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Gift Guide: TechCrunch’s Favorite Things of 2021

We made it, friends. Another year in the books. Was it the very normal year we all wanted? No. But, for many, it was at least a step in that direction. Or maybe two steps in that direction, and one step back. Yeah, it was still a weird one. No matter…



We made it, friends. Another year in the books.

Was it the very normal year we all wanted? No. But, for many, it was at least a step in that direction. Or maybe two steps in that direction, and one step back. Yeah, it was still a weird one.

No matter the year, we here at TechCrunch like to cap it off with a list of our favorite things from the last 365-or-so days. As always, “things” here is defined… very loosely. “Things” here can be books. Or podcasts. Or concepts. Or people! Or games, or songs, or… it doesn’t matter really. If it made that person’s 2021 a little brighter — and regardless of whether or not those things were new to 2021 — it can go on the list.

Why? Because we like to do it, and because people tell us they like reading it. And because it’s a fun little glimpse into the head spaces of the people who make this little piece of the Internet exist. Plus if you’re still looking for some last minute gift, maybe you’ll find some sort of inspiration. Here we go!


Greg Kumparak

Project Hail Mary

I waited a while to read this book because while I loved Andy Weir’s The Martian, his next book Artemis — while still very good! — didn’t hook me the same way. Once I finally sat down to read Project Hail Mary, I couldn’t stop.

Exploding with intrigue from page one, all I can say without spoiling anything is: a man wakes up on a spaceship without any idea how or why he’s there. As he explores the ship, he slowly re-learns who he is … and why he left Earth in the first place. Read it.

Robin Robin (Netflix Christmas short)

Image Credits: Netflix

This Christmas-y stop-motion short from the studio behind Wallace and Gromit is only a few weeks old, but it’s an instant classic. The animation is beautiful, the songs are adorable, and every little piece of it is perfectly honed. My three year old has been requesting it on a loop since it came out, and I don’t mind a bit.

The Attraction, an escape room in SF

Image Credits: Palace of Fine Arts

I’ve done so many escape rooms that they’ve started to sort of blend together in my brain. The ever growing collection of rooms at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts, however, stand alone in my mind. The production values, stagecraft, and storytelling are just on a different level. Their latest, “The Attraction“, isn’t my favorite Palace room (that’d be their Edison room) — but it’s still an absolute masterpiece. If you’ve got a clever crew that has proven themselves in other escape rooms, you have to see these ones.

Jordan Crook

NYC’s Bond Vet

Image Credits: Bond Vet

As a new puppy mom (yes, I have a pandemic pet), figuring out how to care for my little guy has both been a joy and a massive source of stress. Bond Vet has loads of locations in New York City, handles urgent care inquiries, and has people available to chat on the phone for just about any question. It comes with a nifty app for downloading my puppy’s medical records or scheduling an appointment, and they have a pharmacy in-house so anything prescribed is given to you during the appointment or can be mailed to you after a telehealth visit. Good service. Great prices. Big fan.

PlayStation 5

Image Credits: Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images via Getty Images

I got the PS5 recently and it is a vastly improved experience over the PS4. As an avid gamer, it truly is the worst when the system itself is moving slow. The PS5 is lightning quick, has amazing graphics, and games look and feel great on it. The only caveat: you probably need to expand its storage somehow if you like to flip between a bunch of different games. Still worth upgrading!

Netflix’s Formula 1: Drive to Survive / Formula 1 in general

Image Credits: Ian Cuming / Getty Images

I watch all the TV that exists in the world and the show that changed my life the most has been Formula 1: Drive to Survive. Countless articles have been written about how the Netflix Effect has made an impact on Formula 1 as a sport, so I won’t do that here. All I’ll say is that Formula 1 is an intricate, complex, fascinating sport and the best bridge to understanding it is to learn about the drivers and team principals on a more personal level, which this series does very well. Also, it’s worth saying that 2021 has been the most interesting and competitive season of Formula 1 in a long, long time and I can’t wait to see how the behind-the-scenes narrative unfolds on the next seasons of Drive to Survive.

