Although the digital revolution sparked multiple innovations and conveniences over the last two decades, no good deed goes unpunished. For the connectivity space, this adage translates to the unfortunate proliferation of cyber breaches. But that’s also the reason why its initial public offering (IPO) of Darktrace was significant. Thanks to its artificial-intelligence-driven cyberthreat detection and solution platform for enterprises, Darktrace seems like a shoo-in.
Yet one major snag exists. Lead investor Mike Lynch is currently contesting U.S. extradition for multiple fraud charges. According to Reuters, he and his investment fund, Invoke Capital, own approximately 40% of Darktrace.
When Did Darktrace IPO?
Darktrace debuted on the London Stock Exchange on April 30, 2021.
It’s important to note that in 2020, Goldman Sachs declined to participate in the Darktrace IPO due to legal concerns about Lynch’s Invoke Capital.
Darktrace Financial History
For its fiscal year ended June 2018, Darktrace generated revenue of $78 million, up 95% from 2017. Also, according to data which Crunchbase.com compiled, the cybersecurity firm has accumulated $230.5 million from private funding campaigns since March 17, 2015.
Even with the Lynch drama, some investors were willing to overlook the matter to participate in the Darktrace IPO, which by its merits alone could generate substantial profitability for stakeholders. However, in February of this year, lead bookrunner UBS Group (NYSE: UBS) backed out of the process due to concerns related to non-reconcilement regarding Darktrace’s suspicious activity report.
The firm subsequently rushed a smaller IPO to the market, priced at 250 p (around $3 per share), rising as much as 44% during the debut. The firm completed its offering with a valuation of £1.7 billion.
Despite the serious concerns clouding the Darktrace IPO, this offering does have significant potential for the speculator should it still go through. Recently, the company appointed former BT Group (OTCMKTS: BTGOF) CEO Sir Peter Bonfield to its board, hoping to raise 4 billion pounds (approximately $5.6 billion) in its IPO.
Another optimistic angle is the underlying global cybersecurity market. In 2020, industry experts valued it at $153.2 billion and by 2028, the sector could hit $366.1 billion.
How to Buy Darktrace Stock
As you may know from prior lessons on how to buy stocks, taking a wager in the equities sector always involves an element of risk. In this context, not much difference exists between a blue-chip stock and a penny stock — you’re discussing magnitude and probabilities of risk but the threat of losing money of any amount is the same between the two extremes.
- Pick a brokerage.
If you’re not alarmed with the potential dangers of Darktrace stock and instead are focused on the upside possibilities, you’re probably braver than most. Regardless of your desire to buy Darktrace shares, you’ll have to pick a brokerage you want to do business with, just like everyone else.
Brokerages are necessary intermediaries, acting as the go-between for an equity-issuing company and the masses of retail investors. But these days, brokerages offer more than just a platform to buy and sell stocks. For example, many brands offer educational content and seminars. And nearly all have similar incentives, such as commission-free trading.
Largely, then, the choice of broker comes down to personal preference and anticipated growth in the market. Let’s say that you have other professional pursuits that keep you plenty busy. In this case, you may find that a mobile trading app suits your needs.
On the other hand, if you believe you’ll grow in your investing and trading journey, taking advantage of other prospects like foreign stocks or options trading, then you’ll want a platform featuring full-spectrum services.
- Decide how many shares you want.
While it’s tempting to dive into your trades once you’ve decided on a brokerage, you should think ahead of time how many shares you want. The reason? It’s similar to avoiding grocery shopping when you’re hungry — you want to trade with a clear mind free of unnecessary emotional pressures. Otherwise, you may end up spending far too much than you want to because of an undisciplined approach.
It also pays to write down your desired share count and stick with this strategy. To figure this out, simply take the dollar amount you want to spend and divide it by the market price of your target stock. Whatever is the whole number is the amount of shares you can purchase.
On a side note, some brokers allow you to purchase fractional shares. If this is an important consideration, please check with each broker whether they allow this option and under what circumstances.
- Choose your order type.
What makes stock market transactions distinct from other trades or deals is that the price of the “product” always fluctuates during normal session hours. Therefore, you must deploy specific order types to accommodate for the variance. Plus, you’ll want to know some basic market concepts described below.
Bid: The bid is the maximum price a buyer will offer for a stock. It is always lower than the ask.
Ask: The ask is the minimum price that a seller will accept. It is always higher than the bid.
Spread: At its simplest explanation, the spread is the difference between the bid and ask prices. However, it’s important for two main reasons. First, market makers absorb risk because before they distribute shares to you, the retail investor, they must hold these acquired shares momentarily on their books. The bid-ask spread represents their profitability and the reward for the aforementioned risk. Second, the spread is a de-facto indicator of market liquidity, with narrower spreads indicating high liquidity and wider spreads the opposite.
Limit order: For total control and maximum transparency over your trades, you should use a limit order, which only executes at a predetermined price. However, the drawback of this order type is that no guarantee exists that the target stock will reach said price.
Market order: For a guarantee that your order will go through during normal session hours, use a market order. This order type executes at the next available price but you won’t know exactly what this price is until the order finalizes. Also, the rate is the least favorable to you — buy orders on the ask, sells on the bid.
Stop-loss order: A protective order type for your portfolio, a stop-loss order operates under a similar principle to a market order but on the selling side. A stop-loss will execute at either a predetermined price or the next available price, whichever comes first. The risk here is a gap-down session, which is when a stock opens at a much lower price than the prior session’s close. In this scenario, it’s possible that a stop-loss order can hit you harder than you initially anticipated.
Stop-limit order: A stop-limit order is similar in principle to a stop loss but with the key distinction that it only executes at a predetermined price. This prevents any nasty surprises with your portfolio associated with gap-down sessions. However, because there’s no guarantee that the target stock will reach the limit price, you could leave this order type hanging.
- Execute your trade.
To execute your trade, let’s first discuss the simplest order type, the market order:
• Select action type (buy or sell).
• Enter the shares you wish to acquire (or sell).
• Hit the Trade button.
Limit orders follow the same steps as the market order, with the obvious difference being that you enter your limit price after your enter your share count.
Deciding which order type to use again comes down to personal preference. That said, if you need to enter or exit your position during a particularly volatile session, you may want to bite the bullet and use a market order. You will sell at unfavorable terms based on the bid-ask spread but your order will go through.
If you prefer precise control on your trades, the limit order is the only way to go. Just be sure to use realistic limit prices during volatile sessions. Otherwise, your limit order may not go through.
Best Online Brokers
Below is a list of the best brokers for your consideration.
A Daredevil of a Stock
As the world becomes increasingly digitalized, companies and institutions have far greater incentives than ever to protect themselves with cybersecurity solutions. And few have the platform and capabilities of Darktrace, on paper making it one of the top plays of 2021.
But that narrative has taken a hit due to Darktrace’s ties with founding investor Mike Lynch, who faces possible extradition to the U.S. Among the myriad of ways that Darktrace stock could turn ugly, such charges could scare investors away from the company.
Still, because of Darktrace’s remarkable capabilities and high-profile partners, it’s possible that your investment will pan out. Just be aware that this thesis can go wrong.
About Joshua Enomoto
His distinct writing style of distilling convoluted data into relatable and compelling narratives has earned him recognition among several investment-related publications.