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Benjamin Padnos
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Entrepreneur and "public venture capital" investor based in Manhattan Beach, California.
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  • WATT Shares On Sale Following Coordinated Short Attack

    The guys behind Forensic Research Analyst who wrote the July 30 hit piece on Seeking Alpha about Energous Corp. (NASDAQ:WATT) are very good at what they do. They front-run an article and assemble a meaningful short position, they hire a writer and/or create a new SA profile - prior to 7/30, Forensic Research Analyst had never been a contributor and had no followers - and then create fear, uncertainty and doubt by cobbling together risk factors from a company's public filings and other sources to scare the bejesus out of retail investors, who panic and race for the exits.

    This latest effort is a sloppy, but effective, short-and-distort hit piece that essentially regurgitates the risk disclosure from the Company's S-1 filing. Look at the "risk factor" sections from the S-1s of FB, TWTR, GPRO and ANY other IPO, you'll see similar dire warnings written by nervous SEC attorneys who caution of each company's likely demise.

    This type of fear-mongering is highly effective in the short term, but when you peel back the onion, you'll see that "Forensic Research Analyst," an anonymous new contributor to Seeking Alpha with no followers prior to today, was likely compensated by a small team of people aiming to manipulate the stock.

    Anyone selling their WATT based on this coordinated short attack will deeply regret it. Smart money is buying on the short-term dip that has created a tremendous buying opportunity.

    As pioneers in not just wireless, but true wire-free charging, Energous is a billion-dollar play.

    Please see my blog instablog post from 7/8/14 --

    http://seekingalpha.com/p/1tcn5 -- and Seeking Alpha PRO readers can see a full report I published on June 16, 2014: http://seekingalpha.com/a/1cn57.

    Disclosure: The author is long WATT.

    Tags: WATT
    Jul 30 6:55 PM | Link | 1 Comment
  • Buying Opportunity On Energous Ahead Of Wire-Free Charging Pioneer's Annual Meeting, Investor Call, Webcast

    Energous Corporation (NASDAQ:WATT), will be hosting its annual stockholders meeting at 1:30pm ET (10:30am PT) on Thursday, July 10, 2014, and an investor conference call and webcast at 11:30am ET (8:30am PT) on Tuesday, July 15. The Pleasanton, California-based developer of WattUp™, a disruptive wire-free charging technology for electronic devices that provides power at a distance with complete mobility under full software control, will be presenting an overview of the business model as well as a video demonstration of WattUp™ technology.

    WATT shares recently traded in the high $15s, but have fallen roughly 20% on no news.

    WattUp is a wire-free charging technology that aims to transform the way people charge and power their electronic devices at home, in the office, in the car and beyond. Energous has filed over 50 patents to protect its solution that delivers intelligent, scalable power via the same radio bands as a Wi-Fi router. WattUp differs from current wireless charging systems in that it delivers meaningful, useable power, at distances of up to 15 feet, while allowing users to move around while charging. The result is a wire-free experience that saves users from being tethered to a cord.

    Energous will initially license WattUp to the wearable and mobile-accessory markets and will expand to other markets such as Wi-Fi routers and smartphones over time. Initial validation of its licensing model came in May when the Company announced two joint development agreements with large Korean manufacturers, Hanbit Electronics and Dong-Hwa. In June, Energous announced a JDA with Pocons, a tier-one mobile phone parts and accessories supplier in Korea, to embed WattUp technology in Pocons' mobile phone charging solutions. Each agreement has led to a positive bump as shares of companies in the "public venture capital" asset class tend to increase as they reach key milestone points such as commercial validation. When, not if, Energous signs a deal with OtterBox, Belkin, or some other household name, look out!

    WattUp technology can be applied to a wide array of everyday end-user devices: mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, security cameras, Bluetooth headsets, landscape lighting, headphones, remote controls, game controllers, clocks, 3D glasses, electronic toys, cameras, powered speakers, computer mice and trackpads, drawing tablets, keyboards, electric toothbrushes, inventory scanners, pagers, electric razors, webcams, GPS, smart watches, presentation pointers, cordless phones, security systems, fire alarms, smoke sensors, flashlights, radio-controlled devices, camcorders, microphones, and more. Additional background on the company can be found in my previous Seeking Alpha coverage on Energous, found here.

    Buoyed a combination of investor enthusiasm around the holy grail that is wire-free charging, and a tight public float - there were only 4.6 million shares sold at the March 28 IPO (including the underwriter's over-allotment) - Energous' stock has more than doubled from its $6 offering price. The recent dip provides a solid entry-point opportunity for investors ahead of the July 10 shareholder meeting and July 15 investor call. It's also safe to expect tremendous enthusiasm and buzz leading up to the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2015 where the Company intends to demonstrate various products incorporating WattUp technology. WATT shares could easily double, or more, between now and then. (Seeking Alpha PRO subscribers can read Energous Corp.: True Ground-Level Opportunity For A Possible Groundbreaking Technology, from May 1, which put a $45 price target on WATT shares.)

    In June, Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) and Duracell Powermat, a joint-venture between Procter & Gamble's (NYSE:PG) Duracell brand and Powermat Technologies, launched a national rollout of wireless phone chargers in Starbucks and Teavana locations, beginning with stores in Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area. According to the press release, stores will be equipped with "Powermat Spots" which are "designated areas on tables and counters where customers can place their compatible device and charge wirelessly."

    Energous delivers greater flexibility than companies like Powermat which use wireless pad charging standards and specifications developed by the Power Matters Alliance ("PMA") and the Alliance for Wireless Power ("A4WP") because WattUp allows people to roam wherever they choose without the constraints of a power cord or mat. The Starbucks/Duracell Powermat deal conditions the market for wire-free charging becoming mainstream by bringing visibility to the problem of being tethered to the wall or a charging pad.

