In this part 1, free subscribers get the first 45 minutes of the conversation; paying subscribers also get part 2 in their RSS feed. The second part typically elicits more insights as we get deeper into the conversation.
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Part 1 Show Notes
Jon’s Recent Projects
An Array of Projects
Jon has been involved in many different projects over the past few years, and this continues. Among these are Motion Invest, Site Buddy, and a bunch of other new projects in the works.
To manage all his businesses, Jon set up a holding company and made some of his businesses separate entities. Through this, the main holding company is able to own a chunk of several of the businesses, while the balance is owned by Jon himself - depending on the situation. In terms of management, Jon has individual managers assigned to each project once they reach a certain size.
The projects taking up most of Jon’s time are the newer ones. Jon has been involved in a few SaaS and online business projects lately, and has been focusing on growing them to a point where he can assign a specific manager to each of them.
Jon also decided to get the best features of Rocket Internet and Consolation Software and create a project that focuses on easy-to-build single problem-solving solutions that have a proven product-market fit. It’s been pretty successful so far, despite a slower build because of its SaaS nature. Jon also plans to acquire everything from scratch, instead of building on something that already exists.
Jon is involved in the crypto-world through AdBank, and this takes up around 25% of his time. He has reached 87,000 users on the platform. Those people are users of the BLADE Extension, which blocks ads and replaces them with ads where you receive (AdBank) ADB tokens by viewing them. The browser extension also gives out marketing-type tasks for more tokens, including completing surveys, subscribing to YouTube channels, and retweeting content.
For the Future
Jon is open to rolling some of his businesses up into a publicly-listed company in the future. He would take some of the most attractive pieces of his businesses where he would need to be the "face."
Jon says that a fund in this space, if pulled off correctly, would definitely be something to watch out for. He is considering setting one up, though would prefer to invest in much larger sites than the ones he currently owns - like Motion Invest. However, this is only one of the many ideas he’s come up with over the years, and so it isn’t going to materialize anytime soon. He would very much prefer to leave out the operations of the sites to the owners, as he is not too keen on the operator model where investors would operate the site themselves in exchange for a certain amount of money. Jon says that this model is ripe for problems, because you’re faced with an operator who cares only about a portfolio of sites. As such, conflicts arise and interests are not aligned.
Funds Going Public
Jon is actively in discussions to offer all of his sites to investors and funds, instead of offering them individually. That way, they would be buying up for the fund, instead of just reselling the sites. In addition, they would be able to pick a vertical where they know they could get monetization. In terms of structure, the fund would be a closed fund that won’t pay dividends. Instead, it would offer a significant upside exit opportunity to either take the fund public, or make it a 3-5 year timeline. The latter, Jon says, would best be done as a second fund that would need to gain initial momentum. The former, meanwhile, would require significant costs per year, considering the corporate structure, accounting, and legal requirements that need to be taken care of.
There is a benefit for the whole space if funds go public. People would not need to worry about capital levels and requirements, as they could easily buy stock in small amounts. This would definitely allow this whole space to go mainstream. So far, no one in the space has done this, and it would definitely be something to watch out for. Currently, the closest publicly listed companies are media companies that branched out a bit to the digital asset space.
Episode 25 Part 2
In part 2 of this conversation we discuss:
Site listings and continual improvements at Motion Invest
Using a group fund for website investments
Creating wealth to achieve financial freedom
The value of information
Part 2 is for paying subscribers. Access this by hitting the button below.
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Avi Silverberg (Producer) & Richard Patey (Host)