That strategy led the founders of Rally to choose Dwolla as its payments solution to facilitate sending and receiving funds through its new investment platform. The New York-based company developed an app to provide investment opportunities in blue-chip collector automobiles.
Before each asset is acquired—such as a 1983 Ferrari 512 BBi or 1993 Jaguar XJ220—it is vetted by a team of industry experts. Each car is essentially turned into a mini public company, divided into a fixed number of shares, and made available for equity investment to Rally members. Shares typically sell between $10 and $200 and there are no minimums. The vehicles themselves are maintained and monitored 24 hours a day in a temperature controlled secure environment.
Rally CEO and co-founder Chris Bruno said they spent about 18 months developing the technology platform and SEC qualified regulatory and compliance structure. They wanted a platform not just for accredited investors, but for anyone looking to create a diversified investment portfolio.
And most importantly, they wanted a platform to give investors the best chance at returns.
“You have to focus on what you’re good at and what you want to be really good at,” Bruno explains. “We wanted to be good at user experience and recreating equity capital markets in a box. Making sure money moves and doing that in a way that fits with banking regulations, that’s not going to add value to our business.
“Getting a partner who does that really well and who lives and breathes that is the right way to do it.”
I think ACH in general makes sense so investment returns aren’t impacted by high transaction fees. And once you decide to go with ACH, Dwolla was really the only game in town.
To give investors the highest chance of returns, there are no management fees or commissions on Rally Bruno says they wanted to create a “true investment marketplace” and offer the “exact opposite” of what you typically see with funds and traditional investment structures.
With a unique set of regulatory and user experience requirements, Rally searched extensively for a payment solution that could accommodate its needs, and ultimately integrated with Dwolla.
“We came in fresh, evaluated the options, and then went with Dwolla,” Bruno explained. “We wanted to make sure we weren’t spending our time building something that wasn’t critical for us to own if it was already commoditized and done well.”
Bruno said he was looking for a solution to move funds in and out of bank accounts.
“And I think ACH in general makes sense so investment returns aren’t impacted by high transaction fees,” Bruno explained. “And once you decide to go with ACH, Dwolla was really the only game in town.”
Because of compliance regulations with how they can interact with investors’ money, Rally worked closely with the Dwolla integration support team to identify—then create—a payment solution for their business.
“Dwolla custom tailored a solution to something that we needed,” Bruno said. “We have a full money moving system without having to do any of it. And it looks like it is coming from us with our look and feel.”
Staying on the Rally Rd.
An important part of the search for an integrated payments provider included keeping Rally Rd. investors within their application. They needed a white-labeled option that would allow them to customize user experience and establish trust.
“We didn’t want a solution where we are driving people to somebody else’s product,” Bruno said. “Having control of interactions ourselves and being able to integrate with a provider like Dwolla that lets us own that component of our business—but has seamless tech and transactions in the background—was a much better fit for us.”
To effectively manage refunds and customer inquiries, Bruno said they utilize the Dwolla dashboard, a product component that he says has evolved alongside their own.
“The fit was right,” Bruno says. “And honestly, the Dwolla integration team really invested themselves in working with us to figure out and implement our solutions together.”
To compliment investment opportunities in collectable cars, Bruno said Rally will launch its second asset class with high-end memorabilia. He said the Rally Rd. team is also planning retail locations that could lead to additional features, such as gift cards and potentially accepting debit card transactions.
As they continue to scale, Bruno says they are looking at ways to incorporate Dwolla into those efforts.
“That gives us the ability to build on the existing work we have done,” Bruno said. “To the extent we can keep funds in the existing Dwolla ecosystem it makes our operation that much more efficient.”