HomeBlogInvestmentThe Coterie eyes tech’s young and wealthy

The Coterie eyes tech’s young and wealthy

In the year since its launch, The Coterie has amassed roughly $500 million in assets under management, Chief Executive Officer Ethan Agarwal said in an interview. The idea behind the San Francisco-based company was hatched when Agarwal — then the founder and CEO of fitness app Aaptiv — faced challenges obtaining a mortgage after forgoing his salary.

“The fact that a large, legacy financial institution couldn’t conceptualize that there’s a better way of assessing risk showed me there’s an opportunity,” Agarwal said. “The space is just so ripe for disruption.”

The Coterie gives its users — mostly startup founders — investment access to venture funds managed by firms including Coatue Management, Andreessen Horowitz, Tribe Capital and Initialized Capital, as well as private companies like SpaceX and Stripe. The startup says it aims to lend based on an individual’s assets, rather than a salary or credit score.

The company refers to its users as “the misunderstood.” Agarwal says they are a group of 25-to-45-year-old founders and early startup employees with net worths of $1 million to $50 million, who are struggling to diversify beyond their illiquid slugs of equity in closely held companies. He estimates there are between 1 to 3 million such people in the U.S.

The investment marks one of the largest Series A checks ever written by Andreessen Horowitz, said general partner Anish Acharya, who is joining The Coterie’s board. He expects that tech founders are likely to boast about their wagers in high-profile venture funds.

“The Coterie gives you social status plus financial diversification,” Acharya said. “We like that it’s about access rather than advice.”

To be sure, if a user stops repaying interest on a loan amid factors including market tumult or crumbling valuations, The Coterie can reclaim ownership of the collateral that the loan is against  — for instance, holdings in the venture funds on the platform.

The startup, co-founded by Agarwal, Jeson Patel and Christopher Boies, recently began offering tax and estate-planning tools, and may add other lending products. Its minimum investment is $5,000 in an individual company or $10,000 in a fund, Agarwal said.

“We’re a software company — we’re not trying to be a financial adviser or a bank,” he said.

DoorDash co-founder Stanley Tang and AngelList co-founder Naval Ravikant also participated in the funding round, as did Initialized, Pear VC and Google’s artificial intelligence-focused Gradient Ventures.

“The Coterie provides greater financial opportunities to a new generation through broadened access to investing, lending and estate planning,” said Initialized general partner Alda Leu Dennis.

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