by Matthew Lynn
Crazy valuations for untested companies. Fortunes minted over-night. Promises of new technologies that will transform whole industries. To anyone who remembers the dotcom bubble of 1999 and 2000, that will all have a familiar ring to it – and they should be able to recognise the signs that something similar is happening now.
Some of the new internet businesses are achieving are extraordinary valuations. Uber is now worth more than $60bn. Airbnb is raising a new round of cash that will value is at $30bn. Across the world, there are now dozens of “unicorns”, as start-ups worth more than $1bn are known, and they are collectively worth hundreds of billions.
There is one big difference between today and 2000, however. This time around, the bubble is largely invisible.