    Energous' investor call and webcast will be hosted by CEO Steve Rizzone. The product demonstration will be conducted by Founder & Chief Technology Officer, Michael Leabman.

    Investor call details

    Date: July 15, 2014
    Time: 11:30 a.m. ET
    US Dial-in: 1-800-946-0786
    International Dial-in: 1-719-325-2131
    Conference ID: 3285151
    Webcast: http://public.viavid.com/index.php?id=109617

    Disclosure: The author is long WATT. The author wrote this article themselves, and it expresses their own opinions. The author is not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). The author has no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

    Tags: WATT, long-ideas
    Jul 08 4:40 PM | Link | 4 Comments
  • Be Careful With Republican Stock Pickers. They May Not Believe In Math.

    A Republican friend of mine - a buddy of 20 years who has remained as conservative as the day I met him freshman year at the University of Michigan - sent me a surprising text a couple of Tuesdays ago, moments after Obama had secured his re-election: "Karl Rove is the man."

    "How is he the man?" I replied. "He and the Rs spent over $1 billion and Obama won and the GOP lost seats in the House and Senate." If Karl Rove ran a company in which I was an investor, I'd want him fired. But like many Republicans, my friend saw cold, hard reality and denies its existence (just like Rove, himself.)

    My politics has admittedly shifted left over the years - particularly since having children - but most folks who know me think of me as a pretty conservative, Midwestern guy. I describe myself as a "Progressive Libertarian." I live my life pretty conservatively, and don't want the government encroaching on personal decisions, but I do believe in a social safety net. As far as the California Secretary of State knows, I'm an Independent, registered as "Decline to State."

    A political junkie, I've been warning for years that the Republicans were on track to becoming a regional, minority party. Ultimately, the country is far less conservative than the tea party, social conservatives and right-wing extremists who control the GOP think. And the electoral map from November 6 reflects the accuracy of this prediction. Most staggering to me is that the Republican Party's anti-science commitment has dangerously spread to "math" as they've continued to ignore the realities of the country's demographics. They tried to win a national election yet ceded huge swaths of the population to the Dems - Blacks (93-6% to Obama), Latinos (71-27%) , Asians (73-26%), LGBT (90-10%), Jews (69-31%) etc. Additionally, this time around, they pissed off women, who broke 55-44 for the President.

    There are just not enough "white males" to build a national coalition - it's not my opinion, it's MATH. Republican strategist Mike Murphy said this over 3 years ago, and after the election, Erick Erickson of RedState.com said "…Romney made a conscious decision to blow off Hispanic voters. Yes conservatives, we must account for this. The Romney campaign to the hispanic community was atrocious and, frankly, the fastest growing demographic in America isn't going to vote for a party that sounds like that party hates brown people."

    But in the days leading up to the election, Republican pundits -- ranging from the competent George Will and Peggy Noonan to the delusional Karl Rove and Michael Barrone to the carnival barking Dick Morris and Donald Trump - all called for a Romney landslide. How is it possible that all of these so-called experts, including folks from the Romney-Ryan campaign, were "shellshocked" by the results?

    I did my own informal survey with Republican friends on Election morning: "Prediction?" the email read. I told them I thought Obama would win 303-235 (I thought Romney, not Obama, would win Florida) and predicted a 1.3% win in the popular vote - it came in at 2.5%. Across the board, ALL of the Republicans said "Romney." Now, remember, I didn't ask who they hoped would win, I asked who theythought was going to prevail (and won a couple of meals as a result of their delusion.)

    It was an astonishing realization that my smart, highly-successful group of friends with different political affiliations truly live in an alternate universe. They watch Fox News, read National Review and The Weekly Standard, listen to Rush Limbaugh or Dennis Prager, and have absolutely NO IDEA WHAT'S ACTUALLY GOING ON IN THE WORLD. Of course, if you followed Nate Silver's incredibly good blog, FiveThirtyEight, you knew it was going to be a fairly close race, but Obama was going to win. But because Silver is associated with the New York Times, most Republicans dismiss it as liberal propaganda. In reality, it's a non-partisan, deep, statistical analysis of polling data - the kind of financial analysis a good stock analyst can appreciate.

    It's people who are biased, not numbers! Again, the MATH thing.

    Something very dangerous has happened to many people in the Republican Party. They discount fact-based arguments - ones backed by math and science - and cling to emotional, faith-based positions. Whether it's my conservative buddy's steadfastness on Karl Rove, or many Republicans' refusal to even look at Nate Silver's numbers, the more they're challenged with fact-based arguments - scientific data on "climate change," or evidence against taking serious "austerity" measures during the heart of a recession, for example - the more they dig in their heels on their opinions.

    Which brings me to my thesis: Investors should consider the political affiliation of individuals making stock recommendations because it's a proxy for the person's judgment. Admittedly, the Democrats' displaced idealism often leads them to make poor decisions regarding spending, but hard-core Republicans have a hard-time dealing with math-based reality, which carries over to their outlook on the economy and the stock market. After all, they've been wrong for most of the past 20 years.

    Don't believe me? Here's the math:

    S & P 500 results during the past 6 Presidential terms:

    Obama

    S&P 500 1/20/09: 805.22

    S&P 500 11/19/12: 1,386.89

    +72.2%

    Bush II

    S&P 500 1/20/01: 1,342.54

    S&P 500 1/20/09: 805.22

    -40%

    Clinton

    S&P 500 1/20/93: 433.37

    S&P 500 1/20/01: 1,342.54

    +310%

    Bush I

    S&P 500 1/20/89: 286.63

    S&P 500 1/20/93: 433.37

    +51%

    Nov 20 10:32 AM | Link | 1 Comment
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