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Startup stories - Splint Invest - Alternative investments

July 26, 2022

Startup stories - Splint Invest - Alternative investments

An introduction to Splint Invest

Splint Invest is an app for fractional investing in alternative assets. With Splint Invest, everybody can invest in shares of luxury watches, rare whisky, and limited wine. To start, you only need a smart phone, an e-mail address and 50 EUR.

Everything which is not a traditional investment, like stocks, bonds, or ETFs can be considered as alternative investment. To start, we’ve decided to focus on tangible assets, like luxury watches from Switzerland, rare Scotch and Irish whisky casks and bottles, limited red wine from known regions in Italy and French or, of course, Champagne.

Investing in those assets is not a new trend at all. The industry around such assets is quite established. There are even indexes tracking the performance of the assets, like Liv-Ex for wine or RW101 for whisky.

Our role is to break down entry barriers to invest in such assets, like reducing the minimum investments to 50 EUR. Additionally, we take care of the due diligence process of the investment asset supplier and check each asset when it comes to existence, insurance, storage, and pricing. This way, the user can simply open the app, read the information provided and take an individual investment decision – knowing everything offered is legit and audited.

The birth of a startup

Everything started in summer 2020. We are not only co-founders but also former co-workers at PwC and also friends. We had one thing in common: the passion for investing.

At a point we realized that our portfolios were not diversified. Of course we always invested in EFTs focusing on different industries and tried to work with different currencies and regions. But at the end, everything was always highly correlated with the stock markets and the overall macro-economic situation.

We did our research and came up with whisky casks. Unfortunately, it was hard to get an overview of all potential sources. Also, we realized that we needed to invest at least 40k EUR to start. Therefore, we decided all to put some money in and to invest in 12 whiskey casks of an Irish distillery.

We talked about that with our friends and families – and they all said the same thing: this is nice – next time you are doing that, I will chip in a few bucks as well. After a few weeks, we had a list with 30-40 interested people. This is how we came up with the business idea: fractional investing in alternative assetsfully mobile and digital – as easy as online shopping.

In December 2020, the idea had all the attributes required for a successful startup. The problem is relevant, the solution is doable but not trivial, the business model is scalable, and the market has been established yet it is far from being saturated. And the founder team is strong and brings most of the experience required to pull this off.

We are six co-founders, and everybody took the decision to take the plunge individually. Since the very first brainstorming session about the idea, we were all interested to move it forward. The main motivation was and still is that we all strongly belief in our product and in our team.

We had no external investors and were struggling to find ones. Of course, we all agreed on conditions – and had the deal that as soon as the conditions were met, we take the plunge. One of the conditions was to have the funding secured for 2022.

However, we had the impression that to really convince external investors to believe in us and the project, we should do the first move. We decided to quit our jobs and join step by step, accepting the risk. Starting 2023, everyone will be fully working for Splint Invest.

The motivation

On the one hand, we wanted to build something based on our own preferences and needs. In the beginning, we started to build Splint Invest for us. On the other hand, it was the possibility to change the way how people invest and protect their money. Knowing that we could contribute to more stable and diversified portfolios motivated us a lot.

Financial inequality is a real problem. Both regarding access and options, as well as knowledge. We wanted to remove the barriers for retail investors. Any retail investor shall be enabled by us to invest like we do.

The challenge

Every time we overcome the “biggest” challenge – there is a bigger one waiting. The first “biggest” challenge was to find a bank to set up the company.

It was quite difficult since our business model was not too easy to explain. The next one was getting to a credit card acquirer. Same issues as before – we did not pass the due diligence process of the big ones.

We even had the issue that one company accepted us – and 10 days before going live, they informed us that they did a review of our business model and decided to delete our account in 14 days. That was hard and caused at the end a delay of 2 months. The current “biggest” challenge is to set-up the marketing and start growing – but as usual we are working on it, we will overcome the challenge and we are curious the see which one will be the next “biggest” challenge.

The importance of joining F10

For four of us at Splint Invest it is the first entrepreneurial experience. Therefore, it was very important for us to have organizations in the background supporting us. Getting access to the knowledge of the mentors and coaches within F10 as well as having the possibility to benefit from the large network were the main reasons why we decided to start the program.

The outlook

We would like to achieve that having an account on Splint Invest is as established as having a bank account and having Splints (that’s how we call our tokens) in a portfolio is like investing in an ETF.

We would love to see the platform business take off, with its positive network effects shooting it through the roof. The more people we can reach, the more we can achieve towards financial equality.

Blockchain technology and tracking solutions for physical assets will be very important in our field, in the near future. Models using deep learning like GPT3 will have a big impact on how we create content or do research.

Disruption as the new normal. Everything is up in the air these days. We don't think anyone can reliably predict anything. It is important to stay vigilant, flexible, and informed, and be ready to let go and embrace what's coming.

The trends that are significant to us range from technology, to society, to monetary policies and to global politics.

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