As an investor in the technology sector, your options are primarily limited to public markets ie once the company has done an IPO. Investors thus miss out on huge opportunity to make money in the private market before the company goes public. Imagine how much value you are losing out by not investing in pre IPO companies such as Uber and Pinterest who are still private, almost 10 years old and worth over $15B.
As more and more companies are able to raise of lot of money from VCs and other private routes, they are now delaying launching an IPO. A lot of times, employees of these companies might be in need of money and might want to sell off their shares in companies.Companies such as Airbnb and Pinterest are arranging formal programs that allow employees to sell shares — an important tool for retaining talent in a hyper competitive market.
EquityZen acts as a matchmaking service that connects employees who want to sell their shares to accredited investors who want to buy such shares. All transactions are done with the permission of the company whose shares are being transacted.
The mission of EquityZen is to democratize private investments traditionally available to investors with big checks and to make them available to qualified investors with small minimums.
Till now the company has investors from over 15 countries who can access deals in some of the best-known companies coming out of Silicon Valley and other tech hubs. EquityZen has conducted 500+ deals with over 30 of the largest private companies (“unicorns”) in the US. The company is currently working with with over half of the biggest unicorns.
EquityZen was founded in May 2013 by Atish Davda, Shriram Bhashyam and Phil Haslett. All three founders have previous experience in financial services and have collectively called New York City home for over 20 years. EquityZen is currently a 15 member strong team.
Last year, EquityZen‘s revenues grew 20x at healthy margins, on the heels of which, they raised a strategic Series A from investors like 500Startups, along with family offices, private equity professionals, and wealth management professionals.