Alternative investment platform CAIS received $225 million in fresh capital, bringing the firm’s valuation to more than $1 billion, according to an announcement. The latest funding round was led by alternative asset manager Apollo and private equity investor Motive Partners, with additional cash from investment manager Franklin Templeton. Following the funding round, CAIS is adding Blythe Masters, partner at Motive, and Andrew Gosden, managing director in financial services and strategy for Apollo, to its board of directors
CAIS will be using the latest funding to improve its client experience and eliminate administrative tasks for advisors, according to Shane Williams, chief technology officer at CAIS. It will also be adding to its technology team, which currently stands at 70 employees. Over the past year, CAIS saw its overall employee headcount expand from 75 to 156 employees with plans to have more than 300 employees by the end of 2022.
With the new investments CAIS intends to “jump beyond automation,” said Williams. Areas of development include decentralized finance tools and distributed ledger technology. The firm has identified a use case—the simplification of the purchasing process for alternatives—as a problem in need of a technological solution.
CAIS is considering acquisitions as well as “international strategic partnerships,” he added. The firm, however, did not provide a timeline for when it expected to deploy new products or features.
It will also be developing new systems for educating advisors and managers about CAIS’s product line.
“This investment advances the critical role CAIS plays in revolutionizing how the alternative investment and wealth management communities engage, learn and transact,” said Matt Brown, founder and CEO of CAIS in a statement. Without providing user or transaction counts, the funding announcement noted that transaction volume at CAIS has increased by 65% year-over-year and platform users have increased by 60%.
CAIS’s added funding is yet another sign that interest in alternative asset platforms has grown dramatically in the last year. iCapital Network closed a funding round last year that saw it net $440 million in investments from an international cohort that included Temasek, whose sole shareholder is the Singapore Ministry of Finance. Investors at iCapital Network, now valued at more than $4 billion, include Blackstone, UBS, Goldman Sachs Asset Management and BNY Mellon, among others.
“We believe that individual investors should have access to the same alternative investment solutions as large institutions,” said Jenny Johnson, president and CEO of Franklin Templeton, in a statement. “CAIS shares our goal of making it easier for advisors and individual investors to diversify into alternatives to meet their investment objectives.”