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Dark Square is Leveling the Playing Field Between Hedge Funds and Individuals

We’re levelling the playing field in alternative investments by giving individuals the ability to invest in asset historically reserved for hedge funds and ultra high net worth individuals.

Tell us about yourself?

I most recently traded Distressed Credit and Special situations at RBS, where we invested in bonds, loans, unlisted equity and CDS. Before that I worked in Investment Banking, originating bonds for investment grade European corporates- so all of my experience is in the fixed income space. I like Distressed because every investment opportunity you look at is different, I remember sitting in investor committee meetings when I was relatively junior, staying quiet because I was worried about asking a ‘stupid’ question only to have that same question asked by an MD in the room.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Probably to be more patient. I think I jumped the gun somewhat when I quit my job about a year ago to launch Dark Square. Looking back I probably could have done more research whilst I was still employed rather than committing straight away. (And it was mid lockdown so I couldn’t even travel anywhere)

What problem does your business solve?

Right now, unless you’re incredibly wealthy you’re mostly limited to investing in equities, ETFs and cryptocurrencies But there’s a multi-trillion dollar world of other asset classes out there that are, at present, inaccessible to most individuals. Ranging from assets such as distressed/special situations credit (which my background is in), to large ticket real estate items like private islands, forest/timberland, to artwork, marine vessels and many more. We’re of the belief that individuals are more capable and more willing than ever to make their own investment decisions, so we’re not an investment advice or an investment management platform, rather we’re using crowdfunding to overcome minimum investment thresholds and open up these products to a wider market. Allowing customers to not only generate returns, but crucially better diversify their portfolios. (Wealth managers recommend allocating anywhere from 15-25% of a portfolio to alternatives, but right now that just isn’t possible for the vast majority of individuals.)

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Right now, unless you’re incredibly wealthy you’re mostly limited to investing in equities, ETFs and cryptocurrencies But there’s a multi-trillion dollar world of other asset classes out there that are, at present, inaccessible to most individuals. Ranging from assets such as distressed/special situations credit (which my background is in), to large ticket real estate items like private islands, forest/timberland, to artwork, marine vessels and many more. We’re of the belief that individuals are more capable and more willing than ever to make their own investment decisions, so we’re not an investment advice or an investment management platform, rather we’re using crowdfunding to overcome minimum investment thresholds and open up these products to a wider market. Allowing customers to not only generate returns, but crucially better diversify their portfolios. (Wealth managers recommend allocating anywhere from 15-25% of a portfolio to alternatives, but right now that just isn’t possible for the vast majority of individuals.)

What is your magic sauce?

We’re attacking a huge market (valued at €9 trillion in Europe alone) which also grew 8% last year. Our concept has been proven to work internationally, individuals are more interested in investing than ever, are sitting on more cash than ever, and have more access to information than ever before. Myself and Alex are well positioned to launch this. I traded Distressed for 3 years at RBS and worked in investment banking before that, giving me good industry knowledge. Alex (CTO) has years of experience in software development, particularly within financial services – writing trading algorithms for multi billion dollar hedge funds. TLDR: Huge and growing market, proven concept, great team 🙂

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

We’re going to close our pre-seed round in late Jan/early Feb next year. We’ll then make initial hires and plan to have our soft launch in June, with our full launch taking place in September. We plan to launch our fixed income platform first and then add more asset classes as we grow. We’re also going to add a secondary market feature to make these less liquid products more liquid.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Distressed and alternatives aren’t as easy to understand as stocks and shares, so it’s sometimes been difficult to get people to understand what we’re looking to do if they have limited background in Finance. A big part of our platform is going to be educational, so customers can not only invest via the platform, but also learn more about the types of products we’re offering.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We opened our pre-seed round a few weeks ago at Web Summit in Lisbon and it’s gone quite well so far. We’re always looking for advisors and/or investors to join us at this early stage, particularly if they have a background in Fintech/fixed income/alternatives and can help us grow by providing advice mentorship. We’ll be setting up a waitlist soon to pre-register for the platform. Feel free to learn more at www.darksquarecapital.com or email me direct at [email protected]
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