Is IronNet the Meme Stock We’ve Been Waiting for?
The term ‘retail trader’, much like the term ‘outsider art’ is an odd one and not one that accurately reflects the demographic’s influence on stock markets worldwide. Particularly in the US, where 2021 has been the Year of the Meme Stock – or stonk, if you’re much younger and/or more active on Reddit than this Gen Xer – we’ve seen the power of this group wields.
When it comes to meme stocks, here to stay, which company is the next solid bet? As a cyber security hobbyist, asking that question led me to keep tabs on a few companies, with two standing out from the crowd: a relative newcomer and an established up-and-comer.
IronNet vs Arqit
Jumping into the ring first is the new kid on the security block, IronNet. I’ve been watching this particular company for a while and thinking about investing for a few reasons.
Firstly, it’s caught the attention of both experienced investors and the powerful Reddit crowd. Combine the two and you have a solid base from which to start your investment intrigue. And that’s exactly what IronNet does: it combines the power of experienced security lifers (its CEO is a retired four-star general in the US military and former director of the US’s National Security Agency) with the egalitarian safety in numbers approach: a term the company refers to as ‘collective defiance’.
Operating, in theory, much as NATO does (as a group of defenders against threats known and unknown), IronNet uses the beauty of crowdsourcing. From its website: “Collective defense is the ability for organizations to share threat intelligence securely and in real-time, providing all members an early warning system about potential incoming attacks.”
Using a combination of behavioral analytics, a network of cyber security professionals sharing in real-time, and all the AI you could ask for, IronNet has a system that works both in theory and practicality.
But is It a Solid Investment?
As with any newly-traded stock option, the buzz is high right now around the American company (otherwise you wouldn’t be here reading this blog!), particularly with the S1-A filing and, well, a ton of movement since early September. Unfortunately, the firm’s H1 revenues are a full $2.5M below last year’s, and despite company reassurances, it’s not looking likely that a financial about-face is on the cards. But, as an early-stage growth company with good partners such as Crowdstrike and a defiance network many will be keen to join, it’s not an unsound investment.
The Bottom Line?
An IronNet short-term purchase made now may not be the steadiest investment, but longer-term investors curious about the company’s trajectory may be willing to dip a toe in the water.
Now, Let’s Talk About Arqit
While it’s only been publicly traded for a similar amount of time as IronNet, UK-based Arqit combines all the ‘firepower’ of IronNet (they even have their own retired four-star general) with a leadership team that, were James Bond real, would be the real force behind his 7 and both his 00s. We’re talking GCHQ/intelligence, aerospace, a female Lt-General, and the one-time operational head for Downing Street. With this team of no-slouches, it’s hard to make an argument for not investing in Arqit, but of course, there’s more to it than that.
Operational since 2017, the team has been carefully gathering investments, going through several seed stages and funding rounds, as well as its recent SPAC. Partners include the British and American government, high-profile VC firm Notion Capital, and AI security company Juniper Networks. Operating on the encryption side of cyber security, Arqit’s PaaS encryption considers IoT and Industry 4.0 when approaching encryption, and even protects against the future threat of quantum computers.
An additional tick in the Arqit column is its partnerships and client base: Virgin Orbit, the governments of at least seven first-world countries, BT, Verizon, qtlabs, and Honeywell. On top of that, the recent announcement of the Juniper partnership has seen a 46% surge in only five days at the end of last month.
The Investment Lines?
For my money, Arqit is the much safer bet medium-term bet and definitely worth it for longer-term investors. Arqit’s future promise seems based on a more solid infra-and-extra structure. I’ll keep an investment-keen on IronNet for now, though.
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