For years, making alternative investments was a pastime enjoyed exclusively by the extremely wealthy. Millionaires and billionaires would buy shares of things like classic cars or rare baseball cards in the hopes that it would appreciate in value over time.
NYC-based Rally wants to change that, allowing average people to own a piece of everything — from an original copy of the Declaration of Independence, to a $350,000 lunar meteorite — for as little as $1 a share. Now, with $30 million of fresh funding in its coffers, the startup can expand into new asset categories.
The Series B was led by Accel, with participation from existing investors Upfront Ventures and Social Leverage. Rally has also secured a $50 million debt facility from Upper90 Capital. This new funding brings Rally’s total equity raised to about $50 million, capping off a year of rather substantial growth.
Since launching with collector cars in 2017, Rally says it has become the largest player in the alternative investment space, with more than 300 assets either available to trade or coming soon to its marketplace. These assets include sports memorabilia, natural history artifacts (like dinosaur bones) and rare books.
“If it’s a rare asset for which people have a passion, they should be able to own a piece of it and participate in its appreciation” CEO George Leimer said in a statement. “We’re unlocking value for asset owners and providing new access to rate items for passionate fans from all walks of life.”
This model appears to be doing well so far. The company doubled its assets under management in just the last six months, and in the past year Rally’s categories grew from five to 15. The company also says it had more investors participate on its site last quarter than in all of 2020 combined, amounting to a 575 percent increase as compared to the same quarter the year before.
Ryan Sweeney, a partner at Accel, describes Rally as a “true pioneer.”
“The company has created and scaled an entire industry, unlocking a market for retail investors to access blue-chip collectibles, regardless of socioeconomic status,” Sweeney said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to support Rally as they drive toward their goal of making everything in the world a tradable asset.”
Indeed, Rally says it plans to use this fresh funding to expand into several new categories, including intellectual property, royalties and real estate, with the goal of becoming the “more complete platform for investing in and trading alternative assets.” It will also use the money to grow its team, with an emphasis on roles related to technology, digital content creation and compliance.
Plus, Rally says it will re-open its flagship “museum” here in NYC soon. The retail space lets people see the company’s collection of collectibles and buy shares in items in person. The company plans to open up to 10 additional locations and retail spaces throughout the U.S. in the coming months.