self-driving system. Tesla designed his own chip for the Robotaxi plan (after using Nvidia's state-of-the-art chips earlier), and if some other companies had come out of stealth mode when they had pulled it off while they also sold a quarter million cars, would have been a staggering entry into self-driving.
The result is that Tesla can play. It now has a bit of what we can call "eff-you" money. My recommendation is to take cash and shut up for the rest of the year.