Dennis Crowley, President of Private Markets for Trellis, a digital investment firm offering a comprehensive, secure solution for investors, issuers, and intermediaries, explains how the platform’s integration with CrowdSmart helps guide better investment decisions for its clients. An expert in security, Dennis was the founder of Apollo Security International, earned a JD, a CSS in Business Administration from Harvard, and a bachelor’s from UMass Amherst in sports management.
Dana LeVan, VP of Growth, CrowdSmart:
It seems that your company, Trellis, has taken advantage of an opportunity, one that leverages the digital revolution to become a leader in the digital investment revolution. Tell us how that works.
We created a platform for managing the private investment process by automating what are a series of multiple, separate analog processes into one workflow. For example, we took the pitch deck and the emails with file attachments – all very insecure processes – and built a highly secure blockchain platform, with an easily accessible user interface to facilitate the flow of information. We also incorporated validation of investors and identity management, which are usually undertaken by separate providers, into the platform. Basically, we digitized an analog world by building one secure platform for maintaining documents and storage, and for facilitating private transactions.
What led you to integrate CrowdSmart into the Trellis platform?
For private investments, there are analyst reports; you can go into Bloomberg or Yahoo and get reports. You can get opinions and analysis. But for a privately held security, there is no analysis. We built a mini version of the EDGAR government database, providing key files and information before you would make a decision. But you’re alone. There is no one to talk to after you have read a few analyst reports.
Our original idea was that we would hire experts to get together and opine on the investment and create a report together. This meant that people would have to pay for the experts as well as for Trellis, so that didn’t work.
With CrowdSmart’s technology, you could just plug into our system and press a little button that says Evaluate. You don’t have to pay the experts anymore; anyone can come in and share their data and opinions and feedback. You can see other people’s opinions. We built the technology and now CrowdSmart is in our system. We’re at a stage now where we need to show the value proposition to our customers.
And what is the Trellis value proposition?
We built the functionality for private CrowdSmart evaluations, so anyone who comes in as an investor can see a CrowdSmart score on an evaluation and quickly base a decision. Let’s say 7 to 9 people are doing due diligence, and they decide they are not going to do any deals unless the score is 8 or better. If the score is lower, they can decide whether they need more information, whether they can work with the client to improve, or just get onto the next deal.
The advantage with CrowdSmart is that sometimes these deals can take weeks to resolve because no one wants to object to a partner’s judgment. This doesn’t happen with CrowdSmart because participants share their insights and opinions anonymously. Most people don’t get negative feedback because no one likes to tell you. With CrowdSmart, we can expedite the decision-making process in what could take weeks or months for what might just be a rejection.
Together with CrowdSmart, Trellis becomes your middle office. We do all the middle office work, put your presentation together, put it in your company portal, and your team can use CrowdSmart to evaluate it. You’re four meetings ahead.
Those are the value propositions making this partnership a good deal for both of us.