New York-based Rally, which has built a platform for owners to list rare collectibles, and for others to take investments in them starting at $1, has raised $17 million in an investment of its own, on the back of reaching 200,000 users investing in some 120 “IPOs”, equivalent to more than $15 million worth of assets, according to the startup.
Alongside the investment, Rally also announced a new leader. George Leimer, who has previously worked at Disney/ESPN, Apple & eBay, George is taking on the role of CEO. Christopher Bruno, founding CEO, will take on a new role as president.
Rally got it’s start in 2017 with a focus on class cars, it’s full name is Rally Rd.
Since then it has expanded beyond that to a wider set of categories including wine, sports memorabilia, comic books, watches and many more, with the average investment per user hovering at about $300 per offering.
Co-founder and chief product officer Rob Petrozzo said in an interview that the new funding round will be used in part to invest further in technology and growing the business, and in part to bring in a wider set of collectibles categories into the mix, in particular through partnerships with other companies which he would not disclose, but you could imagine how Rally might work as an interesting complement to those who specialize in sales of collectibles. Using Rally as an alternative to outright big-ticket sales to meet customer interest in cases when those customers might not want to sink thousands or millions of dollars into a single item, but as they would with other kinds of investments spread their smaller amount of money across a wider number of assets.
Rally’s investment is coming from an interesting group of backers, both strategic and financial. They include Porsche Ventures, the Raptor Group (founded by Jim Pallotta, the investor who has owned a number of sports teams), Japanese firm Global Brain and Alexis Ohanian.
“The round was actually closed this summer”, Petrozzo said. Of the investors, Porsche has an obvious car connection, and was specifically interested in the company because of it’s connection to younger users, who are less likely to ever be able to buy classic cars, and might never, given changing tastes and consumer behavior.
“We want to have a front-row seat in the alternative investment space, and Rally is the perfect partner, as the average investor on Rally is just 27 years old, we will be able to increase our engagement with younger target groups. We will continue to learn about digital communities and explore business opportunities in FinTech,” said Stephan Baral, Head of Porsche Ventures US, in a statement.
But the other backers are also key, added Petrozzo. “It’s about bringing in a group of investors connected to sports teams and investing in them, and Alexis of course who knows how to build a community,” he concluded.