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Space ace

Why buying a few shares in the Fast Growth 50 Conference keynote speaker's company could help defray your ticket costs - and then some

When he was younger, Max Fawcett wanted to make a mint in the markets. Now as the managing editor of Alberta Venture he gets to write about them. Close enough, right? He can be reached at mfawcett@albertaventure.com

Jan 30, 2014

by Max Fawcett

On February 20, Scott Larson, the founder and CEO of Vancouver-based tech company UrtheCast, will headline the Fast Growth 50 Conference in Edmonton. The conference’s theme is big, bold and audacious ideas, and Larson is a perfect fit as the keynote speaker – his company, after all, put high-definition cameras on the International Space Station. That is, quite literally, a moon shot – although it’s safe to assume that UrtheCast’s cameras will spend the majority of their time zeroed in on Earth.

But in addition to buying a ticket to hear him speak – and you should – you might want to scoop up a few of his company’s shares. UrtheCast, which was founded in 2010, went public last year, and analysts are waking up to its potential. In an October post, Cantech News Letter founder Nick Waddell wrote about the company’s upside, as seen through the eyes of Clarus Securities tech analyst Eyal Ofir. “Ofir says that once these best-in-class cameras are installed and imagery data begins to stream back to earth, he believes investors will wake up to the potential of the company and the myriad of end markets it can serve. The Clarus analyst says his scenario analysis would take his target price to $4.65 per share under a $75 million revenue scenario and up to $7.65 per share under a $125 million revenue scenario.”

Well, guess what? Those cameras were just successfully installed on the ISS – and the company’s shares might be about to take off. As Ofir noted in a Globe and Mail yesterday, “the market is nowhere near saturated. It can create new commercial demand that wasn’t there before, for example, in the media sector.” He bumped his target up to $5, while Cormark Securities has it at $6. As for a potential endgame for the company? Well, a takeover by Google (the company that openly touts its fondness for moonshots) would certainly seem to make sense. Google Space, anyone?

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