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The phoenix and the unicorn: companies disrupting themselves and how to find them
Technology investment

The phoenix and the unicorn: companies disrupting themselves and how to find them

In a brief period of time the future of the market environment has been changed, business has been transformed in front of our eyes.
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10 SEPT, 2020

By Constanza Ramos




RankiaPro Europe joined the last digital discussion session of Principal Global Investors on global economic and investment implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and opportunities in the markets. This webinar provided an outlook on so called unicorn companies – through an insightful conversation with Peter Hinssen.


Peter Hinssen is the author of four best selling business books. ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ (June 2017) is about surviving in times of radical innovation. ‘The Network Always Wins’ (2014) explains how and why companies have no choice but to become a network when the outside world has evolved into one. In ‘The New Normal’ (2010), Peter writes about how companies should explore the limits of the digital world, and what happens when technology just becomes ‘normal’. ‘Business/IT Fusion’ (2008) is a guide about how to solve the conflict between business and IT. Peter is frequently asked to contribute to (international) publications and is a Forbes contributor as well as a LinkedIn Influencer.

The phoenix and the unicorn

Peter has given numerous keynote speeches around the world, among which those for Google Think Performance, Nimbus Ninety, Gartner, NEXT Berlin,Tedx, PayPal, MasterCard, Microsoft, CIO City, SAS, Accenture and Apple. He lectures at renowned business schools like the London Business School, the MIT Sloan School of Management and the Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine. He is also a multiple board advisor on subjects related to innovation and technology.

Peter Hinssen
Peter Hinssen

Work has complatey changed, we are using Zoom and team, and even if we go back to the office, the office and the work environment wont be the same anymore. Many companies are saying “Why should we go back ?” – remote work can complately change the future. Accordig to google they wont open the office space until summer 2021, and according to Mark Zuckerberg 50% of workers will potetially never go back to the office. In a brief period of time the future of the market environment has been changed, business has been transformed in front of our eyes.

Peter Hinssen

The phoenix and the unicorn – The last 10 years we have talked a lot about the unicorns these new companies that were able to grow extremely quickly, because they were digital native and network native, and after 10 years of applauding the unicorns, now the unicorns are in trouble. The top 5 superstar big tech companies are doing very well, but a lot of the other unicorns are not.

Peter Hinssen

Investment Implications

Chris Carter, Hans Vander Plaats and Todd Jablonski talked in the webinar about the investment implications.

Which sector do you think will undergo the most dramatic tech distruption over the upcoming 5 years? 44% of the audience voted for retail, 32% on Financials, 7% Real estate, and 6% Pharma.

One of the more common refrains among Equity selectors is that there is certainly a need for Growth, over the last several years, as the global economy has healed and expended at a below trend, our economy has moved in a relatively slow pace forward.

Right now, there is no corroboration for return in value relative to Growth, but the honest answer is that it could happen at any moment. One offset to that is that relative value is no where near it was in 1999. Valuation can be very informative in terms of asset selection over the long term, however in the short term it could be complately misinforming.

Chris Carter
Partner, Origin Asset Management

Chris is a founding partner of Origin Asset Management. He was previously a senior investment manager at Investec Asset Management, where he was one of the architects of the company’s investment process and managed global equity and balanced portfolios. Prior to joining Investec, he was head of the Global Investment Strategy team at UBS. Chris has also held senior global equity portfolio management positions at CIGNA International and at World invest (now New Star). Chris is a graduate of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, with an MA Honours Degree in Economics and Philosophy.

Hans Vander Plaats
Managing Director, Client Portfolio Manager, Aligned Investors

Hans is the client portfolio manager for Aligned Investors, an investment boutique within Principal Global Investors. He is responsible for overseeing client portfolio management for the firm’s Mid Cap and Blue Chip equity strategies. In this role Hans is a member of the investment management team while also coordinating the boutique’s business development and client relations activities. Hans joined the firm in 2012 after serving in multiple roles for AXA US. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Northwestern College. Hans is a CFA charter holder and a member of the CFA Institute.

Todd Jablonski
Chief Investment Officer, Principal Global Asset Allocation

Todd is the Chief Investment Officer at Edge Asset Management. Additionally, he is theHead of Asset Allocation and serves as a Portfolio Manager. Todd joined Edge in 2010 andhas been in the investment industry since 1998. Previously, he was an Executive Directorand Portfolio Manager for UBS, and a Vice President and Portfolio Manager for CreditSuisse. Todd is currently a member of Edge’s Investment & Risk Committee. He received anM.B.A from New York University with a concentration in quantitative finance and abachelor’s degree in economics from University of Virginia. Todd has earned the right touse the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

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