June 28 - This Week in Alternative Investments

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  • Private credit supplants private equity

  • Anthropic’s new model pulls ahead

  • London’s June art auctions

  • Mt. Gox still haunting Bitcoin

Plus: SpaceX’s new valuation, a Harry Potter record, a16z’s new style, retail real estate on the upswing, venture goes indie and much more.


$61,356 (-5.6% weekly)
$3,437 (-2.5% weekly)
18,075.20 (+1.3% weekly)

*as of market close June 27


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Market Updates


Private credit funds are delivering higher returns than their private equity counterparts. After ending 2023 with the highest annual returns of any class of private funds, private credit continued to outperform in the first quarter of 2024. Senior, mezzanine and distressed debt all eclipsed every category of private equity. Within private equity, after a rough 2023, venture capital beat out buyout funds in Q1, and has now edged in front when going back to 2019. But overall, in this volatile, high interest rate environment, private credit has seen a more consistent performance.

AI startup Anthropic’s new model is gaining on its rivals. Claude 3.5 Sonnet, which was released last week, is now ranked #1 in a number of metrics on benchmarking site LMSYS, and is #2 overall, behind only OpenAI’s GPT-4o. The newest version of Claude is running at twice the speed - and for one-fifth of the cost - of its previous model. Anthropic has received funding from both Amazon and Google, and could be poised to challenge OpenAI in the race for market dominance.

London’s June art auction season saw mixed results. Following a largely disappointing New York spring art season, the major London auctions, which focused on modern and contemporary art, did not provide much of a turnaround. Sotheby’s evening auction’s highlight was the $20 million sale of a Basquiat, even though the total sale fell short of the high estimate. At Christie’s, some artists born in the 90s, including Daisy Parris, Alia Ahmad and Sophia Loeb, all saw sales way above estimates, perhaps signaling a turn in the market towards younger, more contemporary artists.

Mt. Gox will distribute $9 billion worth of Bitcoin starting in July. The defunct Bitcoin exchange, which shut down after a major hack in 2014, is finally set to distribute what remains of its assets to creditors. Along with some cash and other crypto, there’s 142,000 BTC that will be sent to creditors between July and October. Given that people have been waiting nearly a decade to receive their crypto back, the market is anticipating that many will sell as soon as they get a chance, and the sale will send prices down. The news of the distribution itself fueled a price drop of close to 3%, and the asset now sits around 15% below its all-time high.

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In this episode of Smart Humans, Slava Rubin talks with Groundfloor CEO Brian Dally about capturing yield via real estate investing and predicting the US economy.


📝 Top Stories


  • Happy July 4th: The only privately held known copy of a rare broadside printing of the Declaration of Independence sold for $3.36 million at Sotheby’s this week, below the high estimate of $5 million.

  • SpaceX’s value keeps growing: The Elon Musk-led company is reportedly preparing a tender offer that will value the company at $210 billion, making it the most valuable private company in U.S. history.

  • a16z moving into private equity: The VC giant Andreessen Horowitz is planning to launch its first ever private equity fund, as it continues to expand its business beyond early-stage startup investing.

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 🎨 Art


  • A Harry Potter record: The original cover art for the first edition of the first Harry Potter book sold for $1.9 million, more than three times the high estimate, and became the most valuable Harry Potter item ever sold.


  • Comic books falter: A number of high-end vintage comics sold for significantly less than their previous sales, indicating a further drop in the market since pandemic-era highs.

  • Princess Diana auction: The largest collection of her personal items ever auctioned brought in more than $4 million, including two gowns that went for $910,000 and $780,000, both well above pre-auction estimates.

  • Blue suede shoes: An actual pair that Elvis wore during the 1950s is being auctioned today with a pre-auction estimate of between £100,000 and £120,000.

🪙 Crypto

  • Ethereum ETFs incoming?: Reuters reported that the SEC could approve the highly anticipated spot Ethereum ETFs as soon as July 4, which could boost to the flagging crypto market.

💵 Private Credit

  • $21 billion fund: HPS Investment Partners announced a $21.1 billion direct lending fund, one of the biggest ever raised, another sign of increasing investor demand for private credit.

🏡 Real Estate

  • Retail space in demand: 98% of retail space at shopping centers is being leased within 9 months of becoming available, a record-high, as overall leasing activity hits its fastest pace in decades.

  • Home construction slows: Overall housing starts fell by 5.5% in May and are down 19.3% year-over-year, while building permits are down 3.8% monthly and 9.5% year-over-year.

🚀 Venture Capital

(Wall Street Journal)

  • 2021 problems: Venture funds that started in 2021 are underperforming, which has hurt fundraising, as investors are losing patience and worried about future markdowns in value.

  • Pitchbook’s mid-year update: Only 181 funds have closed so far in 2024, putting it on pace for the lowest number in a decade, but the average fund size has increased to $153.5 million, compared to $149.4 million in 2023. However, this is largely because of a16z’s $7.2 billion Q1 raise - newer, smaller firms are having trouble raising funds at all.

  • A24’s fundraise: As a rare success story in the struggling moviegoing business, the indie movie studio has reportedly raised $250 million at a $3.25 billion valuation, two years after raising $225 million at a $2.5 billion valuation.

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