Natasha Mascarenhas

Wired headphones

Image of white headphones hanging against a blue background.

Image Credits: Martin Barraud (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Airpods feel super 2018, and that’s not just because I got my pair that year. With the rise of audio rooms on Clubhouse and Twitter, I’ve resorted back to my old wired headphones for clearer voice quality. It’s simply icing on the cake that I never have to charge them.

Farmer’s market tomatoes

As someone who price compares everything – and walks an extra mile just to pay 50 cents less on almond milk – I’ve always been pretty neutral on splurging at farmer’s markets. Over this past year, though, my partner and I have begun ending our long runs at a San Francisco farmer’s market to indulge in farm fresh tomatoes. Unlike, say, bell peppers, fresh tomatoes taste truly different and, coming from your frugal friend, are always worth the few extra bucks. Plus, the guy who offers free samples always makes my day.


Are there some writers whose words inspire you to write more? For me that person is Helena Fitzgerald, the author of Griefbacon (aka, the only Substack I currently pay money to read). Her “long, weird essays” make me feel heard in ways I didn’t even know I craved, capturing the true definition of holidays and the importance of rooms.

Devin Coldewey


I’ve gone car-camping for years and loved it, and only recently decided to try out a bit of real backpacking. Hiking ten miles somewhere beautiful and wild with a couple good friends and everything you need on your back is unlike anything else. Plus I love to obsess over gear and I live like half a mile from REI. I’m amazed it took me this long.

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou

I came across this remarkable pianist in a list of must-listen jazz recordings. The first girl to be sent abroad from Ethiopia for her education (among other firsts for women there,) she returned only to become a prisoner of war in the ’30s and afterwards proceeded to hide her musical light under a bushel for several decades. Guèbrou’s compositions, only recently recorded, are somewhere between blues and Chopin, unique and strange but virtuosic and incredibly compelling.

Genshin Impact

Image Credits: Genshin Impact

OK OK, nerd alert. This free to play game draws a lot of fire for its gambling mechanics and anime waifus and husbandos. But I’ve passed many a very pleasant hour just rambling around its enormous map, collecting treasure, solving puzzles, and fighting monsters… because those things are fun and games are supposed to be fun. It’s been a real balm during stressful times.

Alex Wilhelm


I turn 33 next year. I actually forgot how old I was yesterday. My spouse noted that we were 31 during a conversation, but I am 32. Her birthday is 5 months after mine, which means for half the year she gets to call me old. But I forgot that I was 32. I just nodded, yes, we are 31. Anyway, naps. Naps are good for my aging body as I wake up, pour coffee into my ears, and slump to the desk. This means that my spine has become an ampersand, and my brain overcooked noodle mash. I combat both issues by taking 20 minute naps at times. This clears my head, and unfogs my eyes. Don’t tell TechCrunch though.

Grand Strategy Video Games

Image Credits: Paradox

One of the best parts of being married is that being Not Cool loses some of its sting. I can now lean fully into the more dweeby elements of my personality and not worry about it.

Enter Grand Strategy Games. Imagine a game that is insanely complex, while also being unpredictable, frustrating, and slow-moving. Sound good? Hell yeah it sounds good. I have spent more time playing Crusader Kings III in the last year than I want to admit. If we throw in a few other titles it’s even more embarrassing.

But don’t worry, I’ve got a lot back from the effort. For example, I once conquered all the Christian holy sites of the Old World, created a new Christian faith that was female-dominated instead of male-led, and then converted the world en masse to a gender-flipped history of religion. More often I get murdered by rude subjects, but hey.


Image Credits: Airheads

Playing complex video games, however, can be tiring. So you have to keep your energy up. Enter sugar. Namely condensed, artificially-flavored sugar in the form of Airheads. Anyway, I’m off to floss again.

