Hedge Connection's Cap. Intro Platform Combines Virtual With Reality

Mar 27 2015 | 6:02am ET

Money managers and investors are flocking to online matchmaking sites in an effort to streamline the investment process. But while firms that focus on crowdfunding and P2P lending have successfully proven that anonymous online transactions can work, the same does not hold true in the big money world of hedge funds. The founders of Hedge Connection understand this, and have created a hybrid platform that combines virtual introductions with real life meetings.

Company: Hedge Connection
Location: Bronxville, NY
Website: www.hedgeconnection.com
Twitter: @hedgeconnection
Sector: Institutional Investment, Alternative Investments
Year formed: 2005
No. of employees: 15
Stage: self funded by co-founders; in revenue
Notable investors: Lisa Vioni

Elevator pitch: Hedge Connection’s dynamic ecosystem features a patented manager/allocator socialized platform within a 360° alternative investment opportunity set.

Tell us a bit about your company and what it does?

Hedge Connection is a dynamic alternative investment industry ecosystem that includes several integrated components:

• Virtual introductions between fund managers and allocators;
• Socialized industry database enabling fund managers and allocators to actively engage in 2-way communication (launched 2013); providing a significant pivot for Hedge Connection’s business;
• Information aggregation, both qualitative and quantitative, sourced from managers and allocators;
• Unique mix and dissemination of thought leadership content;
• Live events powered by patented proprietary technology.

How is Hedge Connection different than other companies in the same space?

Hedge Connection is the only fund manager/allocator database firm with two issued U.S. patents. The first was issued on June 18, 2013 for the business methodology of connecting hedge funds and investors online. The second one is issuing this month.

Hedge Connection is the only website that offers virtual introductions that must lead to a scheduled meeting. Its dynamic spectrum of marketing, advertising, decision-making tools and networking at multiple levels including via live meeting experiences is valuable to participants and unique to the industry.  It is the only company that has built proprietary technology to support its live event and can be used to promote its attendees before, during and after the event.

What is your revenue model? How will the company make money?

Hedge Connection uses a Freemium model similar to the Linkedin pricing strategy, initially free to join. The more features and functionality a user wants to engage, the more they pay for services. For example, the Capital Club, our virtual introduction service, costs $500 annually for managers to join. Further costs, $450 per introduction, are triggered only by an accepted introduction that must lead to a meeting. Our pricing is transparent, fully disclosed on our website.

Our revenue sources as in our offerings reflect a mix: Capital Club memberships and related introductions, sponsorships, event registrations and revenue share opportunities.

Who is your target market? How big is the opportunity?

Our target market covers the entire industry ecosystem that can benefit from the added value of engagement, visibility and valuable content, including fund managers, allocators and various types of service providers.

Since our model is fully scalable across participants and products including capacity for further financial verticals to be embedded within the platform, we consider the opportunity set to be as deep or wide as the investment community.

Why are you and your team capable of succeeding?

Our team is led by Lisa Vioni, bringing 20+ years of financial industry experience.  She was a successful derivatives specialist and hedge fund capital raiser. Because of her background, she deeply understands what hedge funds need to execute a successful marketing program. The idea to create Hedge Connection grew from Lisa’s experience as a hedge fund marketing executive.  Her desire was to create a legally safe ecosystem where private funds could promote their product and get access to qualified investors for a reasonable price efficiently. A strong technology team that continues to build leading edge capabilities has supported the company’s 10-year cycle.

What is your company’s next target/milestone?

Hedge Connection’s road map offers new types of products as well as functionality consistent with our goals to expand the Capital Club.  We also have plans to introduce unique event experiences such as The Pitch at Global Fund Forum (June 22-24 in Bermuda).

Can you tell us one unusual fact about your company?

Hedge Connection’s CEO Lisa Vioni has produced three Broadway shows and won a Tony Award in 2003 for “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”  Co-founder & CTO Rob Arthurs is an avid rock and ice climber who has scaled peaks in North America, Europe and Africa. Rob and Lisa came up with the idea of Hedge Connection while hiking Johnston Canyon near Lake Louise.

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