Direct Lending Investments, LLC, is a Los Angeles-based hedge fund that invests in direct loans made to businesses online, also called peer-to-peer lending. The fund owns a diversified pool of high-yielding, 6-12 month duration business notes. The notes are purchased from several lenders, such as QuarterSpot and IOU Central. These lenders make loans to qualified, established businesses. The fund was launched in December 2009 and currently has $21 million assets under management.
While DLI was a prestigious hedge fund that was very well known and respected in the online lending community, online lending as a whole did not have widespread adoption within the high net worth and institutional investor community, as it was an unknown commodity at the time the engagement began. As a newcomer to the hedge fund industry, the company experienced the following challenges:
- While DLI had more knowledge and was an objective source, company leadership was being overshadowed in the media by established online lenders, keeping the company and the ability to invest in these kinds of assets off media and investor radars.
- During the early days of internet financing there were a good deal of misconceptions and a general lack of knowledge about online lending.
- As a new hedge fund that specialized in an emerging fixed income asset class, DLI needed the opportunity to show their level of market knowledge to build investor confidence and openness to an unknown commodity.
- It was critical to have both a relationship and presence with leading media that cover family office, financial advisors and institutional investment in addition to securing mainstream press.
- Competition for stories and attention among those groups of reporters is high.
As a way to increase their overall presence, build relationships and gain recognition from the investment community and media, Direct Lending brought Leverage PR on to increase awareness about the fund and its founder and CEO, Brendan Ross. To achieve their business objectives, Leverage PR did the following:
- Developed a strategic public relations plan that began by highlighting Brendan’s knowledge of the markets in which his fund invested (small business and online lending sectors) to build his overall presence and showcase his expertise among general and industry media.
- After initial industry awareness was achieved, we hand-picked a targeted list of reporters at prominent family office, financial advisor-facing and institutional investor publications to build relationships and secure coverage.
- Helped to build additional relationships by scheduling desk side briefings with investment-facing media and analysts.
- Developed and pitched story angles utilizing Direct Lending’s distinctive comparative data and investment strategy to secure bylined articles and placements in top-tier publications across the nation.
- Strategically targeted publications and pinpointed reporters who we felt would be receptive to this new asset class online lending created.
Leverage PR helped Direct Lending Investments showcase their expertise increasing their overall presence in the market. As a high return (10-12% ROI) fixed income investment vehicle, with extensive knowledge and expertise in the industry, DLI experienced a good deal of business and media success. In addition to becoming a go-to source for online lending, DLI experienced the following results:
- Saw a 947.6% increase in assets under management from $21 million the beginning of 2014 shortly after engaging to $220 million AUM.
- Achieved an ad equivalency of more than $240,000.
- Secured desk side briefings with leading analysts MorningStar and FundFire.
- Secured targeted coverage in top-tier investor media such as InvestmentNews, FinAlternatives, Private Wealth, CNBC, Investors Business Daily and many others.
- Secured media coverage in top-tier outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, American Banker, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Forbes and others.
- Established a reputation of being an industry thought leader, which led to inbound leads from online lenders, investors and other key stakeholders.