Australian cricketer Steve Smith has once again dived into the world of speculative startup investing, sinking six-figures into an e-commerce company.
According to the Australian Financial Review, Smith has loaded up on shares of Cashrewards as part of their $5.65 million pre-IPO funding round in August. He reportedly paid $200,000 for a total of 700,000 shares, making it his largest publicly-known outlay to date.
Cashrewards is an online shopping rewards program that enables users to get an amount of cashback instantly when shopping at one of their 1,400 partner retailers. The company’s business model involves receiving a commission from the retailers when a purchase is made by a Cashrewards member, similar to a finder’s fee, then that commission is split with the member as an incentive for using the platform.
Also investing in the company as part of the recent funding round was the Fitzpatrick family office, which co-founded Wotif.com. The platform’s fundraising comes as a final cash injection prior to an anticipated listing on the ASX in the near-term. The IPO, which is being handled by Moelis and Ord Minnett, is expected to see the company raise roughly $40 million for a market capitalisation of between $120 million and $150 million.
It’s unclear how much Steve Smith stands to gain if and when Cashrewards goes public, but it wouldn’t be the first time he’s hit an investment for six. His off-field abilities were first confirmed with his success investing in cult mattress retailer Koala, which saw his $100,000 outlay for a 10% stake grow to be worth a whopping $13.7 million earlier this year. As of early 2020, Koala claims to have sold over 300,000 mattresses, and I’d speculate that their sales rate has only increased with Australia spending more time at home in 2020.
Less publicised is his early investment in online photography marketplace Snappr in 2016, which he also put $100,000 into. To date, this stake has seen growth of around 600%. Snappr – which calls itself “the Uber of photography” – contracts freelance photographers and matches them to users looking to get shots taken. They claim to have matched photographers to jobs for 172 of the Fortune 500 companies and shoots for over 50,000 restaurant menus, all coordinated by their algorithm. Smith’s purchase in 2016 was in for a 4% stake in the company, at which point almost no photoshoots had taken place yet.
Combined with his cricket-related income and endorsements, this hustle off the field has seen the batsman’s wealth grow to lucrative heights. In the AFR’s Young Rich List for 2019, he had an estimated net worth of $31 million – enough to make him one of the wealthiest Australians under 40. The AFR believes that Smith’s Koala gain alone has earned him more than his entire cricketing career. Ex-captain Michael Clarke was the only cricketer to trump him on the list, with a net worth of $42 million and 11 more years under his belt.
We’ll be watching Steve Smith’s future investing antics with great interest. For an in-depth look at his huge Koala windfall, read the full story here.