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New York-based Public (which, despite the name, is still a privately held company) itself has raised at least $308 million from venture investors. The purchase builds out its platform and gives Public’s 3 million or so users the opportunity to diversify their investment portfolios, co-CEO Leif Abraham wrote in a blog post announcing the deal.
“We believe a modern, diversified portfolio is made up of more than just stocks, funds, and crypto — it’s also made of cultural assets,” he wrote.
Public was founded in 2019 as a platform for fractional investing in stocks, competing with Robinhood and other trading apps that became hugely popular with retail investors in recent years.
Last year, Public added crypto investing. The Otis acquisition gives Public users another option to diversify their portfolios, Abraham said.
“Historically, the opportunities to diversify with alternative investments have been limited to a small pool of investors. They are often locked behind exclusive art galleries and connections to other collectors, in addition to commanding price tags that are out of reach for the average investor,” he wrote. “Turning these physical assets into fractional investable securities has been the great unlock of the past few years, and it has, in turn, created a whole new asset class for people to consider.”
Examples of assets that users have purchased on New York-based Otis’ platform include part ownership in a Banksy painting, a pair of sneakers worn by Michael Jordan, and trading cards of LeBron James and Serena Williams, he said.
Illustration: Dom Guzman