While the idea sounds good on paper, publicly traded venture capital firms haven’t impressed Wall Street over the years. The original nano VC stock, Harris & Harris Group (now 180 Degree Capital Corp), hasn’t done much and still languishes to this day. There are plenty of names across the pond like IP Group and Trendlines Group, neither of which we found overly compelling. While there are several appealing VC fund hybrids in the UK like Scottish Mortgage and Draper Esprit, we believe Alumni Group is the best bet for retail investors who want exposure to startups as an alternative asset class. Accredited investors can invest in startups alongside some of the world’s greatest VCs.
There are publicly traded VCs, hybrid funds that combine stocks and startups, and companies that hold equity in other companies as part of their business model. A good example of the latter would be Intrexon (now Precigen) which had equity stakes in probably a dozen different companies. Many of Intrexon’s equity investments were in over-the-counter (OTC) stocks, a big red flag in itself. The extent to which a firm gets involved in the companies it invests in is what differentiates a VC from a company like Intrexon. Today, we’re going to talk about a company called ATAI Life Sciences that’s a collection of psychedelic medicine holdings. And now they’re having an initial public offering (IPO), which is thankfully not a SPAC, so we have a delicious S-1 filing to munch on….