Meet the Founders: Split

“We wanted to provide another investment class that Kiwis could access; but not just rich Kiwis, all Kiwis”. 

Meet Gabriel Dykes and Alex Thompson, two University of Otago students making it easy for Kiwis to invest in the horticulture sector, through new online investment platform, Split. 

Split is one of the start-up companies joining our Sprout Accelerator 2021 Cohort B intake.

Similar to Sharsies, but designed specifically for the horticulture sector, Split is an easy to use online retail investment platform. The platform lists a range of horticulture investment opportunities from right across New Zealand and provides its users with the opportunity to invest, and buy a ‘split’ of a business, from as little as $250. 

“The platform offers users low buy-ins into the (horticulture) sector as well as the secondary market, so that if and when they want to sell, they can, on the open marketplace.

“It lists various developments, the likes of cherries, blueberries and apricots, so that our users can diversify their risk across multiple developments rather than say having $50,000 caught up in a single cherry orchard” says Alex.

The idea for Split was conceived in January 2020 out of personal frustration, says Gabe. 

“I kept seeing and hearing about profitable horticultural deals, but not knowing how and where to access them for myself. That’s what got me thinking; is there a way to access these deals? How can I do it?” 

The platform, which the team has plans to launch in 2022 solves two key problems. 

“The first one is ‘the investor problem’, which is essentially the lack of stable, high-growth assets available to everyday Kiwi investors. At the moment bank term deposits are through the floor, and while everyone is in shares, these can be volatile. We wanted to provide another investment class that Kiwis could access; but not just rich Kiwis, all Kiwis”. 

The second problem Split looks to solve is ‘the horticulture funding problem’. 

“There has been and continues to be a rise in the horticulture sector in New Zealand, which doesn’t sound like a problem, but the sector needs to be funded. We believe that retail capital can go a long way to helping fund the sector, and that’s where we come in. We match those two problems - and we have the solution. Split”. 

The Split team consists of two people at present, Gabriel and Alex, both currently in their fourth year at University of Otago, with Gabriel studying a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Finance and Alex a Bachelor of Law and Arts - majoring in philosophy, politics and economics. 

“Gabe brings the finance perspective, and the ability to vet a problem and understand what makes a good or bad investment, and I come from a legal perspective and keep Gabe’s mad scientist ideas underwraps” jokes Alex. 

While there are a number of other companies offering online investment platforms, and other companies offering horticulture investment opportunities, Split believes they are the only ones offering crowdfunding or retail investment opportunities into the horticulture sector.

“We’re different from others offering horticulture investment, because everyday investors can access it, rather than just the super wealthy”. 

The business has a clear roadmap for the future, with a medium term goal within the next seven years of becoming a one hundred million dollar fund manager. 

The team says for them, the focus is always around quality rather than quantity when it comes to the investment opportunities they list on their platform. 

“It’s all a balancing act, we want to make it accessible to small and large developers, but with smaller developers comes risk. We want to be putting quality investments to our users. Quality rather than quantity always”.