Kirsten Korosec


Image Credits: Hero Images

Nothing has been quite as effective at removing me from my COVID slump – figuratively and literally – as yoga. It was nothing short of a savior even on days when the news cycle and the day-to-day drag of the pandemic threatened to push me over the edge.

Lofi Air Traffic Control

Image Credits: Lofi ATC

What happens when you combine communication from air traffic controllers and lo-fi tunes? The most weirdly calming music stream ever. Hardware editor Brian Heater turned me onto this and at first I laughed. But really, it’s great. You can even pick what airport to hear chat from and if you go to the settings you can determine the balance of music to communication.

Community Supported Agriculture

Image Credits: Valeriya Tikhonova (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

I spend a lot of time in front of a computer and not enough in the garden. Luckily, I support my local CSA, which means every week I am able to pick up fresh, seasonal veggies and even some fruit from local farmers. We took a break on the CSA for a bit, but I’m glad we’re back, even on the weeks that are heavy on turnips.

Rebecca Bellan

Image Credits:

Back in journalism school, I once wrote an article called ‘This is your brain on music’ that explained how music stimulates the reward centers in our brains which can help us focus. For a long time I was a regular on YouTube channels for lo-fi tunes, but then I found, which plays specially designed LYRIC-LESS music to help you focus, or relax or meditate. The company holds patents on its tech that is meant to elicit strong neural phase locking, which they say allows “populations of neurons to engage in various kinds of coordinated activity.”

Whether it’s placebo or real science, all I know is that I don’t truly start writing until I have my headphones on and this beautiful, human/AI-generated music playing in my brain.


seedlings sprouts plants

Image Credits: Witthaya Prasongsin (opens in a new window) / Getty Images under a Witthaya Prasongsin on Getty license.

I recently moved to Auckland, New Zealand, into a house that had some semblance of a garden. It was a mess, but it was also clear that someone, at some point, loved this garden.

Beneath the overgrown weeds, I found patches of parsley, arugula, fennel. Over the last several months, I’ve cleared away the weeds and set to work giving the beds some love with fresh compost that my house collects. There is something so energizing and calming about getting your hands in the dirt everyday, even if it’s just to pull some weeds out of the ground.

Amanda Silberling


Image Credits: Overdrive

As a famous cartoon aardvark once said, having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card. But Libby makes it even easier.

Libby, owned by Overdrive, is a phone app that lets you borrow ebooks and audiobooks from your local library on the go. It’s completely free. The quality of your Libby experience probably depends on how good a catalog your local library has — but even if it only has a few of the books on your wishlist, you’re still saving some cash. For times when the library’s catalog lets me down, I pay for a subscription to, an Audible competitor that supports independent bookstores rather than Jeff Bezos. Sometimes, believe it or not, I even buy physical books. But I love libraries, I love the Libby app, and I love audiobooks.

Darrell Etherington

Analogue Pocket

Image Credits: Analogue

This is the greatest game console there is, bar none. I thought I was a pretty heavy Game Boy player back in the day, but using Analogue’s new retro console to play GB, GBC and GBA cartridges I scrounge from various local retro gaming shops has been a true delight and also a revelation that there’s a lot out there that I missed during the OG Game Boy heyday that more than holds up today.

Traeger Ironwood 885 Pellet Grill

Image Credits: Traeger

I don’t remember exactly how or why I got interested in low and slow smoking and grilling, but the pandemic really kicked it up a notch in terms of how into it I am. That’s why I was thrilled to get my hands on the Traeger Ironwood 885, a pellet smoker with all the bells and whistles you could ever ask for, including remote control and monitoring via the excellent Traeger app. The Ironwood series adds seriously useful features like an insulated cooking barrel for all-weather smoking, and a built-in pellet sensor that lets you know when you need to top up for those truly all-day cooks.

