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Exclusive: Equi raises $15M in round led by ex-Disney execs

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Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Equi, an alternative investing startup focused on high-net-worth individuals, raised $15 million in funding, the company tells Axios exclusively on Monday.

  • Smash Capital, a venture capital firm founded by former Disney executives, is leading the round and taking a board seat.

Why it matters: By adding Smash Capital's Paul Szurek to the board, Equi is showing that it plans to reach the average consumer and not just the ultra high-net-worth individual, CEO Tory Reiss says.

  • Equi currently offers a mix of hedge fund and other strategies — products that aren't commonplace for retail investors. The company requires a $100,000 to $350,000 account minimum.
  • Smash, meanwhile, is focused on investments around the broader consumer market.
  • "Our space is incredibly complex," Reiss says. "If we're going to be long term successful, we need our message to go mainstream. And that's where we think Smash can really help us.... it comes down to storytelling and education."

By the numbers: The new round of funding values Equi at just under $100 million, Reiss says, adding that the company has $100 million in assets under management and a few hundred customers.

Background: Founded by Eric Garland (who led Disney's venture group) and Evan Richter (who was a part of Disney's corporate strategy and development team), Smash's investments include Gogo Duck, Step, Epic Games, and Byju's.

The bigger picture: Equi's growth comes as the traditional 60% stock and 40% bond portfolio approach is blowing up in the market turmoil. Investors are seeking alternatives like private equity, hedge fund, real estate.

  • Many alt investing startups have popped up as a result: Titan, Moonfare, and YieldStreet being just a few of the names with interest in the retail market.
  • Reiss believes portfolios in the long-run will look closer to a 50% alternatives, 25% stock, and 25% bond mix.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Reiss.

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