A Chat with Daniel Harman, CEO and Founder at Personal Alternative Investment Platform: DarkSquare

Darksquare is an alternative investment platform for individuals, we allow UK residents to invest in assets that would previously have been out of reach. Things like wind/solar farms, forestry/timberland, private credit opportunities etc. Essentially anything that would be too expensive to own outright.

We decided to start the company partly out of frustration at the lack of investment offerings for the ‘average investor’ compared to what hedge funds and the ultra wealthy are able to access.

We’re at an early stage and still pre-launch, the plan is to roll out our beta later this year then launch fully in 2023, keep an eye out for us!
Dark Square - Crunchbase Company Profile & Funding

What do you think makes this company unique?

I think our niche is in the types of assets we offer our customers. There are so many platforms out there focussed on stocks/shares and crypto, we really wanted to stay away from that. Our main aim is to allow individuals to better diversify their portfolios whilst generating decent risk adjusted returns at the same time.

We’re also aiming to improve financial literacy across the board by providing objective, factual research on every single asset listed on our site, as well as a more general guide to investing in alternatives (which will be completely free to access). Our goal really is to be a ‘one stop shop’ for alternative investing, where users can browse curated investment products, do research and learn more about them, and then invest and monitor their previous investments all in one place.

We’re not saying we want to replace stock investing, but we think individuals should be able to diversify their portfolios in the same way hedge funds and the ultra wealthy do.

We’re also very focussed on ESG friendly products, many of our offerings (wind/solar farms, forestry/timberland etc.) will be carbon negative. This allows our users to protect their portfolios and the planet at the same time!


How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

First of all, we exist! We’re only about a year and a half old at present, but in that time we’ve gone from being two guys, an idea and a badly formatted pitch deck to a funded startup on the FCA register that’s ready to launch in the coming weeks.

Both Alex and myself are first time founders, so I’m sure we’ve made more mistakes along the way than we ideally would have, but we’ve learned a lot and are excited to get launched later this year.

We’ve made our first few hires including Renata, our head of marketing and Robin, our frontend/design specialist. The plan is to continue building a great team around us and grow our user base in 2023.

What can we hope to see from Darksquare in the future?

I think the first major event on our timeline is our launch. We expect our full launch to be in early 2023, basically all of our attention is on that right now and then from there we want to scale incrementally across the UK.

Longer term we’d love to target larger ticket investment products. Since we’re focussed on individuals, to begin with our sweet spot will be anything ranging from £500k to approx £5m at a push, but as we grow our user base I think it would be interesting to target investments larger than that.

We could even pivot to encompass more of a B2B model where we target smaller asset/wealth managers who maybe have decent capital behind them, but not enough to take a direct stake in a £500m offshore wind farm, for example.

There’s been so much growth in interest in investing amongst retail customers but most of the investment is going into equities and crypto. Globally, $13.3 trillion is currently invested in alternative assets, and this number is forecast to grow to $23.2 trillion by 2026. We’re hoping retail investors play a role in fuelling that growth.