March 11, 2021
Since I was about eight years old, I’ve always been obsessed with three things: finance, automation, and basketball. While I’ve been fortunate to have had a career in the first two – trading on Wall Street and starting the API company, Lob – I was always curious whether basketball would make its way into my professional life.
In 2016, I started feeling nostalgic and wanted to re-experience the joy I felt when opening a pack of basketball cards. I went in search of a rare Kobe Bryant card, part of a pack of 1996 E-X2000 that I had wanted ever since I was eight years old.
After I finally bought the box of 1996 E-X2000 and pulled the elusive Kobe card, I started searching eBay to see how much it was worth. This was the moment I turned from card collector to card investor. My initial nostalgia evolved into a side hustle.
As I’ve grown my collection over the last five years, I’ve experienced firsthand the many problems collectors and investors face, and understood the hesitancy from friends to consider sports cards an investment worth pursuing. At the core of the industry’s problem is a lack of infrastructure. Transparency around historical prices and card values doesn’t exist, current platforms are difficult to navigate, ripe with fraud and high fees, and liquidity is hard to come by.
This is why I founded Alt – to increase the transparency and liquidity of alternative assets. For decades, stocks, bonds, and foreign exchange have been the predominant investment vehicles, largely because they have been the most transparent and liquid. Alternative assets such as real estate and venture capital can offer high yields uncorrelated with the stock market, but aren’t as broadly accessible because they are more opaque and illiquid. Sports cards have been even less accepted as mainstream investment vehicles, despite the fact that they represent a great store of value and return uncorrelated with broader public markets.
Alt is redefining alternative assets to include new asset classes that have historically been relegated to the territory of hobbyists and collectors, rather than investors. With Alt, we’re turning sports cards – and eventually watches, sneakers, and art – into investable assets.
Today, we’re making Alt available to the public. You can sign up for early access here and we’ll start sending out invitations to upload your portfolio and transact starting today. Here’s what you can expect on Alt:
Manage your portfolio
Easily upload your card collection and track your portfolio value in real-time. We also offer an option to share your card collection with friends or to the public.
Alt Value: Know your portfolio value in real-time
Until now, understanding the value of any given card was a cumbersome and non-transparent process. We’ve built real-time valuation with Alt Value, letting you track the value of your cards over time just as you would with traditional assets such as stocks.
Vault: Ensuring custody and authentication
Every asset on Alt is authenticated by our team and in our custody. This means your card collection is securely stored in our Vault and cards are authenticated before being traded. Your first three months of Vault are free and we charge a small fee (0.39% annually, charged monthly) based on the Alt Value of your assets.
Lowest fees in the market
Buying on Alt is free and we charge sellers the lowest transaction fee among other exchanges: 1.5% of the total sale price, inclusive of credit card processing fees. Sellers are also guaranteed immediate payout. Fees can be as high as 25% on other marketplaces.
I’m also excited to announce that Alt has raised $31M in funding, with the most recent round led by Alexis Ohanian’s firm, Seven Seven Six, along with other investors including First Round Capital, Addition Ventures, SV Angel, BoxGroup, Chapter One, Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman’s Thirty Five Ventures, Nat Friedman, John Collison, Patrick Collison, Darren Rovell, Sue Wagner, Fred Ehrsam, Eric Wu, JD Ross, Laura Behrens Wu, Larry Fitzgerald, Tobias Harris, and others.
With Alt, we hope to celebrate the vibrant communities that have embraced alternative assets for decades and invite more people to discover, collect, and invest in them as well.
If you like what we’re building, check out our openings!
Founder & CEO, Alt