Apple Analyst Gene Munster Leaving Piper to Start VC Firm

Updated on
  • Senior researcher was known for man-on-the-street analysis
  • New VC fund to focus on AI, VR and AR, will publish research

Loup Ventures’ Munster Launches Seed Stage Fund

Gene Munster, a 21-year veteran analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos., is leaving the firm to co-found a venture capital firm focusing on virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

Munster was known for his accuracy in predicting Apple Inc.’s financial potential. The company’s share price is almost 50 times greater now than when he first recommended the stock in June 2004. He’s ranked 11th out of 58 Apple analysts based on performance for the past year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Munster, who also covered Alphabet Inc. and Yahoo! Inc., will create his own firm called Loup Ventures, he told Bloomberg News.

“I’m leaving Piper at the end of the month and launching Loup Ventures with Andrew Murphy & Doug Clinton in early January,” Munster said in an e-mailed statement. “It’s a research driven early stage VC based in Minneapolis and New York. The focus is virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and robotics.”

Benzinga, which first reported on Munster’s departure, said that Bob Peck, who covered technology and Internet companies at Suntrust Robinson Humphrey, is leaving to join Credit Suisse Group AG.

Munster’s analysis of Apple made him a popular figure during the company’s quarterly earnings calls. He regularly asked Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook about Apple’s plans for a television set and the company’s moves in the automotive industry. An Apple TV hasn’t materialized.

“It means he senses some bigger opportunities,” Ben Bajarin, an analyst at researcher Creative Strategies, said of Munster’s move to invest in new technologies. “It may be because of what he believes Apple is doing in those areas that causes him to get excited and thus want to invest as they develop the bigger opportunities there.”

Munster, 45, is known for taking to the streets to feed his clients’ need for reliable information. In his early days as an Apple analyst, he asked questions of fellow music listeners at the gym to better understand the iPod’s burgeoning success. For years, Munster would walk the lines of iPhone launches outside Apple stores to grasp the demand for the company’s latest smartphone iteration.

Munster said he will continue to offer insight: “We’re going to publish research on the major tech companies and startups in our themes.”

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