Revisiting my Hedonova Review
Some red flags emerge around a promising alternative investment hedge fund
In October 2021, I published a review of Hedonova, a hedge fund offering investors exposure to a range of alternative assets. When writing reviews for YieldTalk, I rely heavily on information published on a platform’s website, information received by email or phone from company representatives, and where possible relevant SEC and other regulatory findings.
Based on my initial research and phone conversations with a Hedonova representative, I was comfortable enough with Hedonova to make a small personal investment ($1,000). Hedonova also became a referral partner with YieldTalk, paying a commission for investor referrals (affiliate revenue is one of the main ways I fund YieldTalk), and they also paid a fee to be listed as a “Featured Review” on the YieldTalk website.
Recently I’ve learned some new information that leaves me with significant concerns about Hedonova, to the point that I would no longer choose to make an investment myself (and in fact have requested a withdrawal [Update. I have received my full withdrawal.]).
On the surface, Hedonova presents as a legitimate (if quite young) hedge fund, but if you dig a bit deeper, some red flags emerge. For example, several of the pictures used for key executives (both on social media and on the Hedonova website) are either stock photos or have been plagiarized from other websites:
The photo used for this bio page of Hedonova’s CEO, Alexander Cavendish, which is the first result on Google for “Alexander Cavendish Hedonova” is from a stock photo also used for an article from The Princeton Review. (Hedonova says this web page is still a draft with the default image in place.)
The photo used in the LinkedIn profile for Richard Gerber, listed as Hedonova’s Technology director, is recycled from a McKinsey blog post about diversity
The photo used for Suman Bannerjee, listed as Hedonova’s co-founder and Chief Investment Officer, also appears on this website about headshot backgrounds
The issue goes beyond just questionable photo choices. Key Hedonova team members are supposedly affiliated with well-known firms (like UBS and Morgan Stanley) and universities (like Zurich’s ETH), yet it’s nearly impossible to find any public information to validate those pedigrees, which is quite unusual for a tech-savvy and global team.
While searching Google for more information about Hedonova’s team, I also came across several answers on Quora from Hedonova’s CEO, Alexander Cavendish. At least two of the answers are clearly plagiarized from other publications:
This answer about Bill Gates’ art collection appears to just be copied wholesale from another website
This answer about hedge funds is just copied verbatim from a Medium post by someone else
Along similar lines, a YieldTalk reader helpfully pointed me to this twitter thread detailing someone else’s concerns about Hedonova.
In my conversations (mostly via email) with Hedonova, they claim to have explanations for all of these issues, but at this point there are just too many red flags to credibly be explained away. I have refunded the outstanding advertising fees paid by Hedonova, and removed the affiliate link from the review, as well as reduced the rating.
Although the reviews on YieldTalk are not intended to be investment advice, because Hedonova was featured quite prominently on the YieldTalk website and in our email newsletter, I felt obligated to share more context about the change in rating. As a reminder, you should always do your own research before making any investment decision, and please don’t invest more than you can afford to lose in any particular investment.
To be clear, I could absolutely be wrong about Hedonova! Content on this website is just personal opinion, and presented for entertainment and informational purposes. I will gladly revisit the Hedonova review again if additional relevant information surfaces.
If you have also made an investment with Hedonova, I encourage you to do your own research to determine whether to keep your investment in place. I am not an investment advisor, and cannot provide personal guidance on anyone’s specific financial situation.
Want to learn more but aren’t sure where to start? You can explore 166 crowdfunding investment platforms in our database and learn more about the nuts and bolts of crowdfunding and alternative investing on our blog. Did you know you can use a self-directed retirement account to invest in many alternative investments? Rocket Dollar makes it easy, and when you sign up using that link you'll be helping to support YieldTalk.
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