In a Nutshell: Alts empowers investors to think outside the box and look for money-making opportunities in alternative asset markets. Its newsletter informs readers on the latest trends in alternative asset investing, including trading cards, video games, sneakers, and even music rights. The company has also started an investment fund — the ALTS 1 Fund — based on its alternative asset expertise. Investors can buy into the Alts-managed fund and earn returns in the long term from the valuable assets Alts secures.
Sports cards are no longer just the cards your dad collected when he was young. Now, card collecting has come back, and some cards are soaring to prices previously thought unimaginable thanks to increased demand from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mickey Mantle’s rookie card in near-mint condition is expected to shatter the record for most expensive card ever. A rare Honus Wagner card that sold for $7.25 million set the record just a week before the Mantle card went up for auction.
Numbers like that make me cringe when I think about the countless cards my grandmother threw away when my dad was young because he didn’t clean his room. It could go down as one of the costliest dirty room clean-ups in history.
But sports cards aren’t the only alternative assets rising in value. Investors around the world now look to own rare sneakers, action figures, sports memorabilia, and music rights — or even fractional shares of these — as interest continues to trend upward.
That market activity led Stefan von Imhof to start a newsletter detailing the latest developments in the alternative assets. After a short time with the newsletter, von Imhof teamed up with a member of the community to create Alts.
Alts researches the market and compiles detailed reports on different aspects of alternative investing. And when new asset types emerge, von Imhof and his team often produce a comprehensive, unbiased analysis of its viability.
Alts recently launched its own investment fund based on its history of research. With investor funding, the ALTS 1 Fund purchases, and holds, assets based on their value and potential.
While demand for some alternative assets may be winding down, von Imhof said overall interest is still up big from what it was two years ago. And Alts continues to look for opportunities and trends to provide readers and investors with the knowledge they need to be successful in a variety of emerging markets.
“This is what we do,” von Imhof said. “We look for the nuances and we don’t limit ourselves to any one market. We’re actively covering dozens of markets.”
Newsletter Provides Research on Alternative Assets
Most of the content on Alts.co is free, and that’s by design. Von Imhof said he wants people to have access to the information without barriers because so few people are researching alternative investing.
“We’re optimized for trust and authority,” von Imhof said. “What we’re going for is long-term relationships with our community members so when we have a deal that we know is good, they trust us and take action.”
Paywalled content on the website is mostly for valuations of specific items and collectibles. One instance where the site uses a paywall is to show previous sales and trading data when a rare baseball card goes up for auction.
Von Imhof said the most popular content on the website is still cryptocurrencies and NFTs. One area seeing a lot of growth is physical artwork, and it tops the list of fastest-growing asset classes over the last six months. Real estate, music rights, watches, sneakers, and video games also make the list.
Alts’ mission is to control the hype around certain assets and try not to create an unsustainable bubble without proper research and trust within the community.
The company is seeing a lot of movement in classic VHS movie tapes investing, but von Imhof isn’t convinced the medium will skyrocket in value. We have seen vinyl make a comeback over the past decade, with several artists releasing new albums on vinyl and selling them for up to $60.
Alternative investors point to vinyl as a reason to start snatching up VHS tapes. But Alts researched the investment opportunity and found that it is very unlikely to make a comeback.
“We explore, we look at the data, we do the homework and the hard work that no one else wants to do,” von Imhof said. “It’s so important to us. We want to be the authority in these spaces.”
ALTS 1 Fund Turns Research Into Appreciating Assets
With the new ALTS 1 Fund, the company is turning its vast research into investment opportunities. Investors who want to get involved with the fund need to invest at least $20,000. There is no maximum investment amount.
ALTS 1 Fund is a regulation D fund, meaning each investor must be accredited. But investors only need to be accredited in one country, and it does not have to be the U.S.
Alts actively researches markets and uses the information it sends out through its newsletter when making investment decisions. There is no insider information nor does the site go against information it sends out in the newsletter.
Alts looks for what it believes to be undervalued and mispriced collectibles. If the company’s information predicts a huge price spike in a product, the fund will buy in before demand increases. Alts makes sure the fund’s transactions and developments are kept transparent to its investors.
The fund has raised $1.4 million so far. Alts uses the funds to buy original Star Wars action figures, comic books, and other ultra-rare and valuable collectibles.
“We have the second copy ever made of The White Album by The Beatles,” von Imhof said. “That’s the copy John Lennon owned. We are also buying British modern artwork, Frank Auerbach and Bridget Riley.”
Alts has a 10-year plan for the alternative assets it invests in. It does not plan to sell the collectible before 10 years, unless the community of investors agree that it is the best time to sell.
Predicting the Future of Alternative Investing
It’s an exciting time in alternative investing because new niches are opening up every single day. Alts does its research to try to stay ahead of trends and inform its readers before other outlets.
The company said it’s interested in investment properties for music rights. Alts has allocated a portion of the ALTS 1 Fund toward buying music rights with the hopes to complete a royalty buyout soon.
“Our goal is to explore and tell the story of what’s happening across all of these markets,” von Imhof said. “After that, we want to bring people along for the ride.”
The company stressed that it stands behind its loyal community and often listens to its community to figure out where to invest next. Community members can even contribute to the newsletter if they reach out to show that they are an expert in one area’s field.
Fortunately for Alts, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of alternative asset research. After one newsletter goes out, more topics pop up to guarantee a flow of content.
“We study markets, and if you’re interested in markets, economics, and behavior, then you’ll get a lot from the newsletter because that’s what we do,” von Imhof said.
The company is looking to expand both its newsletter reach and the ALTS 1 Fund. Alts is already fundraising to build a marketplace within the website where community members can buy and sell their collectibles.
“We are working on some very exciting stuff,” von Imhof said. “It’ll be very unique and we’ll be the first to market with what we’re doing. We’re very excited for the future.”