Harvest's Online Marketplace Targets $100 Trillion Investment Universe

Apr 6 2015 | 10:59am ET

Building an online marketplace for investments is a tricky business. Sellers are only interested in peddling their wares if the audience is truly made up of potential clients. Meanwhile, potential clients—in this case investors—are only interested in shopping in the marketplace if it offers high quality goods. One firm, Harvest, believes it has solved this chicken and egg problem “by leading with the highest quality investment content, sourced directly from the investment firms seeking to reach clients in a scalable and compliant fashion.”

Company: Harvest
Location: Houston, Texas
Website: www.HVST.com
Twitter: @HVST
Sector: Asset Management, Investor Relations/Marketing
Year Formed: 2012
No. of Employees: 10
Stage: Post-Series A
Notable Investors: Third Point LLC, Highland Capital Management, and DeMark Analytics

Pitch: Harvest connects asset management product buyers and sellers through shared expertise across a public marketplace and private networks

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

Harvest is a marketplace platform serving the $100 trillion investment management landscape. Harvest Exchange is a free to join public marketplace comprised of over 4,000 investment firms and tens of thousands of accredited investors, qualified purchasers, asset managers, and financial advisors. Investment firms and managers enhance their brands, compliantly market, and are discovered by their target clients in a mutually beneficial manner. Harvest Private offers secure, data-rich, invite-only networks for peer-to-peer diligence, IR, document dissemination, and enhanced communication. 

How is different than other companies in the same space?

Harvest offers what the Street's been waiting a long time for, a transparent, SEC and FINRA compliant way for pros and money managers to share investment ideas and brand their top stars and investment philosophies—in an open environment built for both personal investors and professionals/wealth managers.

Most investor marketplace’s face a “chicken or the egg” problem when growing a community. Buyers are only interested in joining if there is superior deal access, sellers are only interested if they have superior access to buyers and potential clients. Harvest solved for this problem by leading with the highest quality investment content, sourced directly from the investment firms seeking to reach clients in a scalable and compliant fashion. The high quality content and curated platform have helped Harvest to grow a very large and active community of ‘in-market’ qualified buyers and high quality sellers. In fact, content shared on Harvest outperforms the same content posted to LinkedIn by 200% - 600%.

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

Harvest makes money by helping investment firms to market and generate leads across their target client base, and to do so in a manner that fully complies with existing regulatory compliance framework.

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

We target the asset management infrastructure, global AUM = ~$100 trillion.  Within this market there are approximately 35,000 global investment firms (buy and sell side) of various sizes. In addition Harvest targets and appeals to the AI/HNW investor market, there are approximately 37 million of these investors in the U.S. today.

The opportunity we are going after is the ~$600 billion spent by these firms on marketing and IR annually.

Why are you and your team capable of succeeding?

We’re everything that you would expect someone to say – experienced, smart, dedicated, motivated, industry experts etc., but most of all, we’re scrappy. We’re resourceful. No one has ever accomplished what we’re trying to do. In fact, no one has ever come close. We launched HVST.com in 4Q13 and we have 12% of the world’s investment firms. We have the largest public community of in-market accredited investors and qualified buyers in existence and we have accomplished through persistence and a devotion to the highest quality brand.

What is your company’s next target/milestone?

We are focused on making Harvest more scalable. Scalable for our users, scalable as a resource/utility, and scalable as a monetization platform. This is tough to quantify externally but we aim to offer each user a more individual and curated content experience based on their place within the investment management landscape, their interests/sectors/companies/asset classes, as well as what the user demographics that they are interested in care about.

Can you tell us one unusual fact about your company?

The name Harvest comes from our view of the platform as an Investor’s Farmers Market. The current investment landscape is littered with intermediaries, but Harvest allows financial professional to control their own brand and message while directly reaching their target client in a scalable and compliant fashion. On the other side of the table, Harvest provides direct access to the thoughts and perspective of the world’s top investors. What you see is what you get on Harvest, and in accessing the community and content you can know that it’s real.

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