I’m Stefan, and I’m the CEO and co-founder of Alts.co. The company started as a pandemic project. I had been in lockdown for a long time here in Australia, and I needed something to keep me occupied on weekends. So I started writing about a world I know a lot about, which is alternative investing.
At the time, I was head of product at Flipper, which is a marketplace for buying and selling micro private equity. The thing about that business is that there are a lot of good deals, but there's also a lot of stuff to avoid. So I basically created a due diligence program to understand which businesses are fairly valued and unfairly valued where I didn't have to scrape deals.
I’d been writing this newsletter for a few months and wanted to expand the lens of what I was creating, since I was seeing this groundswell of interest in new asset classes. I came across Wyatt Cavalier’s newsletter, which covered similar topics and was coming at it from an angle I thought was really interesting. Wyatt lives in Spain and we’d never met, but I thought, why don’t we join forces and build something together? So I brought the idea to him and he was like, let’s do it. We actually met in person for the first time just recently, after working on Alts.co together for about 18 months. We come from very different backgrounds, so we balance each other out well.
In investing, there is kind of an old school and a new school. The old school stuff includes private equity, private real estate, debt financing, structured credit products, corporate debt, hedge funds, venture capital, etc. We don't focus on any of that. We focus on alternatives like artwork, websites, litigation finance, music rights, farmland, and lots more – investments that are a little bit more eclectic.
Markets around the world are all basically following the same squiggly line. Crypto, for instance, used to be alternative, but now that it’s mainstream it’s following the same line as the S&P or the NASDAQ. So what happens when the market crashes? The only way to protect against that is to uncoil from what everyone else is doing. There are still correlations in alternative markets of course, but for the most part they act independently. It’s a great way to hedge against inflation.
Beyond that, people are starting to care more about investing in line with their values, rather than putting those decisions in someone else’s hands. That’s why we love what Farm is doing — helping people invest in what they believe in. When you go the traditional route, it’s hard to know what you’re supporting.
About seven months ago, we started our first investment fund. We call it ALTS 1, and it’s our way of saying hey, we're already analyzing markets and deals and looking for the best of the best, let's just take our word for it. It allows us to show our actual purchases. The fund is still super new, so we’re excited to see how it will continue to evolve.
Accreditation is a huge barrier — the best investments in the old days were reserved for only accredited investors, and that is starting to shift. Regulation is changing in the U.S., so that makes it easier for companies to securitize assets and allow people to invest regardless of whether or not they’re accredited. Not every investment falls under that scenario, but more and more do. So our mission is to highlight those investment opportunities and help tell those companies’ stories. We share opportunities that people might not otherwise know about through our newsletter community.
We aren’t pretending to know everything or tell people what to do. Quite the opposite. We try to understand markets and world data, and we analyze them independently and objectively.
First of all, there is only so much land on this planet. There are lots of types of assets in the world and most of them don’t have scarcity anywhere close to what farmland has. The other big factor is fractionalization – the idea of going in on only a part of the land rather than the whole thing. With anything real estate related, you need to put a huge amount of money down. So having that as an option definitely makes it more accessible.
Sustainability is so important, and farmland is a huge part of that. We’re always looking for companies that are making positive change. Some recent ones we highlighted were Super Obvious, Newday Investing, and Aspiration. And of course Farm! We can definitely see that you guys are the real deal.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Stefan. We’re excited to be working alongside you to bring sustainable alternatives to earth-minded investors.