Halo Investing, a financial platform designed to provide access to impactful investment opportunities previously unavailable to most investors, was created in Chicago by Jason Barsema and his team to level the playing field when it comes to investing.
“Halo is a mission-driven company founded on the premise of putting impact before profits,” says Barsema, Halo’s co-founder and president. “We came together to specifically solve the savings crisis in America, offering investors of all wallet sizes access to a more efficient and sufficient savings product called a structured note. Prior to Halo, structured notes used to cost upwards of $3 million to buy. However, with Halo's innovations, that minimum investment size is now $1,000.”
While the vision and execution of democratizing a $3 trillion market that was once out of reach for 99 percent of the world has helped lead Halo to being ranked as one of the top FinTechs in the U.S., Barsema and his team firmly believe it's their mission-driven approach and the people behind the Halo logo who got it to where it is today.
Halo’s platform leverages analytics to manage structured note portfolios for clients and connects investors to structured products offered by financial institutions, enabling and investors to access structured notes, market-linked CDs, buffered exchange traded funds and annuities, as well as a suite of tools to analyze, customize, execute and manage protective investment product for their portfolios.
Halo was in a bit of a unique situation, having never needed to raise a lot of capital prior to its recently completed Series C round, where it raised more than $100 million from some of the world's premier institutional investors.
“Prior to that raise, we had only raised $18 million, which enabled Halo to expand across five continents,” Barsema says. “We wanted to raise capital to further Halo's international expansion to countries such as the UAE, expand Halo's product set, and bring more innovations into the products we serve today. We also wanted to bring more institutional investors onto the cap table, such as Owl Capital, Mubadala and Koch Industries, who could help further Halo's initiative of democratizing this crucial investment product to so many investors world-wide.”
With its traction, Barsema and his team had no shortage of potential investors.
“We have a diverse group who can bring different perspectives and value-add, which was critical for our process,” Barsema says. “Overall, the capital raise went very smoothly.”
The only issues were time and preparation.
“It always takes time to bring so many large institutional investors together,” Barsema says. “If you look at our cap table, you have the world's largest insurance company in Allianz, one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds in Mubadala, and America's largest private company in Koch all involved. All were absolutely amazing to work with, and continue to be amazing, but it takes time organizing everyone and creativity to ensure everyone's interests are aligned.”
If he were to do anything different, he’d likely begin the process sooner.
“I would just advise all entrepreneurs — no matter what your stage or your success is — to start the process early, because it takes time, and you never want to close a round too late. We closed ours with two years of runway left in the bank, which enabled us to select the best investors that fit Halo's needs, versus being rushed in the process.”
With the funding in place, Halo plans to use the capital to further expand internationally, adding more products to the Halo Marketplace, and deliver more innovation to the core products and markets the company serves today.
“That's what I'm personally laser-focused on — bringing in more innovation to be able to get these down to a dollar,” Barsema says. “Bring more issuers onto the platform, create more innovations to allow these products to be more accessible, more efficient, more transparent, more liquid. That's where the bulk of the proceeds will go and that's the exciting part of what we're doing.”
Barsema spoke on the Smart Business Dealmakers Podcast about Halo’s success, what it’s taken to get them where they are today and what the future has in store.