Happy New Year to all our readers, welcome to 2024 and the sixth season of the Future Trends Blog. In a similar vein to Jeff Bezos (whom we quoted in our first ever Blog post), today remains “day one.” We expect to continue uncovering new and exciting insights into the future over the coming 12 months and beyond.

Where better to begin thinking about the future than in Veldhoven? In the final days of December, your author took a train from Amsterdam down to this town of ~45,000 people in the south of the Netherlands. The reason: ASML has its headquarters located here. Headquarters perhaps does the company a disservice. ASML’s complex expands over an area that would take at least 30 minutes to walk from end to end. When surveying the plot from the 18th floor of building 8 (the tallest on the campus), several cranes could be spotted in the distance. Diggers were at work too. Land is being repurposed in the quest for constant innovation.

Innovation lies at the heart of the success story of ASML. For those unfamiliar with the business, the company makes the machines that make semiconductor chips. Put another way, the future can’t happen without ASML, in our view. Many of the other future trends on which we have written – the data deluge, the growth in artificial intelligence solutions, smart factories and more autonomous vehicles – are premised on the presence of increasingly smaller and more sophisticated semiconductor chips.

On its Veldhoven campus, ASML employs over 20,000 people. Many work in research. Last reported research and development spend at ASML was €3.5bn, or over 15% of sales (for 2022). One of the features that stood out to your author as he toured the company’s facilities was ASML’s ‘patent wall.’ It is precisely that, a floor-to-ceiling installation of the multiple patents the group has been awarded for its technological innovation over the years. When the question was put to your author’s ASML host for the day why the company had been so successful, he was told it lay in the company’s foundations. “Challenge everything” and “stay humble.” We see this as useful wisdom when considering all future trends.

4 January 2024

The above does not constitute investment advice and is the sole opinion of the author at the time of publication. Heptagon Capital is an investor in ASML. The author of this piece has no personal direct investment in the business. Past performance is no guide to future performance and the value of investments and income from them can fall as well as rise.

Photo taken by the author

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Alex Gunz, Fund Manager

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The document is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute investment advice or any recommendation to buy, or sell or otherwise transact in any investments. The document is not intended to be construed as investment research. The contents of this document are based upon sources of information which Heptagon Capital LLP believes to be reliable. However, except to the extent required by applicable law or regulations, no guarantee, warranty or representation (express or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this document or its contents and, Heptagon Capital LLP, its affiliate companies and its members, officers, employees, agents and advisors do not accept any liability or responsibility in respect of the information or any views expressed herein. Opinions expressed whether in general or in both on the performance of individual investments and in a wider economic context represent the views of the contributor at the time of preparation. Where this document provides forward-looking statements which are based on relevant reports, current opinions, expectations and projections, actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. All opinions and estimates included in the document are subject to change without notice and Heptagon Capital LLP is under no obligation to update or revise information contained in the document. Furthermore, Heptagon Capital LLP disclaims any liability for any loss, damage, costs or expenses (including direct, indirect, special and consequential) howsoever arising which any person may suffer or incur as a result of viewing or utilising any information included in this document. 

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