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Indiegogo founder's new startup aims to be a 'Zillow or Kayak' for alternative investments like art and crypto

·4 min read

Slava Rubin, who stepped down as CEO of Indiegogo in 2016 but remains a board member, announced on Tuesday the launch of his new startup Vincent and a $2 million seed round.

Vincent is an aggregator for alternative investment opportunities, mostly fractional ownership. On the site, casual investors can put their money into art, cars, sneakers, trading cards, real estate, farm land, wine, cryptocurrency projects, and even in-progress movies. The concept is a natural next step for the cofounder of one of the world’s largest crowdfunding sites.

Of course, there are already popular sneaker marketplaces, like StockX and GOAT. There are already marketplaces for fractional investing in baseball cards and other sports collectibles, like Rally Rd and Otis.

But Vincent wants to be the marketplace of marketplaces.

“There’s not one place where you can look at all the options and discover and diligence those options,” Rubin tells Yahoo Finance. “It’s kind of like a Zillow or Kayak, an aggregator across all alternative investment options.”

Read more: ‘Shocking’: Why baseball cards and memorabilia are booming amid the pandemic

In the era of the Robinhood trader, and with bitcoin soaring, Rubin sees a clear opportunity to array a platter of investments in front of young wealthy people looking beyond the stock market.

“You see bitcoin at an all-time-high, gold very high, sports trading cards selling at an all-time-high,” Rubin says. “All these private markets are very hot right now, and they’re very fragmented and opaque, and I think this coming decade we’re going to see a lot more transparency for alternatives, kind of what’s happened with Robinhood for public equities.”

Rubin’s cofounders in Vincent are Indiegogo alum Evan Cohen; tech investor Eric Cantor, who spent time at crypto incubator Consensys; and Ross Cohen, former head of engineering at Mirror, the fitness product that Lululemon acquired. Investors in the $2 million seed round include Uncommon Denominator, The Fund, Rubin’s own venture fund Humbition, and angel investors like former Google HR chief Lazslo Bock.

Art investing opportunities aggregated on Vincent. (withvincent.com)
Art investing opportunities aggregated on Vincent. (withvincent.com)

Scroll through the offerings on Vincent and the opportunities range from the swanky ($20 shares in a 1982 Basquiat painting through art investing site Masterworks) to the sporty ($10 shares in a set of five rare pairs of Nike Air Max kicks through culture investing site Otis) to glorified ads (like for bitcoin exchange Coinbase and gold exchange Vaulted).

As you notice the sheer volume of other sites that exist for investing in these assets, you start to think Vincent is entering an already-crowded space. But Rubin says the use case for Vincent is far broader than for specialized sites. “If you know perfectly you want this exact asset, then people might go to that site,” he says. “But people have disposable income, money they want to invest, and they just don’t know where they want to invest it.”

Vincent soft-launched in July and says it has seen more than 100,000 searches by 15,000 individual investors. In the past two months alone, the site has seen an 80% increase in searches for crypto opportunities—crypto represents just 10% of the deals currently on Vincent, but that search interest certainly mirrors the recent price surge. (Rubin has some personal experience with fledgling crypto projects: in 2017, Indiegogo opened its platform to token sales through a partnership with MicroVentures, but the first one it listed, a fantasy football concept that raised $5.2 million, later returned the money.)

Read more: Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak’s crypto token takes off—but you can’t buy it in the U.S.

Rubin is also pushing a democratization of finance angle with Vincent: the site does not require investors to be accredited ($200,000 in annual income or a net worth of $1 million), though it does have separate opportunities for accredited investors.

“The wealthy, and the massive institutions, have had access to these alternative investments for a long time, and they’ve done it behind closed doors, in very opaque ways,” Rubin says. “The retail investor might not have as much access—or has access, and wants to compare.”

Daniel Roberts is an editor-at-large at Yahoo Finance and closely covers tech. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.

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