Facebook has potential as an e-commerce platform


Author: Barry Randall, Crabtree Asset Management

Covestor model: Crabtree Technology

Covestor money manager Barry Randall, chief investment officer at Crabtree Asset Management LLC, weighed in on the debate among analysts about the prospects for social network site Facebook ahead of its initial public offering.

Randall told msnnbc.com that while Facebook’s growth has slowed, its long-range potential as a platform for e-commerce and other services is robust.

“Growth is decelerating, but it’s decelerating from enormous down to large,” Randall said, responding to a question about Facebook’s recent decline in quarterly profits. “Its major problem now is managing people’s expectations.”

However, Facebook’s 900 million-plus user base is an asset that has yet to be fully realized, according to Randall. It is already a platform for apps and networks like BranchOut, he says.

“They’ll monetize it by allowing smaller companies to build businesses on top of their database and eventually charge them for doing so,” Randall predicts, adding the site has a promising business in the sale of virtual goods and may be able to sell physical goods down the road.

Facebook’s shares are set to begin trading under the symbol FB on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Author profile

Barry Randall
Barry Randall
Crabtree Asset Management invests in growing technology companies. Barry Randall is the firm's founder and chief investment officer. He has more than 20 years of professional investing experience.

Barry spent five years as a technology stock analyst and 10 more years managing mutual funds that focused on small-cap and technology stocks. He has experience managing mutual funds and separately managed accounts as large as $650 million. Prior to earning his MBA in 1993, he spent six years as a professional computer programmer.

Barry earned a Wall Street Journal 'Category King' award for his co-management of a small cap mutual fund in 2006.

As of December 2016, Morningstar rated the Crabtree Multi-Cap Technology composite, of which the strategy offered at Covestor is a component, as having four stars (out of five) for its overall and trailing 5-year performance.

Barry has been quoted regularly in Forbes, US News & World Report, TheStreet.com and E-Commerce Times. He has appeared on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and Fox Business News.

Crabtree Asset Management LLC was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Saint Paul, Minnesota.