Thanks to the growth of fintech, financial services like investing are becoming increasingly accessible to the entire consumer population. Now, one of the biggest players pushing the boundaries of this concept is announcing a big round of funding on the heels of strong demand and what it thinks are even bigger opportunities ahead. PrimaryBid – which helps companies that go public, or public companies that raise more money, offer their shares to retail investors (i.e. regular people, not professionals) alongside more share sales traditional – raised $190 million.
Anand Sambasivan, CEO and co-founder of PrimaryBid, said the London-based startup plans to use the funding both to further develop the products it offers businesses, such as the ability to invest in listings. and investments based on PSPC. in retail bonds; and to expand into new geographies, particularly with the aim of building an office in the United States, where it is going through the process of obtaining regulatory approvals to work with companies listed in this market and is expected to be launched end of 2022 or 2023.
Today, PrimaryBid interacts with some 60 channels to enable investments, which include brokers and apps that people use to make investments today, and that list is also likely to continue to grow.
The company’s mission is to bring the “public” back into the concept of a public offering, giving ordinary people a chance to invest directly in IPOs alongside banks and other large professional investors, Sambasivan said. .
If public markets were invented today, would they look like they did 100 years ago? No, services would interact with APIs, with mobile apps and more accessible investments,” he said. “It’s a system that needs an upgrade.”
SoftBank, through its Vision Fund 2, is leading this round, a Series C, along with participation from unnamed previous investors (previous backers of its $50 million Series B in October 2020 included the London Stock Exchange Group , Draper Esprit, OMERS Ventures, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures, ABN AMRO Ventures, Pentech and Outward Ventures).
Sambasivan said PrimaryBid did not disclose a valuation, although a note on the round in PitchBook, from January, when it noted that $150 million had been secured, put the valuation at $650 million. . This may have stemmed from a report on Sky News at the time which first sparked rumors about the tour and pegged the pre-money valuation at $500m. If those numbers are correct, PrimaryBid’s valuation is now around $690 million.
Between that Series B and now, PrimaryBid has experienced a growth rip, fueled by a growing appetite among everyday people to become more involved in the world of investing. The company says that over the past 18 months it has helped facilitate stock offerings for retail investors for some 150 IPOs and follow-on stock offerings. These have mainly been in the UK, although the company is also starting to work with companies in France and, with the help of its investor ABN AMRO, it is also considering opening up in the Netherlands. Some of the most significant stock sales he has fueled include the sales of Deliveroo, PensionBee and the US IPO of MCG Group (Soho House) in 2021, which was achieved via a sale of shares in the UK.
“We have gained a foothold in the capital markets in a big way,” he said in an interview. “The idea that [we are battling is that] the public is no longer included in public markets, and some of the best companies that go public have strong stakeholder ethics, and they couldn’t include it in an IPO. They all see the value of including them in a thoughtful and robust way and we give them the opportunity to do so through our platform. Today, we are seeing sustained growth and [we believe] what we are doing is too big to fail.
PrimaryBid is riding a wave of interest that has been building for a long time, helped by a series of other developments. Financial apps like Robinhood and Revolut, and the growth of a popular new investment approach in Europe, the ETF, have made it much easier for ordinary consumers to invest in public companies and currencies (including crypto). -currencies) that they are interested in or think could bring them good returns – something that would have previously only been possible for high net worth individuals working with brokers or professional investors.
And events like the Gamestop stock market frenzy of 2021 may have also highlighted the pitfalls of this democratization, but nonetheless underscored how powerful general public investment has become. It was only a matter of time before democratization shifted to IPO and subsequent stock offerings.
There is a strong case for B2C companies to offer stock to their users as part of a public offering or fundraising, not least because these customers want to support the companies they believe in and that they are already using. It is something that will only grow. (Example: Reddit’s CEO said the company wanted to offer stock to individual investors when it went public.)
But Sambasivan points out that consumer-focused companies aren’t the only ones benefiting from this market demand, whether from businesses or from investors themselves. In fact, B2C only accounts for about 10% of the trades PrimaryBid has worked with, he said.
“PrimaryBid drives inclusivity in capital markets by making it simple and easy for anyone to access equity issues previously reserved for institutional or professional investors,” said Anthony Doeh, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, in a statement. “We believe the team has created a platform that combines technology, data and an ‘ecosystem-friendly’ approach to address the challenge of expanding participation, including the development of a -unique form of Community IPO for corporate issuers. We are delighted to partner with them and are confident that we can add significant value to the business through our global network and expertise.