The personal stock picker for Mike Cannon-Brookes, known for her unconventional appearance and unusual career path, has thrown the rules of wealth management out the window once more, expressing a bullish outlook for a stock that has risen 1500 per cent in just 18 months.
Armina Rosenberg is the global equities portfolio manager at Grok Ventures, the family office established by Mr Cannon-Brookes and his wife Annie Todd, to diversify the multibillion-dollar fortune he created with his software development and collaboration platform business Atlassian.
Ms Rosenberg has assembled a portfolio with some of the biggest names in tech for her billionaire boss, headlined by giants such as Apple, Amazon and Alibaba, ensuring the interest and admiration of many. But her views on web-conferencing company Zoom are likely to ruffle the feathers of more staid stock pickers once more.
“We’re very bullish Zoom, even now. I do get a lot of questions on, ‘do you still like it at these levels that they’re trading at which are exorbitant’ and I can get into tech valuations at some point but the answer is we still see a lot of runway with Zoom,” Ms Rosenberg said.
Ms Rosenberg believes Zoom has yet to peak, after investing at the IPO in 2019 at $US36 a share. Earlier this month, it peaked at $US589 or a rise of more than 1500 per cent in 18 months. She says Zoom chief executive Eric Yuan is one of the best founders she has ever met and notes the considerable challenges he has overcome.
“Everyone thought that video-conferencing was commoditised, and to a large extent it was. But Eric saw all the challenges people had with existing options given he worked at Webex, so he knew that Zoom’s unique selling proposition had to be its technology,” Ms Rosenberg said.
She notes the way Mr Yuan handled a security backlash earlier this year, which saw calls hijacked by third parties among other issues, by “owning it” through apologising and freezing development for 90 days.
Faith in Slack
The observation about Zoom is one of a handful that features in an upcoming episode of podcast Conversations with Future Generation, hosted by the listed investment company’s CEO Louise Walsh.
During the back and forth that bounces between her hard-scrabble beginnings – she grew up in a Wentworthville housing commission development in Sydney’s west – and technology valuations, Rosenberg accepts the portfolio’s undisclosed valuation has benefited heavily from the onset of the pandemic because of its heavy skew towards software and e-commerce companies.
They even find time to take in the latest social media phenomenon.
“I was very late to join the TikTok bandwagon and now I can’t get over it,” the 34-year-old exclaims.
But an offhanded observation about a company her boss once competed with called Slack may even raise the eyebrows of her famously liberal employer.
“Slack is a kind of messaging system, kind of similar to WhatsApp but more kind of geared towards workplaces,” Ms Rosenberg says. “And the company has some of the strongest kind of unit economics of any SAS [software as service] players out there.”
In 2017, Atlassian launched its own team communications tool to compete with Slack. It was already in the game but felt there was an opportunity to carve a piece of the market out for itself. After a few years of going head to head with Slack the writing was on the wall.
“They could see that Slack was winning that space and just thought there’s no point in us having a competing product that’s not as good, so they took the kind of I guess tough decision to shut that down,” Ms Rosenberg says.
Slack isn’t part of Grok Ventures portfolio, not yet anyway. But based on having seen how it deals with competition, she is confident that Slack can take on Microsoft and Google and win.