Canon EOS R5 + RF 50mm F1.2 L lens

Image Credits: Canon


Canon may have gotten off to a slow start in the full-frame mirrorless world, but it’s hitting its stride with its most recent cameras. The R5, while originally released in 2020, is still an amazing camera offering fantastic ergonomics and handling, as well as amazing image quality. As a longtime Canon fan before switching over to Sony in recent years, it’s amazing to be getting that fantastic Canon color science in a camera that feels like it’s finally caught up.

Brian Heater

L’Rain – Fatigue

Image Credits: L’Rain

I can’t really overstate the degree to which music has gotten me through these past two years. And, thankfully, in spite of everything else being entirely miserable there continues to be a lot of great stuff, consistently reminding us of how much we undervalue artists as a society. L’Rain flew completely under my radar with her debut. A musician I recently interviewed namechecked Fatigue, and I was blown away.

As a piece of music, it’s wonderfully impossible to categorize, a small army of musicians creating songs that are intentionally difficult to define, peppered with found sound. It alternately soothes and subverts – music that’s challenging but not difficult. Encompassing on first listen and rewarding with subsequent spins.

(I didn’t have nearly as much time to work on this list as I’d like, so I’m going to cheat and toss in a link to a Spotify playlist I made of my favorite music of the year, including my top track from Fatigue. I hope Greg doesn’t get mad.)

Natasha Lomas

Yak Tack

Image Credits: Yak Tack

Since I discovered it back in April, Yak Tack has managed to do what few apps can: Stick around on my phone and actually get used!

As a word nerd it is indubitably my kind of app. It’s both pocket dictionary (for quick & easy look-ups) but also — and here comes the automagic! — aide memoire for making newly encountered vocab stick. It applies a system of adaptive space repetition to help hack the brain’s memory banks (in the nicest possible way). And if you fail to confirm you revisited a word on schedule it’ll email you the gentlest lil’ reminder: “Don’t forget about your words!”

Yak Tack is a passion project for its developer creator, Jeremy Thomas. He also made a purely email-based ‘no frills’ version (without the app’s light social features). So here’s a big thanks — for a great side hustle and to surviving 2021 one (new) word at a time!


Talking of survival, coping with another year of UK politics has been an increasingly perilous pastime since ~2016. But 2021 has really tested the limits of what a sane populace will accept from its ‘elected representatives’. Still, Boris Johnson’s grifting Conservative government of none-of-the-talents has had one upside: It’s been pure comedy gold (‘if you don’t laugh you’ll cry’ etc etc). All the mixed messaging, daylight grifting, dubious denials and damaging delays around Covid policy; all the rule-breaking scandals, excruciating leaked videos, perpetual internecine Tory warefare by WhatsApp Group and the cringing parade of leaked ‘it wasn’t a party’ party photos (mostly you’re just glad you weren’t there) have provided rich pickings for British satirist, Matt Green, who’s been a bright light in Twitter’s dark places this year.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring

Image Credits: Ultrahuman

For a few weeks this year I’ve been testing a “metabolic fitness” service (Ultrahuman’s ‘Cyborg’) — full review to come! — which involves the use of a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to provide real-time feedback on your blood glucose levels via an app. Many factors can affect blood sugar (diet, exercise, stress etc) and there are a lot of questions over how to best interpret this kind of data but — overall — it’s been a fascinating glimpse of where quantified health is headed and an addictive taster of biohacking. I think I’m hooked!

Anna Heim


Image Credits: Wentworth Puzzles

It all started with Wallace and Gromit: I am a huge fan, so when I heard that Aardman had partnered with a British puzzle manufacturer for a Christmas special, I knew I had to get one. Because of high demand, my puzzle arrived in early January, and it ended up shaping my 2021: I loved it so much that puzzles became my hobby all throughout the year, and hopefully for the rest of my life. It’s doing wonders for my anxiety levels, and it’s also very fun – especially jigsaws with tons of little details, like drawings by Guillermo Mordillo or Sempé, or wooden ones with cutely shaped pieces, known as whimsies.

