EquityZen: A new way to connect shareholders and investors

Efma feature

13 March 2018

Asa Lieberman, analyst at EquityZen, predicts how partnerships between banks and fintechs could transform the investment sector ahead of Efma’s Bank + Fintech event.

Tell us about EquityZen and what it aims to achieve.

EquityZen is building private markets for the public. Our platform for company-approved private transactions in pre-IPO technology companies serves more than 25,000 accredited investors from around the globe, as well as more than 10,000 shareholders from many of the largest unicorns whose apps are already popular with consumers. Our mission is to build a private stock exchange in a way that helps all key stakeholders, including the shareholder, the company, and the investor. Historically, these markets have only been accessible to the ultra-wealthy – people who could write a check for more than US$20million. Our platform allows access to trading late-stage proven private companies for US$20,000, with company approval. Founded in 2013, we have already completed over 3,500 transactions in 100 high-growth companies. The ultimate achievement will be when all investors are able to invest in assets that were previously deemed illiquid via our online, secure and simple platform.

What makes your organization unique? 

While our technology creates an efficient marketplace that delights both our shareholders and investors, our approach is unique because we work directly with the companies themselves. Without us, buyers and sellers may be forced to deal with nefarious middlemen who offer risky derivative contracts. In the not too distant past, what we call Private Markets 1.0, secondary transactions were held in low-esteem by private companies looking to protect their company from these questionable actors. Instead, EquityZen walks through the front door of each and every company we work with, sits down with executives and counsel to ensure that they are aware of, and approve, all parts of the process. By developing relationships and trust with major players, as well as the regulators, EquityZen provides seamless deals for our users and peace of mind for the companies signing off on each transaction.

How do you expect collaboration between banks and fintechs to evolve in the future?

In the early days of fintech, it looked like a Silicon Valley versus Wall Street clash was inevitable. Several years since, we have seen the rise of reason in fintech, as both technology firms and banks seek ways to collaborate in productive ways. We expect selective partnerships and transaction activity will be likely in the near future, because technology start-ups will realize that banks have a century of experience, and banks will see the dazzling pace of disruption powered by technology.

What will be the focus of your presentation at Efma’s upcoming Bank + Fintech event? 

It has been 10 years since the global financial crisis and structural shifts have taken place. Our presentation will focus predominantly on EquityZen’s story in this new era, the growth of our business and the market over the past 24 months, and how we expect the fintech space to evolve in the coming years. We will touch on past working relationships we have had with banks and financial firms, and we’ll also briefly discuss where the private and public markets could be heading – an important source of changing business for banks.

Want to discover EquityZen and take the discussion further? Join us at the Bank + Fintech New York, on 12-13 April. Event details and registration on: www.efma.com/bankplusfintech.

Keywords : Fintech , Digital/Mobile channels

Geography : USA