Making It Easier For Startups To Cash Out

from the moving-forward dept

This idea has been talked about for a while, but it looks like it's finally starting to move forward: creating a market for buying/selling shares in startups outside of a full public offering. As you may know, right now, (with a few exceptions) the stock in a startup is basically illiquid in that it can't be bought and sold outside of a full funding round. The downside of that is that it really does lock up the value for many employees who have to sit on the stock and hope that one day the company is sold or goes public. That's become an even bigger issue this past decade as the IPO market for tech startups has been pretty dim -- due to a combination of factors, including (among other things) the dot com bubble burst, regulations like Sarbanes Oxley and even the real estate bubble (diverted plenty of money that could have gone towards IPOs into both real estate and alternative investments).

The new plan, from a company called InsideVenture and backed by a bunch of VCs is what they're calling a "hybrid public-private offering," nicknamed a "Hippo." And it is basically just what it sounds like -- a mix between a private fundraising and a public market. Companies that go through the process will file the standard earnings reports with the SEC -- but the initial shares will be sold to member investors prior to the offering being final. I'm all for experiments of this nature, though there certainly are questions about whether or not this will really catch on. Many may see it as "what a company does if it can't IPO" which could attach a stigma to companies that go this route. Also, I still think that the old "quarterly reports" system needs a reboot involving radical transparency, so I'm not sure that reinforcing the old quarterly report system (which stunts long term vision for short term results) is really such a good idea.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: cash out, investment, ipo, startups


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2009 @ 11:16am

    Seems like a way for VC guys to get out early, and possibly even for the founders to head for the exits early. Nothing less transparent than a non-public company being traded.

    Radical transparency? How can you even put these two things together in the same story? Private companies are entirely NOT transparent. If they want to trade, they need to take the company public, then they can trade - or they can go get another round of financing privately. You can't do both, sorry.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat

Warning: include(/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_promo_discord_chat.inc): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_module_promo.inc on line 8

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_promo_discord_chat.inc' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/pear:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/..') in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_module_promo.inc on line 8
Recent Stories
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.