If a company’s stock dips to an all-time low only to recover to its highest point in a decade just one month later, one of a few things may have happened. Maybe the company had a sudden buyout, positive earnings report or change in fortune. Maybe they discovered a bottomless oil well. But more likely than either of these is the possibility that the self-described “degenerates” over at r/WallStreetBets set the company in their crosshairs.
That’s exactly what happened over the last month with MicroVision ($MVIS), leading up to yesterday and today’s rise and inevitable fall of the company’s stock price. But why MicroVision? That question can be asked without a satisfying answer for any of WSB’s flavors of the month. Why Gamestop? Because making fun of Gamestop is an age old tradition in the online “gamer culture” that has seeped into so much of what WSB is. Why Nokia? Because of memes about Nokia’s old, indestructible, weapon-like cell phones. But MicroVision is a little different.
Despite its low stock value, MicroVision is a company investors have had an eye on for about a year. The company develops laser technology, including lidar technology which is used in self-driving vehicles. Earlier this week, news broke that Toyota would be purchasing Lyft's AV operation in a sign that the future of self-driving cars rests firmly with manufacturers and not tech firms like the world once thought. Early last year, MicroVision signaled the possibility of a buyout, and in February teased the upcoming release of a project two years in development that some Reddit investors think could lead to partnerships manufacturers in the space. MicroVision is set to release its earnings Thursday, which will confirm or deny many a Redditor's suspicions. In that way, it’s one of the few WSB investments that actually has some sound evidence behind it — no matter how much they tell you they like the stock.
With previous WSB favorites like Palantir and Gamestop, the love affair started months before things reached such a fever pitch that the general public couldn’t help but notice. But with MicroVision, WSB seems to have been mostly as reactionary as every other investor, feeding into spikes by piling on in hopes of being ahead of the curve. A chart showing MicroVision’s closing stock value paired with how often “MVIS” appeared on r/WallStreetBets (gathered by Thinknum Alternative Data’s Reddit Tracker) shows that the two rose and fell in tandem since March.
Despite that, there were some early adopters. Reddit user u/mosthighmostfly wrote that they had been holding MVIS stock since it was at $0.74, and added an additional 5,000 shares over the last two months. Another user, u/mike-oxlong98, showed their account balance which seems to indicate a previous approximate $200,000 investment in $MVIS, which has paid off nicely.
It didn’t take long, however, until MVIS started to dip. Frantic WSB users driven by FOMO and meme fever bought the stock overnight Monday only to watch it dip at market open Tuesday, causing many WSB users to lose money instantly and post memes about watching their accounts dip into the red. While some users walk away from surges as millionaires, others buy into the fervor and get left behind. But the success of those who make it the biggest prevents those who falter from ever giving up on the dream — for better or, usually, for worse.
So while some Reddit users were ahead of the curve on this one, the hivemind did not predict or premeditate the rise of $MVIS the way it did with $GME and other meme stocks. Instead, groupthink prevailed, and this rise and fall was very much like any other fluctuation.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.