October 20th, 2023 - This Week in Alternative Investments

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Bite sized market updates

A miniature X-wing used in “Star Wars” sold for over $3 million. The prop - once thought lost - was only re-discovered last year.

Existing-home sales dropped to a 13-year low. Sales in September dropped 15.4% year-over-year and mortgage demand is at its lowest since 1995.

New York is suing the crypto firms at the heart of a $1 billion loss. The targeted companies are Gemini, Genesis, DCG and two of its executives.

Venture capital fundraising is on pace to drop 67% this year. The number of funds is also on track to be the lowest since 2013.

Plus: A $62 million Rothschild family auction, the world’s most valuable whiskey, declining homebuilder sentiment and more.


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Smart Humans Podcast

Smart Humans explores the world of alternative investments. From Venture to Collectibles, Real Estate to Art and beyond - we discuss a new world of investment opportunities and the catalysts that impact their demand.

In this week's episode of Smart Humans, Slava Rubin talks with Jason Calacanis about angel investing, the state of venture capital, and trusting the process.

A miniature X-wing used in “Star Wars” sold for over $3 million

Market Updates

A starfighter prop from the original “Star Wars” sold for $3.135 million. A 20-inch model of an X-wing that was part the climactic scene from the 1977 film, the ship is one of only four used in filming. It had been presumed lost for decades until it was discovered after the death of its owner, Oscar-nominated modelmaker Greg Jein. The auction of Jein’s collection, which also included an original Stormtrooper costume that sold for $645,000, netted a total of $13.6 million.

Sales of previously owned homes dropped to their lowest level since October 2010. According to the National Association of Realtors, the rate of sales dipped 2% from August to September and is 15.4% lower than it was this time last year and 40% lower than it was two years ago. Inventory is also down 8% since this time last year and demand for mortgages is at its lowest point since 1995. Until mortgage rates start falling, there is not likely to be a turnaround in the market any time soon.

Crypto companies Genesis, Gemini and DCG were sued by the New York Attorney General. They are being accused of misleading investors, leading to the loss of $1 billion due to the collapse of the Gemini Earn program. In it, the crypto exchange Gemini lent money to now-defunct crypto lender Genesis, which lost the money when Three Arrows Capital and Alameda Research/FTX went bankrupt. The lawsuit accuses Gemini of misleading marketing and Gemini and its parent company DCG (and two DCG executives) of fraudulently covering up the billion-dollar loss. In addition to seeking restitution, the state is hoping to ban the companies from the investment industry in New York.

Venture capital is seeing a huge drop in fundraising and a 10-year low in fund count. This is according to the newly released Pitchbook-NVCA Venture Monitor, which says that VC fundraising is on pace to drop 67% from last year’s levels. The projected fund count of 459 would be the lowest since 2013 and exit activity is also at the lowest levels in a decade. These declines make sense as they follow heavy losses in the sector over the past twelve months.


Research and Insights from the Vincent team


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