The Hype-Train 'Locusts' Are Buzzing Toward AI

Editor's note: Artificial intelligence is still one of the hottest topics of 2024. But according to Joel Litman – founder of our corporate affiliate Altimetry – the hype surrounding this massive trend is blinding some investors. In this article, adapted from an April issue of the free Altimetry Daily Authority e-letter, Joel explains some clues that can help you weed out the losers...

Anytime folks get overexcited about a new trend, they flood the market with money...

And then, the locusts descend. Con artists can't resist jumping in to take advantage of unsuspecting investors.

It doesn't matter what the hype-train du jour is...

We saw it with electric vehicles – like Nikola (NKLA), which staged false promotional events in 2018... including a "road test" where a truck was just pushed down a slight slope. Founder and ex-CEO Trevor Milton was sentenced to four years in prison for fraud this past December.

It happened with cryptocurrencies... as we've seen with scammers who offer "presales" on coins they never intend to release.

And now, AI looks like the next enticing field for the hype-train locusts to devour.

Alphabet's (GOOGL) AI division co-founder Demis Hassabis warned in early April that the industry is bound to attract bad actors. There's simply too much hype for it to escape unscathed.

Today, I'll delve into one of the suspected locusts in the AI space... and explain why investors should have known better than to buy in.

ReAlpha Tech (AIRE) was named one of the hottest property-technology startups of 2023...

The company claims to use "AI-focused technology" to allow retail investors to make money on short-term rental properties without owning them outright.

It didn't take long for the buzz to mount. ReAlpha went public on the Nasdaq last October. The stock skyrocketed 1,667% on its first trading day.

But by the next day, this apparent AI success story took a quick turn...

Investor confidence began to spiral, influenced by a negative report from short seller Spruce Point Capital Management.

Shares closed at $406.67 on October 23... which was reAlpha's first day as a public company. By October 24, they'd plunged 75% to $100 per share.

They fell another 50% a couple days later. Now, shares trade for about $0.90... down a shocking 99.8% in seven months.

If investors had only looked closer before jumping in, they might have noticed some glaring red flags...

For starters, the company has a history of legal issues.

ReAlpha Tech subsidiary reAlpha Asset Management ("RAM") previously submitted a request to sell securities in Massachusetts... and was denied because it failed to disclose ongoing criminal proceedings against CEO Giri Devanur.

The state also says RAM misleadingly used stock images of properties it didn't own. And it didn't reveal a conflict of interest involving a board member who was also a seller-side agent for several of RAM's acquisitions.

The reAlpha collapse isn't the first time one of Devanur's ventures has flopped, either...

His previous company, Gandhi City Research Park, liquidated after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. An investor in the project alleged he was defrauded by Devanur way back in 2010... which led to criminal proceedings that began in 2018.

AI may be the latest young market trend to take center stage... But it won't be the last time investors throw caution to the wind while chasing a fad.

And reAlpha won't be the last potential locust to take a bite out of their hard-earned cash.

Investors need to think critically about companies that claim to use AI – and how they claim to use it.

If you're having trouble understanding how AI benefits the business, there's every chance it's a marketing gimmick.

It's hard to say for sure if that's what's going on with reAlpha. But even if reAlpha's use of AI is legitimate, management has a history of failed enterprises and allegedly shady dealings.

AI hype – and hype of any kind – should never be a reason to overlook those blatant warning signs.


Joel Litman

Editor's note: Joel recently stepped forward to issue a dire warning. As he explained, U.S. lawmakers are quietly putting their money into a brand-new trend – and it's not AI or cryptocurrencies. During his sit-down conversation, he explains why their actions could have disturbing implications for your wealth before the end of this year... Click here to learn what it means for investors now.

Further Reading

The big players in the AI industry aren't the only legitimate companies that will profit from this mega-boom. If you widen your scope, you'll find plenty of overlooked sectors that stand to benefit in the long term... Learn more here.

Silver has been on a tear lately. Some folks might think the rally is ending as a result. But in reality, investors aren't excited about this opportunity yet – which means this metal will likely soar even higher in the coming months... Read more here.