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Michael Byrne

Occupation

Sales associate

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The portfolio

Primary holdings include Shopify Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., AT&T Inc., General Electric Co. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

The investor

Mr. Byrne started investing around the time of the 2008 financial crisis. "I really had no idea what I was doing and got burned a few times," he remembers. "But I loved the process and kept at it."

How he invests

Mr. Byrne is intrigued with investing in underappreciated companies, particularly those that have good growth prospects. When expectations are low, "you often get some nice gains on even minor good news," he declares.

One of his largest positions is Shopify, a provider of cloud-based commerce platforms for small and medium-sized businesses. It is Mr. Byrne's most successful investment to date and he plans on holding it for years to come.

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"Obviously, e-commerce and online shopping is a huge secular trend and I was looking for a way to get exposure to that but felt Amazon had already had a huge run," Mr. Byrne says. "I was looking for something different."

He found it in Shopify. Its revenue increased 90 per cent in 2016 and Mr. Byrne sees strong growth continuing in years ahead as more merchants sign up to use its platform and as recent partnerships with Facebook Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and others bear fruit (the collaborations let Shopify clients sell products on their websites).

Mr. Byrne likes how Shopify's stock "keeps surging even without a lot of the media coverage that high-flying tech stocks like this would usually garner." He expects a fresh wave of interest in the company when it "catches the eyes of people like the hosts on CNBC."

Best move

"My best investment move of all time was investing in Shopify when it was in the high $20s and sticking with it through a few early declines," Mr. Byrne reports. The price is now above $70 (on the U.S. stock market).

Worst move

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"Investing in a 'hot' new company in China that later was exposed as a fraud and went to zero."

Advice

"I would tell other investors, especially younger ones, to jump in and just get started," he advises. "Get started early while time is on your side and you have many years of compounding gains ahead of you."

Want to be in Me and My Money? Contact Larry MacDonald at mccolumn@yahoo.com

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