So, we did a thing (a very BIG thing). We got acquired by the perfect partner to continue a mission that started wayyy back in 2012.
👉 TechCrunch wrote a nice story about it here.
A little backstory: since launching, Technori has always been about leveling the playing field — initially for founders by providing a stage to fundraise from, and eventually for investors themselves by featuring investment opportunities in a weekly newsletter (cough* you’re reading it now) and podcast.
Over the years, founders featured on Technori have raised billions of dollars in venture capital, and retail investors have invested more than $50M via equity crowdfunding platforms like Republic.
My vision has always been to evolve Technori from a media platform featuring investments into a fund itself. And, now we get to do just that… Enter KingsCrowd.
KingsCrowd is a comprehensive data platform featuring a proprietary ratings algo which it uses to assess deals it invests in through the first-ever quant fund for alternative investments (startups, real estate, collectibles… anything fractional and online).
With Technori, they add media to the mix and literally become the only place to learn how to invest like a VC and access deal flow and eventually “1-click diversification” by investing in the funds!
What changes? Literally nothing. Just better data, more pitch reviews and a fund.
What else? You can invest in this deal right along side of me!
Every week I breakdown startup pitches with the added hook that you can invest whether you’re accredited or not (if you don't know what that means, click here).
I base my review on a 3-minute founder pitch and some light diligence.
My scoring system is not a validation of idea, or grading for likelihood of success. It just means, all things being equal at launch — this startup has these boxes checked.
What I look for:
Price — how good are the deal terms relative to the market
Market — how big is the total addressable market
Team — ability to lead, recruit talent and sell the vision
Differentiators — do they have a competitive edge
Performance — do they have meaningful early traction
KingsCrowd is a financial data platform for the online private market.
Key People: Chris Lustrino (CEO & Founder), Brian Belley (VP of Product, Founder of CrowdWise), Howard Schneider (CTO and formerly Dow Jones), Ahmad Takatkah (CIO, former Senior Data Scientist at Carta), John Fanning (founding Chairman & CEO of Napster and founder of NetCapital) and Scott Kitun (co-founder of Technori and Songfinch)
Brief: I've been a long-time admirer of what KingsCrowd is building and saw this as my opportunity to get a solid stake in that business by leveraging Technori. In doing so, Technori by KingsCrowd can become the "Morningstar" of online private markets [equity crowdfunding/fractional investing in startups, pre-IPO, real estate, crypto, collectibles… anything open to retail and accredited investors online] with a revenue model based on paid media and data subscriptions and a series of quant-driven funds.
Terms & Takeaway
Invest in KingsCrowd here 👉 Term Sheet
Security Type: Reg A+
Series A: Equity
Fundraise Goal: $15,000,000
Minimum Investment: $1,000.00
Here's what I like: It goes without saying, I wouldn’t leverage nearly a decade of my life’s work unless I was all-in on the potential. I think KingsCrowd is a game-changer in the fastest growing fintech market of our generation ($30B in 2020, projecting $10T by 2030). And, the biggest gap I’ve seen since getting involved in online and alternative investing is the ridiculous lack of information available on the deals. Additionally, startups are not like public companies where there’s a clear history and/or comparable value. By providing retail investors with VC-level diligence and data-driven analysis that helps you source deals based on value, team and TAM — KingsCrowd solves for both.
That’s before the index funds. The funds can eventually be a major part of the company’s profit model. In the meantime, KingsCrowd’s first fund is a great equalizer because it undercuts traditional VC models by charging only a 1% management fee and 10% carry — and it serves to validate the quality of data by having a stake in the game.
In short, KingsCrowd eats its own dog food.
Here's what I don't love: While there are currently no direct competitors, if the market grows as projected there will be many, and some of those will likely be very well-funded. It’s also not unimaginable that firms like Fidelity and TD will eventually throw their hat in the ring too (which could also make for a great exit opportunity for KingsCrowd). The other elephant in the room is whether or not retail interest in online investing is a Covid phenomenon — which personally, I do not believe.
Lastly, I do think the price is a little high at $45M. The IP, potential fund ROI and more than 500,000 subs is impressive, but I still would have liked to see the deal offered closer to $35M. That said, between its Republic campaign and offline, they’ve already raised more than half of the $15M goal at this price so… while I would like it lower, the market suggests otherwise 🤷♂️.
Who should invest and why: In the early days of fractional investing (where deals were mostly obscure) my VC friends ripped me to shreds for investing in Republic; now valued at over $1B, they’re all piling into public funding platforms. That’s no reason to invest here, but I do think ‘follow the money’ isn’t a necessarily bad strategy.
As for the deal itself, the minimum is $1,000 which regrettably may price some folks out — but I think given the upside and if you already invest in Reg CF deals, you’re basically backing a tool that could very well earn you better returns.
Last but not least, I absolutely love being able to offer the ability to invest in the future of Technori because its what this has always been about (if you read my first post) — bringing deals that typically happen privately to the masses!
As always, startup investing is super high-risk, anything can happen.
Invest in KingsCrowd here 👉 Term Sheet
Questions, DM me 🤳 @kitun.