Ex-Bridgewater Exec Eyes Private Equity ETF With $8M Raise

The firm plans to launch ETFs that replicate alternative investment strategies.

daria
|
Reviewed by: Lisa Barr
,
Edited by: Lisa Barr

Unlimited, an investment firm led by ex-Bridgewater Associates executive Bob Elliott, has completed its Series A financing round, raising $8 million in two months, the company said on Tuesday. The funding was led by FirstMark Capital and Citi Ventures, plus additional support from Material through convertible notes. 

Unlimited promises to provide all investors with exposure to alternative investment strategies, without the fees and tax implications of traditional fund structures. The latest funding will enable Unlimited to continue developing and launching the low-cost alternative strategy-tracking exchange-traded funds and leveraging its proprietary return replication technology. These ETFs will focus on global macro, long/short equity and lower beta strategies. 

"We have heard from investors and financial advisors who want access to more alternative strategies in tax-efficient, low-cost and highly liquid products," said Bob Elliott, CEO and chief investment officer of Unlimited. "This Series A financing will help bring those products to market for the benefit of all investors as well as allow us to expand our already significant thought leadership platform." 

Unlimited's approach has garnered attention and support from prominent investors. The venture capital firms backing Elliott and his three-person team clearly see synergies between the ETF industry’s growth trajectory and their traditional investment thesis. 

“So excited to lead the @UnlimitedFnds Series A which brings a classic venture theme (a disruptive value prop driven by a technical breakthrough) and applies it to the multi trillion $ investment management market. @BobEUnlimited and team are poised to reinvent this category,” Adam Nelson tweeted on Tuesday. 

Unlimited's first investment product, the Unlimited HFND Multi-Strategy Return Tracker ETF (HFND), launched in October 2022. It’s down 0.69% year to date. The fund uses Unlimited's proprietary technology to replicate the risk/return profile of the gross-of-fees returns of the hedge fund industry.  

Adam Nelson from FirstMark and Luis Valdich from Citi Ventures are joining Unlimited's board of directors as part of the Series A financing. 

“Having met Bob prior to the launch of HFND, we were intrigued about the founder-product fit and the team’s vision of democratizing access to gross-of-fees hedge fund index returns,” said Valdich, managing director of Citi Ventures, in the company’s statement. “We stayed close to Unlimited, and seeing how quickly HFND has been gaining traction, we are excited to co-lead this Series A round to help accelerate its journey.” 

Ambitious Plans 

Unlimited's vision extends beyond hedge funds. The firm plans to expand into other alternative investment sectors such as private equity, venture capital and private credit, using the same technology that has already disrupted the hedge fund industry.  

By creating portfolios of companies that resemble those targeted by private equity and venture capital firms, Unlimited wants to offer investors the opportunity to access these investment areas in a cost-effective and tax-efficient manner. 

Unlimited has ambitious plans beyond product development. The firm intends to expand its presence on social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as enhance its weekly newsletter. By offering unique perspectives on macroeconomic trends, capital markets commentary and data-driven investing topics, Unlimited aims to deepen its partnership with financial advisors and provide valuable insights beyond its investment products. 

Bob Elliott, an experienced hedge fund strategist and former member of Bridgewater Associates' investment committee, also wants to democratize access to quality investment research along with alternative investments. 

“Most advisors that are out there are quite sophisticated, as sophisticated as institutional investors, but they are chronically underserved in terms of getting access to high quality research and information perspective about the macro economy and investing,” Elliott told etf.com.  

“When I was at Bridgewater, a big part of my job was writing something called Daily Observations, which is a very well-read publication in the institutional community,” he added. “So I think that was very important for many institutional investors, and I see a gap in the market there.” 

Elliott plans to expand his team over the next few years to support these goals. 

He describes the asset management world as stuck in the past and ETF structures as the perfect vehicles to disrupt it. 

“What venture investors are doing is seeing all the places where technology innovation is able to challenge incumbents. And if you look at the asset management world, today it looks the same as it did 40 years ago. The price structure is the same, the asset management approaches are the same; it all looks the same,” Elliott noted. “And so of course, it's very ripe for disruption from technology and innovation.” 

 

Contact Daria Solovieva at [email protected] 

Daria Solovieva is a former managing editor at etf.com. Before joining etf.com, she worked as a financial journalist for leading publications all over the world, including Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and others.