Alternative investments refer to the ecosystem of opportunities available to investors in the private markets, which tend to be dichotomized in form.
Some offerings imitate the retail trading main street investors are accustomed to, providing access to high-growth startups in the form of individual venture equity or secondary investments. Investors pick companies they like and invest.
The rest of the alternative ecosystem varies widely and often bears limited resemblance to the stock market. Asset classes such as fine wine, farmland, and private equity funds have long provided returns with low market correlation, but only for institutions and high-net-worth individuals. With the passage of the 2012 JOBS Act and S.E.C. regulations such as Reg D and Reg CF, many of these investments are now available to the average person on online investment platforms.
Using the Alts for All site, you can find information on platforms in each of these two forms, all in one place.
What is the difference between assets, ventures, and funds?
Assets: Physical assets are exactly what they sound like: they allow investors to access tangible assets such as real estate, art, or collectibles. Some sites pool investments and buy an asset (so you own a fractional share of that single investment), while others will provide you with direct ownership.
Ventures: Ventures refer to any investment in the form of an equity or loan agreement that lacks direct ownership of a physical asset. In the case of Student Income Share Agreements (ISAs), you don't literally own a student, you own a share of the future proceeds tied to his or her first few years in the professional workforce. Note that all ventures on this site are for profit and are not to be confused with donation-based crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter or CrowdJustice.
Funds: Private market funds are pooled investment vehicles comprising multiple investments, as opposed to platforms that allow investors to select individual opportunities. Certain sites within both physical assets and ventures offer funds as well as individual investments.
I see a platform missing and would like it added. Is this possible?
If you would like us to add a platform, we have built out a questionnaire that helps expedite the process. Please go to this link, fill out the form, and we will have the site up on our Compare page within a week!
How does the scorecard for reviews work? How do you determine grades?
We have a comprehensive framework that helps us break down and evaluate the key elements of a platform. This is available in full on the linked page. While there is always some ambiguity, we believe that any subjective assessment should have a backbone behind it.
02. Using the Site
I am an investor. How should I use the Alts for All site?
We suggest you start by using our "Compare Platforms" feature to first understand the universe of available investment platforms. If you have any trouble with terms such as accreditation, the following parts of the "Investor Education" section have detailed explanations on all relevant considerations.
Once you've begun comparing sites and are able to make sense of key terms, our "Reviews" section offers further details on platforms selected by our editors and our "News" section will keep you up to date on the alternatives space.
Alts for All is an intelligence platform – we are not financial advisors. We leave it to you to decide where and how to invest.
If you have any other sections or features that you would like to see, feel free to shoot us a note!
I am a founder. How should I use the Alts for All site?
Founders can use the Alts for All platform to find sources of financing via equity crowdfunding, venture debt, and small business loans. Our "Compare Funds" feature provides detailed analysis on terms for raising funds offered by leading players in the alternatives space. We hope this is useful in helping you find a partner based on area of expertise, experience, and/or fee structure.
For now, founders can also use our "News" feature for information on recent developments in the alternatives space. In the future, we will be adding an Education page for founders looking to raise capital – let us know if there are any items you would like us to address!
Is it possible to only see content for founders or investors? How can I easily discriminate between the two?
Unfortunately, this option is not available. We will soon have options in the navigation bar making it clear who sections of the site are meant for (e.g. "For Investors" and "For Founders").
03. Ethics & Monetization
Do you have any rules or guidelines you follow?
Yes, we do! Please see our Code of Ethics for a full breakdown, or feel free to scroll down on any page and take a look at the footer, where we've summarized a few key points.
How do you choose investment platforms?
Our process is as follows: We start by internally tracking news and activity in the space, while also talking to founders of investment platforms, in order to keep tabs on new, emerging, and incumbent platforms.
Once we've vetted a site and are confident that it is legitimate, we'll put it up in one or both of the Compare datasets. On the flip side, we occasionally remove sites that fall short of our standards.
For sites that are referenced recurrently within or outside of their asset class, more often for good than bad, we subject them to further scrutiny, putting together a score and a detailed review.
If you have any insights or feedback on sites we have listed, we can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Do platforms pay you to be included on the site?
No! We may receive affiliate links or share discounts/ promotions, but neither has any effect on what we include on the site. Our goal is to remain as objective as possible in helping investors and founders make sense of a space lacking in both transparency and impartiality.
How do you use my data?
04. About Us
Why did you start this site?
While looking into this space, we noticed that there was a severe lack of transparency on key terms and considerations, with many platforms hiding information in the dark corners of their websites. We started Alts for All to help investors invest, comparing terms on our site quickly instead of scouring through FAQ pages.
In the process of building out the site, we also noticed that there was very little available to founders looking to raise through equity crowdfunding. Hence, we started, and are still building, an offering meant to make the fundraising process more transparent.
Who are you?
Robert is an associate at a leading strategy consultancy, with experience investing and raising capital in the private markets.
Sam is an investment and fundraising professional at a well-known venture capital firm.
William Ogden Moore
William is a business development and fundraising professional at a healthtech startup, with experience in investing.
Are you a broker/dealer or financial advisor?
No! We do not decide what you invest, and we are not a financial intermediary. Our research and insights are meant to help you learn about alternatives and make the best possible decision once you decide on a platform.
The founding mission for Alts for All is as its name implies: aiding in the democratization of alternative investments for the masses by eliminating knowledge-based barriers, demystifying the confusing world of personal finance and investments. This is why we provide the information on Alts for All for free to everyone. We may use affiliate links and partnerships to partially or fully offset the out-of-pocket expenses which we have personally incurred – and continue to incur – in connection with the creation and maintenance of Alts for All. That said, we have no intention of being adversely influenced or compromising the integrity of the site.