Fintech start-up wants to let you own shares of cars like Ferraris and Porsches—but there’s a catch

Investing

For car aficionados that have always wanted to own a fancy trophy car without having to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for the privilege, a financial technology upstart has come up with the perfect solution.

Rally Rd, a New York-based fintech company that allows small investors to invest in rare collectibles, is giving the term asset diversification a whole new meaning. The platform has raised more than $10 million from a range of investors like Jeffrey Katzenberg’s & Anthony Saleh’s WndrCo, rapper/venture capitalist Nas, and Acorns co-founder Jeff Cruttenden.

Rally Rd, which has the blessing of the SEC, lets investors purchase shares of classic automobiles like Ferraris, Porsches, Lamborghinis and other classic models for as little as $50 per share. There’s a catch: Although purchasers of a Rally Rd asset are technically shareholders of an asset, they’re deprived of the joys associated with getting behind the wheel, taking the car out for a spin – or even seeing it up close.

However, Rally Rd has come up with a middle-ground solution. Last month, the company opened a live showroom in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, with a 1980 Lamborghini Countach Turbo stationed in its center. The Lamborghini, which priced at $127 per share, is one of at least 10 cars Rally Rd offers to its app users, but is aiming for 100 by year’s end.

Rally Rd’s objective is to use showrooms to give potential investors an opportunity to view what they’re buying, even if they’ll never get the chance to drive it on the road.

Rally Rd aims to make investing more accessible to the small investor. Still, the market for collectible cars isn’t less than liquid and requires lots of disposable income to participate. It raises the question of why anyone would want to buy a piece of an asset it can’t physically own.

“If you don’t have $10 million liquid, you’re not even in the class of investing in this and driving significant value,” Rally Rd co-founder and CEO Christopher Bruno told CNBC in a recent interview.

He explained that the average Rally Rd investor can “enjoy the ownership effect” without the headaches and expense associated with maintaining a blue-chip car.

To Rally Rd’s founders, the impetus behind the app is to get the aspirational class of car lovers “behind the velvet rope” to make asset markets “more flat and democratic.”

So while not everyone can own a Lamborghini or a Porsche, or will even get the chance to see one up close, Rally Rd is betting the showroom experience will help make it more “tactile.” As Bruno put it: “The only thing that’s asymmetrical is access.”

The average Rally Rd user is 27, financially savvy and has around $1,000 to spend on the app, Bruno told CNBC. “Almost all our investors are diversified, investing into several different opportunities,” he said.

“There’s a whole level of people starting to invest” in rare assets, Bruno said, and “here’s one or two ways to invest in that, and still have the best of the best.”

Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast are investors in Acorns.

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