With Wireless Electricity, Is Energous the Next Big Thing?

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In this day and age, everyone is moving to cut the cords and go wireless. The problem is that we all still have to charge our wireless devices. This is one of the most widely discussed problems facing the Apple Watch and other smaller wireless devices that need routine charging. Energous Corp. (NASDAQ: WATT) is looking to make the next big step and cut the cord by charging devices wirelessly. But what does this mean for their business, and can they actually do it? A key analyst research report from Oppenheimer has addressed just how possible this may be.

Oppenheimer’s report from Thursday initiated coverage with an Outperform rating and a price target of $13, based on a probability-scenario analysis. The firm also believes that in terms of a broader adoption, consumers will want true wireless freedom (i.e., the ability to charge from long distances).

Energous is a development stage technology company engaged in developing wireless charging solutions. Formerly known as DvineWave, the company changed its name to Energous in January 2014. In short, the company has no real revenues — and there are effectively no other analyst revenue models we have been able to see.

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Andrew Uerkwitz and Martin Yang, the Oppenheimer analysts who made the call, wrote that the company plans to disrupt the wireless charging space with its RF-based, uncoupled, WattUp technology, which has the ability to charge devices within a 15 foot radius. The potential market size is massive, considering that nearly any device that has a battery or small corded appliance could be targeted. The analysts noted that the long distance capability outweighs the risks associated with most start-ups and the need for FCC approval.

In terms of its competition, close coupled wireless charging solutions for smartphones have existed since 2009. Still, they remain widely unknown or underutilized. Think about this: wireless charging did not save Palm from imploding. Oppenheimer attributes this sluggish adoption to the lack of utility, a barrier that Energous’s WattUp technology is expected to overcome.

The firm also expects Energous to be a first mover, as it forecasts that other competitors developing RF-based wireless charging solutions are at least a step behind Energous. As a result, Oppenheimer does not expect to see any consumer-ready products from uncoupled competition in the near term.

Thursday’s research report indicates that actual revenue is on the way for Energous. Uerkwitz and Yang noted that licensing revenue is expected to be booked this year, while commercial products are expected in 2016.

A long story short, Oppenheimer sees Energous as an attractive investment for risk-tolerant investors due to market opportunity and its differentiated technology.

The only other known firm we have seen make any analyst call on it was Roth Capital Partners back in December. That firm issued a Buy rating and a $15 target. The prior close was $7.99, lower than the $9.24 prior close before Oppenheimer’s more recent call.

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Shares of Energous were up almost 5% at $9.70 late on Thursday morning, and they were as high as $10.15 earlier in the same trading session. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $7.11 to $16.44.

24/7 Wall St. has to make one reminder here. Speculative technologies often sound great, and sometimes they turn out to be home runs for speculative investors willing to take a shot. The flip side is that the companies looking to pioneer those technologies often do not ultimately survive.