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Family Of College Student Who Died From COVID-19 Vaccine Sues Biden Administration

Family Of College Student Who Died From COVID-19 Vaccine Sues Biden Administration

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis…



Family Of College Student Who Died From COVID-19 Vaccine Sues Biden Administration

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The family of a college student who died from heart inflammation caused by Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has sued President Joe Biden’s administration, alleging officials engaged in “willful misconduct.”

George Watts Jr. in a file image. (Courtesy of the Watts family)

U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) officials wrongly promoted COVID-19 vaccination by repeatedly claiming the available vaccines were “safe and effective,” relatives of George Watts Jr., the college student, said in the new lawsuit.

That promotion “duped millions of Americans, including Mr. Watts, into being DOD’s human subjects in its medical experiment, the largest in modern history,” the suit states.

The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act allows lawsuits against certain people if they have engaged in “willful misconduct” and if that misconduct caused death or serious injury.

COVID-19 vaccines are covered by the act due to a declaration entered during the Trump administration in 2020 after COVID-19 began circulating.

DOD’s conduct and the harm caused as alleged within the four corners of the lawsuit speaks for itself,” Ray Flores, a lawyer representing the Watts family, told The Epoch Times via email. “I have no further comment other than to say: My only duty is to advocate for my client. If the DOD conveys a settlement offer, I will see that it’s considered.”

The suit was filed in U.S. court in Washington.

The Pentagon and the Department of Justice did not respond to requests for comment.

Watts Suddenly Died

Watts was a student at Corning Community College when the school mandated COVID-19 vaccination for in-person classes in 2021. He received one Pfizer dose on Aug. 27, 2021, and a second dose approximately three weeks later.

Watts soon began experiencing a range of symptoms, including tingling in the feet, pain in the heels, numbness in the hands and fingers, blood in his sperm and urine, and sinus pressure, according to family members and health records.

Watts went to the Robert Packer Hospital emergency room on Oct. 12, 2021, due to the symptoms. X-rays showed clear lungs and a normal heart outline.

Watts was sent home with suggestions to follow up with specialists but returned to the emergency room on Oct. 19, 2021, with worsening symptoms despite a week of the antibiotic Augmentin. He was diagnosed with sinusitis and bronchitis.

While speaking to his mother at home on Oct. 27, 2021, Watts suddenly collapsed. Emergency medical personnel rushed to the home but found him unresponsive. He was rushed to the same hospital in an ambulance. He was pronounced deceased at age 24.

According to a doctor at the hospital, citing hospital records and family members, Watts had no past medical history on file that would explain his sudden death, with no known history of substance abuse or obvious signs of substance abuse. His mother described her son as a “healthy young male.”

Dr. Robert Stoppacher, a pathologist who performed an autopsy on the body, said that the death was due to “COVID-19 vaccine-related myocarditis.” The death certificate listed no other causes. A COVID-19 test returned negative. Dr. Sanjay Verma, based in California, reviewed the documents in the Watts case and said that he believed the death was caused by the COVID-19 vaccination.

Pfizer did not respond to a request for comment.

Watts Took Vaccine Under Pressure

The community college mandate included a 35-day grace period following approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were given emergency use authorization early in the pandemic. The FDA approved the Pfizer shot on Aug. 23, 2021. It was the first COVID-19 vaccine approval. But doses of the approved version of the shot, branded Comirnaty, were not available for months after the approval.

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Tyler Durden Fri, 06/02/2023 - 23:00

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US Sent Billions in Funding to China, Russia For Cat Experiments, Wuhan Lab Research: Ernst

US Sent Billions in Funding to China, Russia For Cat Experiments, Wuhan Lab Research: Ernst

Authored by Mark Tapscott via The Epoch Times…



US Sent Billions in Funding to China, Russia For Cat Experiments, Wuhan Lab Research: Ernst

Authored by Mark Tapscott via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Hundreds of millions of U.S. tax dollars went to recipients in China and Russia in recent years without being properly tracked by the federal government, including a grant that enabled a state-run Russian lab to test cats on treadmills, according to Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) speaks at a Senate Republican news conference in the U.S. Capitol on March 9, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Ernst and her staff investigators, working with auditors at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Congressional Research Service, as well as two nonprofit Washington watchdogs—Open The Books (OTB) and the White Coat Waste Project (WCWP)—discovered dozens of other grants that weren’t counted on the federal government’s internet database.

