Joe Mahavuthivanij of Mythic Markets tells us how his firm is democratizing access to rare collectibles and investment opportunities.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Joe Mahavuthivanij: Many adjustments have been made since the start of quarantine, but we are safe thanks for asking.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Mythic Markets.
Joe Mahavuthivanij: I was born and raised in the Bay Area (California) and studied Psychology at UCSD. Professionally, my background is in product management and business development at startups of all stages. I also worked in venture capital for a few years before starting Mythic Markets, a rare opportunity to work with amazing partners and experience life on the other side of the table.
If you’ve kept up with the growth of Comic-Con, Marvel, esports, and nostalgic games like Pokemon, you know that pop culture fandom is stronger than ever. As a result, some of those comic books and trading cards you loved as a kid has become pretty valuable. For me, it was Magic: The Gathering collectible cards. I collected for eight years, but it only took a few minutes for someone to steal my car, along with my Magic card collection. Many of them have appreciated more than the stock market, gold, and real estate over the past ten years. Today, those stolen cards would be worth over $1 million.
I’ve always wanted to bring the collection back together while allowing fans to invest in nostalgia.
How does Mythic Markets innovate?
Joe Mahavuthivanij: Our investing platform leverages new regulatory rules (Regulation A+) to make it possible for fans to buy fractional shares in assets previously only available to high net worth investors. This is done through a legal structure that creates a mini-company that owns each asset, is split into shares, and securitized. This structure provides a robust legal framework and corporate governance, protecting shareholders from fraud and disputes with other investors.
Alternative assets like rare and appreciating vintage comics, collectible cards, and fantasy art have been outperforming traditional asset classes like the market, gold, and real estate over the past 10+ years. However, due to their high-value and rarity, these assets have only been available to an elite select few.
We’re democratizing investment access to these beloved pop-culture artifacts, making it possible for the fans who love them to engage deeper into the fandoms they love.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Joe Mahavuthivanij: As a software startup with a small team, working from home was something we quickly adapted to. However, adding new team members and building company culture has been very difficult without having face-to-face contact. Video chatting is ok but doesn’t replace human contact.
We’re looking forward to returning to the office and truly working together again.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Joe Mahavuthivanij: At the start of the pandemic, we decided to extend our runway for as long as possible to weather the quarantine period. To do this, we made the difficult decision to reduce compensation and freeze new hiring. While this meant that we had to put certain initiatives on hold, it forced us to focus on the essential business goals to move the company forward.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Mythic Markets in the future?
Joe Mahavuthivanij: Early on, our team knew that we could choose to come out of COVID looking like Thor from Avengers: Infinity War or Thor from Avengers: Endgame. We’ve embraced exercise and fitness as a company, and as a team, have collectively lost about 150 pounds.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Joe Mahavuthivanij: As alternative asset investing becomes more popular, new platforms have come onto the market focused on their particular niches. The pandemic has driven people to seek out nostalgia, creating exciting new opportunities for our business. Mythic Markets is dedicated to geek fandom, allowing us to offer assets and experiences that resonate across pop cultures.
Your final thoughts?
Joe Mahavuthivanij: The world is a very different place than it was only a year ago. I’d encourage everybody to wake up each day with purpose, and we’ll all get through this together.