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This start-up is making it a lot easier to own a Ferrari — or, at least, a part of one.
The collector car market has historically only been accessible to a wealthy few. Rally Rd. is aiming to democratize classic car collecting by turning premium vehicles — like a $165,000 vintage Ferrari Testarossa or a $425,000 Porsche Speedster — into stock.
"Each investment on Rally Rd. is essentially a mini public company," says Christopher Bruno, the start-up's co-founder and CEO. "Our investors are able to create a custom, diversified portfolio of equity interest in blue-chip collector cars, share by share."
After Rally Rd.'s team of experts identifies an investment opportunity, the company acquires the car and securitizes it, turning it into equity shares. Price per share is determined by the value of the car divided by 2,000. Investors are then able to purchase stock in the vehicle for as low as $50 a share. Rally Rd. does not charge any commissions or management fees, and the entire process is completed on a smartphone, through the company's mobile app.
The cars on Rally Rd. are always for sale. The start-up decides when to sell a car with the help of input from an expert advisory board, as well as investor sentiment, determined by data collected on the app. After a car is sold, the proceeds get paid to its shareholders. If investors want to exit before an asset is liquidated, they can trade their shares on a secondary market during monthly trading windows.
Bruno says the app launched over Thanksgiving weekend to a waitlist of nearly 20,000 people, many of whom are millennials.
"They're investing earlier. They want to see diversification. They're comfortable investing online," says Bruno. "They seem to really fit our model very well. They get it immediately."
Rally Rd.'s SEC-regulated securities are currently for sale through a registered broker-dealer who is licensed in 32 U.S. states. Bruno tells CNBC the company is hoping to expand that number soon.
"We're applying for the rest of them," says Bruno. "As the community of investors builds we'll get there very quickly."
Headquartered in New York City, Rally Rd. was founded in June 2016 and has raised $2.6 million in funding so far.
The start-up makes money as the underwriter of each initial transaction, in the same way an investment bank makes money when it takes a company public. Rally Rd. is exploring additional revenue streams, including subscription services that sell premium products and experiences to investors on the platform.
"Merchandise and experiences all built around people enjoying the cars and the collection are ways that we help to make money for us — but also that can drive dividends for the investors in the actual cars," says Bruno.
Classic cars have increased in value by 457 percent in the past 10 years, according to the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index. Rally Rd. is betting that number will continue to rise.
"The last 10 years have been very, very good for the asset class," says Bruno. "Hopefully there's a lot more room to go."
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