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InvestorPlace’s Best AND Worst Stock Picks of 2013

Amazon, Yelp among some of our experts' biggest flops

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Tom Taulli

Editor, IPO Playbook

There was little to be disappointed about in 2013 — the market was so good, it was actually difficult to make lousy stock picks. But I still managed.

Perhaps the most cringe-worthy one was my bearishness on Yelp (YELP), which is up more than 240% for the year.

I looked at some of my analysis on the company — and a big worry I had was the competition. Google (GOOG) was continuing to invest in the space, plus there were other tough players such as Angie’s List (ANGI).

But I also was concerned about Facebook (FB), which launched its Graph Search earlier in the year. The idea was that it would lead to lucrative opportunities in the online/mobile local market. FB also would be able to leverage its massive scale and user data.

Of course, Graph Search has been fairly quiet, and overall, Yelp has illustrated the broader lesson that while competition is always a factor to be considered, it can be dealt with. In Yelp’s case, the company had the advantage of a laser-focus on its market, which allowed the company to capitalize on the huge opportunities with mobile.

One of my best wins of the year was Textura (TXTR). While the S-1 itself was pretty revealing, I also got a chance to talk to the company’s CEO, who has a solid vision for the company.

In just a matter of a few years, he built a cloud-based system for developers, contractors and subcontractors that featured construction payment management, electronic signatures, processing of legal documents, review and routing of project submittals, estimates, bidding and risk assessment.

I liked Textura because the construction industry is massive — with global revenues of more than $7 trillion — but also has seen little innovation. In short, it was a big opportunity to build a brand, snag top customers and rapidly generate strong revenues, and Textura has the edge with its aggressive patent strategy.

Since coming public in early June, TXTR stock has surged 163%.

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook. He is also the author of High-Profit IPO StrategiesAll About Commodities and All About Short Selling. Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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