If the recent stock market rout has taught us anything, its that diversification is key. Fintech startup Rally Rd., is banking on that, enabling anyone to invest in luxury cars as an alternative asset class.
The New York-based startup is joining a growing number of financial technology companies that are democratizing alternative investing, providing access to everything from high-end cars to commercial real estate deals. With uncertainty looming large in traditional investment markets, investors are looking for an alternative. Couple that with millennials love of technology and digital assets and it’s no surprise the marketplace is garnering a lot of attention.
“We’re seeing interest now with potential volatility in the traditional equity markets and less expectations of great returns,” said Christopher Bruno, Co-Founder, and CEO of Rally Rd. “What tends to happen when returns can be found elsewhere, people gravitate there.”
Aiming to capitalize on that interest, the New York-based fintech, which raised $7 million in a Series A round of funding led by Upfront Ventures, just opened a showroom in New York City where anyone can walk in and invest in the car on display. To date the startup has raised $12 million in funding. The first offering is a 1980 Lamborghini Countach that is priced at $127 a share. Rally Rd. plans to use the space as a place to purchase shares and learn more about the asset. The aim is to regularly showcase a different car and open additional retail locations. “The space below our company headquarters is testing ground and then we hope to build out the model as a way to increase the brand and knowledge of the assets on the platform,” said Bruno.
Rally Rd.’s approach to offering alternative asset classes to the masses differs from some of its rivals in that investors buy shares of the asset, in this case, a luxury car, and can trade those shares just like a security. Done all via a mobile app, investors can purchase a share for as little as $8.25 and have opportunities to exit or add to the position. The offering price depends on the vehicle similar to how the IPO process works. “Everything you invest in at Rally Rd. you can trade on a regular basis,” said Bruno. “It’s not a matter of you invest today and wait five years to get your investment and plus something back.”
The company, which is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, purchases collectible cars and the runs what in essence is an initial public offering. Investors buy shares and once it’s on the platform, Rally Rd. opens auction windows on a regular basis for investors to trade those shares. The offerings max out at between 2,000 and 5,000 shares. The cars stay on the platform for varying amounts of time. Bruno said a Mustang may stay on the platform for six months while a 1995 Porsche Speedster may be viewed as a blue-chip asset and hang around for longer. The executive said supply and demand ultimately determine the longevity of a vehicle on the platform. “The process is very much dictated by the user base and investors in that asset. We’re tracking the temperature if it’s a good time to sell.”
Rally Rd. is going after the retail investor with its mobile app, charging nothing in the way of fees and enabling anyone with $10 to invest. Bruno said the average account balance for its customers is $1,000 with most customers invested in three deals at any given time. Rally Rd. makes sure to issue enough shares so that every offering is accessible. “If you want to buy one share it allows you to do that,” he said. It currently has close to 100,000 customers who have traded about $4 million on the platform. The average age of its investor is 27.
Selling shares of high-end cars may not appeal to the masses or garner a lot of attention from the big investment firms. But if the meteoric rise of other fintechs such as Robinhood is any evidence Rally Rd. could be on to something. Bruno said the company plans to expand into other categories such as luxury watches, wine and whiskey, and memorabilia. “The younger group has an understanding of digital securities,” said Bruno. “These individuals are investing on Coinbase or Robinhood and now have the opportunity to build out a new portion of their portfolio.”
9-year-old genius to graduate university
(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.
Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.
Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.
He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.
His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.
“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.
Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.
While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.
But Lydia has her own theory.
“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.
The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.
“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.
“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”
Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.
“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”
Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”
His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.
“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.
“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”
While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.
“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”
Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.
However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.
In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.
Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.
New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne
Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem
Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.
The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.
Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.
🚨WANTED for ASSAULT: on 11/6 at approx 3:43 PM in front of 128 West 112th St in Manhattan, a 32 yr old male was walking with his 8 yr old son when a white BMW jumped the curb & hit the father & son. The driver then got out and slashed the father. Call @NYPDTips with any info. pic.twitter.com/cwd79rcM4c
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) November 15, 2019
Father and son were both knocked through a gate.
The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.
One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.
McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.
McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.
Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.
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