While the total value of the uncounted grants found by the Ernst team is $1.3 billion, that amount is just the tip of the iceberg, the GAO reported.

Among the newly discovered grants is $4.2 million to China’s infamous Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) “to conduct dangerous experiments on bat coronaviruses and transgenic mice,” according to a May 31 Ernst statement provided to The Epoch Times.

The $4.2 million exposed by Ernst is in addition to previously reported funding to the WIV for extensive gain-of-function research by Chinese scientists, much of it funded in whole or part prior to the COVID-19 pandemic by National Institutes for Health (NIH) grants channeled through the EcoHealth Alliance medical research nonprofit.

The NIH has awarded seven grants totaling more than $4.1 million to EcoHealth to study various aspects of SARS, MERS, and other coronavirus diseases.

Buying Chinese Puppy Parts

As part of another U.S.-funded grant, hearts and other organs from 425 dogs in China were purchased for medical research.

These countryside dogs in China are part of the farmer’s household; they were mainly used for guarding. Their diet includes boiled rice, discarded raw food animal tissues, and whatever dogs can forage. These dogs were sold for food,” an NIH study uncovered by the Ernst researchers reads.

Other previously unreported grants exposed by the Ernst team include $1.6 million to Chinese companies from the federal government’s National School Lunch Program and $4.7 million for health insurance from a Russian company that was sanctioned by the United States in 2022 as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.

“It’s gravely concerning that Washington’s reckless spending has reached the point where nobody really knows where all tax dollars are going,” Ernst separately told The Epoch Times. “But I have the receipts, and I’m shining a light on this, so bureaucrats can no longer cover up their tracks, and taxpayers can know exactly what their hard-earned dollars are funding.”

The problem is that federal officials don’t rigorously track sub-awards made by initial grant recipients, according to the Iowa Republican. Such sub-awards are covered by a multitude of federal regulations that stipulate many conditions to ensure that the tax dollars are appropriately spent.

The GAO said in an April report that “limitations in sub-award data is a government-wide issue and not unique to U.S. funding to entities in China.”

GAO is currently examining the state of federal government-wide sub-award data as part of a separate review,” the report reads.

Peter Daszak, right, the president of the EcoHealth Alliance, is seen in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 3, 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

The Eco-Health sub-awards to WIV illustrate the problem.

“Despite being required by law to make these receipts available to the public on the website, EcoHealth tried to cover its tracks by intentionally not disclosing the amounts of taxpayer money being paid to WIV, which went unnoticed for years,” Ernst said in the statement.

“I was able to determine that more than $490 million of taxpayer money was paid to organizations in China [in] the last five years. That’s ten times more than GAO’s estimate! Over $870 million was paid to entities in Russia during the same period!

Together that adds up to more than $1.3 billion paid to our adversaries. But again, these numbers still do not represent the total dollar amounts paid to institutions in China or Russia since those numbers are not tracked and the information that is being collected is incomplete.”

Adam Andrzejewski, founder and chairman of OTB, told The Epoch Times, “When following the money at the state and local level, the real corruption exists in the subcontractor payments. At the federal level, the existing system doesn’t even track many of those recipients.

“Without better reporting, agencies and appropriators don’t truly understand how tax dollars were used. We now know that taxpayer dollars are traded further downstream than originally realized with third- and fourth-tier recipients. These transactions need scrutiny. Requiring recipients to account for where and how they actually spend each dollar creates a record far better than agencies are capable of generating.”

