Home Startup TheCarCrowd Wants to Bring Passion Investing to the UAE

TheCarCrowd Wants to Bring Passion Investing to the UAE

David Spickett, founder of the UK-based TheCarCrowd, wants to bring fractional investing in classic cars to the UAE.

By Inc.Arabia Staff

“I’ve always been a petrolhead,” David Spickett, founder of TheCarCrowd, tells us in a video interview, which, ironically, he has to take sitting in a car outside one of the most popular gathering places for car aficionados in Dubai.  

An engineer by trade, Spickett worked in financial services for 20 years before starting up TheCarCrowd four years ago in the UK. Inspired by alternative investment platforms like MasterWorks and Rally Road in the US, Spickett wanted to democratize passion investing while creating a community around classic cars.  

TheCarCrowd, an investing platform that offers users fractional shares in passion assets, is largely inspired by Spickett’s longtime dream of owning a classic car collection.  

“We want to allow people to own something that they’re really passionate about and benefit from its future appreciation,” says Spickett.  

David Spickett, founder of TheCarCrowd. David Spickett, founder of TheCarCrowd

TheCarCrowd has mobilized GBP 2.5 million worth of investment in 30 cars to date. It operates direct-to-client in the UK and has partnered up with alternative investment platforms in mainland Europe.  

But Spickett is clear that TheCarCrowd, which has raised a little over GBP 1 million to date, is not just about investing. In the UK, the company knows all of its investors personally and organizes regular events at its Motor Museum, which houses all the cars in its portfolio.  

“Our aim is to have these community hubs around the world where people can see their cars,” Spickett tells us, stressing that one of the benefits of investing in cars is being able to see them. 

TheCarCrowd, which recently earned Sharia compliance from the Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB), is also eyeing expansion into the UAE. 

“Our principles have always been around creating a sustainable community and preserving motoring heritage, so we’re a natural fit for ethical investment,” he tells us.  

Drawn by the UAE’s car culture, Spickett spent a week visiting spots favored among car enthusiasts in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, including Flat Twelve Café, DRVN, and First Motors, while attending the Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League’s inaugural race at Yas Marina Circuit. He is currently in talks with alternative investment platforms in the UAE.  

“Car culture is growing in the UAE, which makes it a natural progression for us to move here,” says Spickett. He tells us that the broader GCC will likely be TheCarCrowd’s next step, with the potential for expansion into North Africa as well.  

Democratizing Investing 

Spickett tells us that one of TheCarCrowd’s aims is to democratize investing in assets traditionally reserved for the ultra-wealthy.  

“There are a few things that put people off investing in classic cars, which is a shame because it is one of the highest-performing asset classes. Previously it's been reserved for the ultra-high net worth because you have to afford to be able to buy, store, and insure the car. You also need a lot of expert knowledge to source the right cars,” he tells us.  

Beyond just investing, TheCarCrowd has also developed a proprietary AI algorithm to help them identify the next classics.  

Since its inception, the startup has grown to boast an investor base of over 800 people. More importantly, with a portfolio that has averaged returns in the teens, it’s caught the eye of the Ultra-High Net Worth (UHNW) looking to diversify their portfolios. The team has since evolved the product to meet growing demand from High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) and Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWI) by offering bigger tickets.  

The company is also launching its first NFT by the end of 2024 and developing a small, traditional fund of GBP 10 million targeting professional investors, family offices, and UHNWI for a minimum investment of GBP 125,000.  

The Rise of Passion Investing 

The passion investing market includes wine and whiskey, art, cars, coins, cards, jewelry, handbags, and watches. These items, traditionally reserved for the wealthy, come with a host of risks, including assigning value to assets and ease of liquidating them, as well as high potential for fraud.  

But they can also yield substantial returns if luxury handbags are anything to go by, with Hermes’ Birkin bags appreciating up to 17% in some cases. In fact, according to a report by Knight Frank, investments in classic cars appreciated by 25% in 2022, coming second only to art among passion assets.   

“Alternative investment in general has grown massively,” Spickett tells us. “There’s a more educated audience that wants to diversify sensibly into asset-backed investments with utility, like classic cars.”  

To him, the UAE is the ideal market, not just because of its car culture, but also because of the rate of tech adoption.  

 “When I was here seven years ago, it was about convincing people. Now, it’s the other way around--the region is at the forefront of thought leadership around the digital revolution and embracing technologies like distributed ledgers,” he says. “It’s no longer following, it’s leading.” 

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