Market Overview

An Introduction to the 2021 Market Overview

March 10, 2021

Imagine yourself in Greece sometime around 550 BC. You find yourself seated by a fire wishing instead you could sit inside where it has to be warmer. Unfortunately, Faraday’s electric motor is centuries away from invention, and so you sit, inching closer to the flames. A man everyone calls Aesop is telling stories that have the audience captivated. You make a mental note that someone should be writing down these tales, perhaps even forming them into a collection called “Aesop’s Fables,” a catchy title that will surely sell well once the printing press is invented.

Your ears perk up when Aesop begins telling a story about two mice. One lives a simple, contented life in the country; yet, on some level, he envies his cousin’s glamorous lifestyle in the city. But Aesop’s stories always have a twist, and this one involved a cat that was hunting the city mouse, making life scary and forcing him to enjoy his fine things in constant fear. The country mouse decides he’d rather live his quieter, simple lifestyle in peace.

By the time Michael Faraday hears this fable lifetimes later, the story has evolved to be more about two distinct lifestyles, two vastly different realities. Shouldn’t all of our ears perk up at that description? Doesn’t it remind all of us of the investment environment in 2020? Of the bifurcated realities caused by the events of the past year? And, don’t we know in our hearts that this theme will continue to be an overarching narrative throughout 2021? It’s a tale of two different backdrops, a tale — to borrow a line from yet another author — of the best of times and the worst of times.

Ah, you seem skeptical. Consider, then, what you wished you owned over the last year. Was it a downtown office building or a data warehouse space? A healthcare company or a cruise ship company? Think hard about what you want to own in 2021 and beyond and at what price.

Keep those musings in mind as you sit back and hear from a modern day Aesop, your humble friends at Hamilton Lane, as we share with you the story of what transpired in the private markets in 2020 and what is likely to happen in 2021. We spin a good yarn and, like our friend Aesop, leave you with a lot to consider.

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