Four Horsemen Investments: How We Got Started
Thomas Glassman, one of the co-founding members, reflects on the origins of 4HI. Thomas was instrumental in laying the groundwork for Four Horsemen to grow into the company that it is today. Upon, graduating from the University of Puget Sound Thomas attended Seattle University. At Seatle University Thomas earned his Master of Science in Finance and a Juris Doctor (J.D.) in Law. Since 2017, Thomas has been at FINRA in Boston Massachusets. Thomas has worked his way up to become a cause examiner and helps ensure the integrity of U.S. brokerage deals.
Four Horsemen Investments is eternally grateful for the work Thomas did in the early years of 4HI and his continued support.
How we got started:
Remember, first, this was 2008. I walked into diversions and stood, shocked, watching the wall-mounted TV say that the DJI had dropped almost 800 points. The unemployment rate was in double digits, people were losing their homes, and we were upperclassman studying business, economics, and finance. If we wanted to have jobs when we graduated, we were going to have to have a very unique experience or create something for ourselves.
Jiri, Michael, Max, and I had taken several classes together. Lynda approached us about starting a research project related to micro-lending (which none of us had ever heard of). At the time, companies like Kiva were relatively new. It felt as though most of the news regarding small pooled-loans to low-income individuals and businesses were from newspapers or the lenders themselves. I don’t recall exactly how we discovered Prosper and Lending Club, but they had been founded right around the same time. We planned to look into the opportunities these Firms provided an American marketplace. What is the best way to study something like this? Get some money and invest ourselves.
No offense intended, but we all saw the UPS investment club as feckless and non-entrepreneurial. Much larger universities had started student-managed investment funds. Even more on the nose, some of the Universities started student-managed debt funds. These funds used a percentage of the University’s endowment to allow students to get real experience and help the University. We put together an investment plan, research proposal, and presentation for Sherry Mondou. I met with her in her office and, after about 30 seconds, it was obvious she was not a horsemen. She was dismissive and condescending, suggesting we start an “investment club,” and “buy pizza” with our investment returns.
Well, we were UPS kids. We were told to learn, create, destroy, and organize. Within a month, we had opened a 501(c)(3), created business plans, opened accounts, and started raising money (with Lynda’s help). With an eye toward the future, we put very few restrictions on our investment strategy. Except, of course, no investment returns would EVER be used to buy pizza.
With a small amount of money, we made our first investments and watched them like a hawk. We learned that opening and running businesses take a lot more than a passion for the area you are interested in. We learned about taxes, hiring, and the law. We all were passionate about charity and wanted to find ways to use this company to help others while being successful. We quickly set the tone that traditional finance had been used almost exclusively to acquire things for the user
Lynda and I co-authored a paper about the entire process which I presented at the International Business and Finance Conference in Costa Rica. We swept the research and presentation awards and were off and running.
How has 4HI affected my life?
Every job I have ever interviewed for, every graduate school scholarship I have gotten, every bio I have to provide someone, includes 4HI. This is not me bringing it up, this is who I am now. People WILL ask you about it during interviews. People WILL see it on your resume’ and use it as a factor when considering you for scholarships and grants. People WILL introduce you on stage with it in your bio.
As I alluded to earlier, when you are USING finance to create more for charity, it puts the entire industry in a completely different perspective. The better we did, the more people we could help. I think it has led me to become a regulator and a lawyer. I now investigate and prosecute those who take advantage of the system.