Why Are Companies That Lose Money Still So Successful?


In a well-functioning capital market, profits should be the sole criterion for firm survival; that is, firms reporting losses should disappear. Of late, however, loss-making firms are highly sought after by investors — often more than some profitable firms. Unicorns, or startups with valuations exceeding a billion dollars, are examples of such loss-making firms. What has changed over time? When and why did losses lose their meaning? The authors’ series of new research papers provide some answers, guiding managers to make the right investments: those that produce delayed but real profits — not just those that produce short-term accounting profits but decimate shareholder wealth in long run.



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