Are today’s tech unicorns like the 19th Century railway companies? Massive consumers of capital and ultimately transformative technologies but never in themselves particularly profitable?
In the 1840s Britain was gripped by a railway investment mania which saw 10,000km of railroads built in 1846 alone, the current network extends 18,000km.
Eventually the bubble popped after the Bank of England raised interest rates, something that should focus the minds of many of today’s investors.
The UK railway boom left a legacy of valuable infrastructure across Britain, Europe and the Americas, perhaps we’ll see a similar legacy from today’s boom.