Tribal Sovereign Wealth Fund Wins Big on Investment

Oct 3, 2019FinTech, News, Tribal Sovereignty

Twelve Clans, Inc, the sovereign wealth fund of the Ho-Chunk Nation, recently exited its investment in Slack Technologies, reportedly earning the Tribe a substantial return on investment.

The Ho-Chunk Nation established Twelve Clans in 2016 with the strategic purpose of diversifying revenue, according to the Tribe’s periodical. “The Ho-Chunk Nation has long known there was a need to diversify the revenue stream outside of gaming,” said Joanne Whiterabbit, treasurer for Twelve Clans. “The question the Nation had to answer was this — how could the Nation best utilize the resources of Ho-Chunk gaming to preserve our future as a Nation?  Answering this question was a challenging, long term process and through continued perseverance, Twelve Clans, Inc. was created.”

The Ho-Chunk Legislature agreed to invest $95 million into Twelve Clans in 2016, with $20 million provided during its first year and $15 million for each of the next five years. The Sovereign Wealth Fund planned to pursue both public and private investments. 

In 2017, Twelve Clans invested in Slack Technologies. By some measures, the company had become the fastest growing application in history with more than 8 million active users and 3 million paid users. Twelve Clans reportedly did very well, successfully exiting the investment right before Slack went public, which turned out great in hindsight. Slack’s share price has dropped from about $39 per share in June to under $25 per share over the last week.

None of this would have been possible if the Ho-Chunk Nation did not establish Twelve Clans, but, as the Tribe’s periodical stated in 2016, the Legislature’s decision to establish Twelve Clans “started a whole new era in financial sovereignty.”

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