Welcome back to Baby Breakerdom! This week's quest to uncover budding Rule Breakers finds Adam flying high and a friendly site buying more friends.
First up this week is Adam Aircraft, which manufactures very light jets, or VLJs. What's that, you ask? A VLJ is aviation-speak for a craft that typically carries no more than 10 people and sells for as little as $1 million. (Most, however, sell for between $1 million and $2.75 million, according to aviation consultant Forecast International.)
It's a massive-growth business, too. Forecast last year pegged the 10-year market value of VLJs at $141 billion. This year, its analysts raised their estimate by 12%, to $158 billion. That's probably why Adam this week closed a $93 million late-stage funding round led by DCM-Doll Capital Management, which has made a name for itself with tech investments such as Chinese chip builder Semiconductor Manufacturing (NYSE: SMI ) .
If that seems weird, it is. But that's often how it goes with Rule Breakers; imagination plays a part. DCM general partner David Chao has plenty. He told Red Herring magazine that Adam's jets could form the basis of an air taxi service that could supplant pricey business fares for traveling executives.
That argument makes sense to me, and to competitors, including top rival Eclipse, which, like Adam, is venture-backed. Both firms hope to get their VLJs approved for use by the Federal Aviation Administration soon. Only then can orders be filled.
Meanwhile, larger jet makers are eyeing the VLJ market eagerly, including Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection Embraer (NYSE: ERJ ) , General Dynamics' (NYSE: GD ) Gulfstream unit, and Textron's (NYSE: TXT ) Cessna unit. Rebellious investors may want to join in the gawking.
Can a budding Rule Breaker make a comeback? That's the question BusinessWeek asks in covering $10 million worth of new funding for social-networking laggard Friendster.
I don't use the term "laggard" lightly. Friendster was once as hip as they come, and earned funding from legendary venture capitalist John Doerr as a result. But MySpace ultimately lapped rivals -- including Friendster -- when News Corp. (NYSE: NWS ) CEO Rupert Murdoch decided MySpace was the coolest of the digital hangouts.
Friendster has been mostly silent since. Now, BusinessWeek reports, the company plans to use capital to expand its patent portfolio, the first of which came on June 27 and relates to social networking. There's no word yet on whether Friendster will go on a fishing expedition to claim royalties from MySpace, Facebook, and others, but such an outcome seems highly likely to me. A Rule Breaker going after rule breakers, if you will.
That's all for this week. See you back here next Friday, when we continue the quest to find the next ultimate growth stock.
For more Rule Breaking Foolishness:
- Check in with last week's infants.
- Why not live like Paris Hilton?
- Find out how to make millions in tech.
High tech. Biotech. Nanotech. Any tech. David Gardner and his Foolish band of analysts cover it all forMotley Fool Rule Breakersselection and they've unearthed four multibagger stocks in less than two years as a result. Want to find who they are? Try the service free for 30 days and find out.
Embraer is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick.
Fool contributorTim Beyerslikes to chat online, but mostly you'll find him hanging with his fellow Fools. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. Get the skinny on all the stocks he owns by checking Tim's Foolprofile.The Motley Fool'sdisclosure policyis a rebel with a cause.