Austin’s Rocket Dollar Invests Retirement Dollars in Alternative Assets like Cryptocurrency, NFTs, Real Estate, and More

Henry Yoshida, CEO and Co-Founder of Rocket Dollar

After

selling Honest Dollar, the company he co-founded, to Goldman Sachs, Henry

Yoshida recognized another super trend.

He

had spent his career in the financial services industry with a particular focus

on retirement accounts. Before Honest Dollar, Yoshida, a certified financial

planner, had also founded MY Group LLC, a $2.6 billion assets under management

retirement plan advisory firm and he had spent 10 years with Merrill Lynch.

Yoshida,

a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin who also has an MBA from Cornell

University, saw a super trend emerging in people wanting to invest in

alternative assets as part of their retirement planning.

So, in 2018, Yoshida co-founded Rocket Dollar, an Austin-based fintech startup that provides self-directed retirement accounts that let people invest in cryptocurrency, real estate, and other investments. His oldest daughter helped name the company, Yoshida said.

“Our

company lets people go to different places they previously couldn’t go before

just like a rocket can take you further than a plane, a plane can take you

further than a car, and a car can take you further than a bike and so forth,”

Yoshida said.

Yoshida

recently sat down with Silicon Hills News’ Ideas to Invoices podcast to talk

about the growth of Rocket Dollar.

Rocket

Dollar has customers who are investing in NFTs, non-fungible tokens, which is a

derivative of the cryptocurrency space, Yoshida said.

“It’s

a little bit, to be fair, of a gray area right now,” he said. “Cause

technically, you are not allowed to invest IRA dollars into collectibles.”

A

physical collectible could be a painting, a baseball card but now there are

many platforms that are taking these formally collectible investments and

putting them on a platform and chopping them up into pieces of stock, Yoshida

said. NFTs are a digital securitized version of art, which makes it eligible to

be invested in, he said.

“Very

little but we do some of that right now,” Yoshida said.

Some

NFTs are selling for millions of dollars. Yoshida is friends with an

entrepreneur in Austin who owns several of the Bored Ape NFTs, which have

become hot commodities.

“Yuga

Labs, the company behind the now-famous Bored Ape Yacht Club line of NFTs, sold

its collection of 107 Bore Ape NFTs at an online auction with Sotheby’s for

$24.4 million,” according to Blockonomi, a cryptocurrency media site.

Rocket

Dollar also recently announced it has closed on a $8 million Series A round of

funding and it plans to spend the funds to dramatically scale its company,

Yoshida said.

“This

new capital is going to allow us to basically make the platform better and get

ready to grow by 10 times, by 50 times, and by 100 times in terms of the number

of customers, and the assets we have on the platform and so forth,” Yoshida

said. “For us, it’s a great time in our business. We have great new institutional

investors.”

Previously, Rocket Dollar raised money from a lot of individuals and local angel investment, but its last round was made up of coastal institutional investors, Yoshida said. That money will allow Rocket Dollars to take its assets under management from $400 million to $1 billion to $5 billion and beyond, Yoshida said.

The

COVID-19 pandemic also changed the way Rocket Dollar operates. Its downtown office

lease came up for renewal in May of 2020 and the company decided to let its

employees work virtually from home, Yoshida said. All 20 of its employees are

in Austin except for one so the team gets together for meetings and social functions,

he said.

“I think that next year, and as we continue to grow, we’re going to continue to be a remote work company but instead of coming in when you want to the office we maintain, it will be a come in when we have reasons to get together for team meetings, spring planning and so forth.”

For more on Rocket Dollar and Yoshida’s entrepreneurial journey, listen to the rest of the podcast below or on Apple, Google, or wherever you get podcast.


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