How To Get An Early Piece Of The Next Big IPO

Let’s say you read an article about a private company that’s growing fast and seems headed for an IPO.

Unless you happened to have been able to invest in the company while it was private, chances were good that you would not be able to own its stock until after it went public.

But if you happen to be an accredited investor…

— e.g., your income is greater than $200,000 or your net worth exceeds $1 million — you could have a chance to buy shares in the company earlier.

That’s the conclusion I reached after an April 23 interview with Kelly Rodriques, the CEO of San Francisco-based Forge Global, which says it offers “an entirely new and alternative way to approach financial liquidity. Forge’s tech platform connects sellers of today’s most valuable private pre-IPO unicorn stocks with investors.”

Established in 2014 as Equidate, the company “was founded by Y Combinator alumni and backed by top investors including Tim Draper, FT Partners, and Munich Re. Forge Global’s platform allows shareholders and investors in privately held innovation firms to liquidate a portion of their shares and provides private and institutional investors access to top companies like Spotify, Lyft and 23 and Me before their IPO.”

Forge — which has raised $88.5 million and according to Rodriques will employ 130 people after completing its March 2019 acquisition of custodial services provider, IRA Services — is working with Slack which is planning a direct listing.

In Slack’s last private capital round in August 2018, it raised $427 million at a valuation of $7.1 billion. Forge would not say what valuation it is now using to sell Slack shares today — however, if that August 2018 valuation had been available through Forge back then perhaps you would be sitting on a paper gain today.

That’s because Slack thinks…

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