By Alexis Graham, CEO Accelerate Product Partners, LLC
Accelerate Product Partners [www.accelerateproduct.com] has recently launched a new video-based information website that provides information on hedge and other alternative investment funds, with the aim of leveraging the internet and technology to improve the efficiency of the investor-manager communication process. The service allows investors to remain anonymous and only contact managers at their discretion rather than suffer the endless cold calls and unsolicited pitch-books that clog the current communication process.
Chris Acito of Gapstow Capital Partners – Nail Down the Basics
Launched in August, New-York based Accelerate Video Due Diligence is a B2B fund information platform that, on legal opinion obtained by Accelerate, meets US and UK regulations governing private placements under reverse solicitation.The concept was co-developed by my partner, Ian Tracy, and myself, based on 20 years of experience in hedge fund marketing and selection. Accelerate’s offering has some similarity to existing fund databases and information services. However, a unique selling point is that the video interviews it conducts with managers are based on questions asked by investors before a new fund comes on the site.
To elaborate, prior to a fund’s introduction on the Accelerate website, investors are advised about the strategy and asked what questions they want to put. So, it is not just a manager’s pitch; rather, it is investor-driven. Each clip answers a specific question and questions vary from strategy to strategy, manager to manager. This avoids the typical ‘they’re all the same’ investor response to most manager presentations, yet also avoids the passivity and impersonality of a database.While investors are invisible to the managers unless they click to ask for more information or a meeting, managers can view aggregated data on which of their clips are being watched, for how long, by how many investors, and whether they’re being stored. This provides managers with a high level of engagement and feedback – again, unlike most databases.
Alain Farrelly of Ramius-Cowen Group – Because Your Business is your Time
Accelerate is not a broker/dealer or placement agent and does not take a trail fee from managers who win business as a result of using its service. Managers pay an annual subscription and the video technology is also licensed by others, such as information providers, fund distributors, and broker-dealers who can embed the code on their own websites. Accelerate has already licensed its technology and video production services to several firms in the fund industry.
The service is free to accredited US and UK investors, but EU investors have to pay a nominal subscription charge in order to satisfy some EU countries’ requirements regarding investor accreditation and eligibility to conduct reverse solicitation. Several hundred accredited investors have registered to the site already and Accelerate is building manager profiles directly on its site monthly and through licensed third parties. While Accelerate has been advised that, legally, the service meets regulatory requirements on reverse solicitation, the service is emphatically not a knee-jerk response to regulation. After more than three years in development with the active collaboration of some 50 accredited hedge-fund investors, it is a considered, precisely-targeted, solution to the prevailing inefficiency and wasted effort in fund marketing.
Ezra Mager of EPM Advisory – Reducing Redundant Pitchbooks
Accelerate’s unique offering saves time for both parties, making the discovery and selection process more efficient, and hands the initiative for introduction to managers back to the investor.