The latest investment round was led by Wheelhouse, an investment and media firm founded by entrepreneur Brent Montgomery and comedian Jimmy Kimmel.
More from Sportico.com
Thirty Five Ventures, which was founded by NBA star Kevin Durant and businessman Rich Kleiman, was a key investor during the oversubscribed round. Gen Z-focused VC firm Animal Capital entered as a new investor, along with The Ringer founder Bill Simmons, former MLB star Chase Utley, actor John Stamos, ESPN 30 for 30 series co-creator Connor Schell and TV personality Sal Iacono.
Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, LionTree and Wheelhouse’s investment arm (Wheelhouse 360) also contributed to the funding round.
“You want the kind of [investors] who are going to bring an expertise or point of view that you don’t necessarily have, to help you grow,” Rally CEO George Leimer said in an interview. “Our founders have been very intentional about that, and this round is just another example of that.”
This latest round brings Rally to $65 million raised in total— including $45 million in just the past year alone—since launching in late 2016. The growing platform didn’t take traditional venture money this time around, though, instead taking on partners who could amplify the business to the masses and bring liquidity.
Rally’s Series A was led by Upfront Ventures, a Los Angeles-based firm, while the $30 million Series B last spring was led by Accel, a Silicon Valley-based venture firm and early backer of Facebook. Other previous investors include Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, rapper and venture capitalist Nas, Porsche Ventures, Raptor Group, Social Leverage and Global Brain.
Leimer believes this latest group of investors will help the company offer new product categories for users, while also executing content and programming ideas. Wheelhouse, for example, is expanding its relationship with Rally beyond investing to a multifaceted media partnership that will bring collectibles to TV audiences, including on the History Channel’s Pawn Stars series.
“Wheelhouse was created to bring storytelling and the biggest names into great businesses that could scale, and Rally is exactly that,” Montgomery said in a statement.
As the multi-billion-dollar collectibles market becomes more mainstream, Rally aims to stay on top of the fractional investment business as it now pushes over 250,000 users on its app. The New York-based company, which offers everything from sports memorabilia to rare historic documents, is considered the first to make expensive passion-led alternative investments available to average retail investors.
Some of Rally’s most valuable collectibles include an autographed piece of Staples Center hardwood on which the late Kobe Bryant played his final game, a coveted T206 Honus Wagner card and a 1776 broadside of the Declaration of Independence, which is valued at $2 million.
The company has not yet set a timetable on a Series C, but Leimer says the focus remains on improving overall user experience and growing brand awareness. But perhaps more importantly it’s creating more asset classes and offering more products categories for users.
“Sky’s the limit when it comes to categories,” he added. “We’re not thinking about this as a small niche business. We’re starting more with the idea of rare, high-value passion items.”
Best of Sportico.com