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Tyler Durden Fri, 06/02/2023 - 19:40

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OraSure Technologies’ CFO Makes Bold Insider Purchase, Reigniting Investor Confidence

Executive Kenneth McGrath’s $500,000 buy read as promising signal about future for diagnostic test developer OraSure Technologies (NASDAQ:OSUR) saw…




Executive Kenneth McGrath’s $500,000 buy read as promising signal about future for diagnostic test developer

OraSure Technologies (NASDAQ:OSUR) saw a stock price re-rate on Thursday, climbing 11% after investors became aware of its CFO Kenneth McGrath buying shares in the diagnostic test developer.  This latest rally in OSUR stock, gives traders and investors hope that the strong momentum from the beginning of 2023 might return.

OSUR shares had mounted an impressive 54% rally for 2023 through to May 10, when the first-quarter results update spooked investors. 

The CFO’s trade was initially spotted on Fintel’s Insider Trading Tracker following the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Big Holdings Boost

In the Form 4 filing, McGrath, who assumed CFO duties in August 2022, disclosed buying 100,000 shares on May 30 in the approved trading window that was open post results.

McGrath on average paid $4.93 per share, giving the total transaction a value just shy of $500,000 and boosted his total share count ownership to 285,512 shares.

The chart below from the insider trading and analysis report for OSUR shows the share price performance and profit made from company officers in previous transactions:

OraSure Technologies

Prior to joining OraSure, McGrath had an impressive eight-year tenure at Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX), where he rose to the position of VP of Finance before departing. This is the first time that the CFO has bought stock in the company since August 2022. It is also worth noting that the purchase followed strong Q1 financial results, which exceeded Street forecasts.

Revenue Doubles

In its recently published Q1 update, OraSure Technologies told investors that it generated a whopping 129% increase in revenue to $155 million, surpassing analyst expectations of around $123 million. 

Notably, the revenue growth was driven primarily by the success of OraSure’s COVID-19 products, which accounted for $118.4 million in revenue for the quarter and grew 282% over the previous year.

The surge in revenue for this product was largely driven by the federal government’s school testing program, which led to record test volumes. However, it is important to note that demand for InteliSwab is expected to decline in Q2 2023, prompting OraSure to scale down its COVID-19 production operations. As part of its broader strategy to consolidate manufacturing, the company plans to close an overseas production facility.

While the COVID-19 products division has been instrumental in OraSure’s recent success, its core business delivered stable flat sales of $36.6 million during the quarter. 

In terms of net income, OraSure achieved an impressive result of $27.2 million, or $0.37 per share, in Q1, marking a significant improvement compared to the loss of $19.9 million, or a loss of $0.28 per share, in the same period last year. This result exceeded consensus forecasts of $0.16 per share. As of the end of the quarter, the company held $112.4 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Looking ahead to Q2, OraSure has provided revenue guidance in the range of $62 to $67 million, reflecting the lower order activity from the US government with $25 to $30 million expected sales for InteliSwab. The declining Covid related sales have been a core driver of the share price weakness in recent weeks.

While sales are likely to fall in the coming quarters, one positive for the company is its low debt balance during this period of rising cash rates. The chart below from Fintels financial metrics and ratios page for OSUR shows the cash flow performance of the business over the last five years.

OraSure Technologies

Analyst Opinions

Stephen’s analyst Jacob Johnson thinks that outside of Covid, OSUR continues to execute on several cost and partnership initiatives which he believes appears to be bearing fruit. Johnson pointed out that three partnerships were signed during the quarter.

The analyst thinks that the ex-Covid growth story will be the new focus for investors from now on. The brokerage maintained its ‘equal-weight’ recommendation and $6.50 target price on the stock, matching Fintel’s consensus target price, suggesting OSUR stock could rise a further 29% in the next 12 months. 

The post OraSure Technologies’ CFO Makes Bold Insider Purchase, Reigniting Investor Confidence appeared first on Fintel.

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