For the past two years, Palo Alto-based EquityBee has helped startup employees get capital to exercise their stock options before they expire by linking them to investors.
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Also in that time, the company has amassed an investor community of 5,000 high-net-worth individuals, family offices and dedicated funds. Since January, the group has put together a pre-IPO “wish list” of companies it wants to see have a liquidity event soon.
Three out of the 10 picks on its previous list, posted in July, have since gone public, including JFrog, Palantir Technologies and Snowflake.
“We created the community to offer them an opportunity to get access to late-stage investments and initial public offerings, but to invest based on the past valuation,” Oren Barzilai, co-founder and CEO of EquityBee, told Crunchbase News. “New opportunities are opened every day, and we know which are in high demand and can offer better terms.”
EquityBee is open to every startup employee from a venture-backed company and regularly asks investors to select their top companies. That puts the investor in the front of the line should an employee from that company decide to use EquityBee to fund the exercise of their stock options, he added. Otherwise, investors compete for the opportunity to fund the options, and once exercised, both become a shareholder and share the gains upon an exit event.
While only 30 percent of the July wish list went public, Barzilai said it makes a good predictor of which companies may go public in the future.
“One of the strong reasons is that they believe they will have an IPO because it is the easiest way for liquidity events,” he said. “Some of the companies won’t go public soon, but are in high demand because they are great companies.”
As of October, the EquityBee community is eager to see the following companies IPO, according to the platform:Airbnb – consistently at the top of the list and filed for IPO in August. SpaceX Robinhood Stripe Impossible Foods Carta Instacart Coinbase Databricks Houzz
July 2020 list:Airbnb eToro Houzz Palantir Technologies – began trading in September Monday.com JFrog – began trading in September Databricks Stripe Hippo Snowflake – began trading in September
April 2020 list:Monday.com Airbnb JFrog Lemonade – started trading in July WalkMe AppsFlyer Fabric Instacart Lightricks Segment
Pete Flint, general partner of seed investor NFX, said we are seeing a “tech IPO super cycle,” and EquityBee’s lists include many companies that are popular with consumers.
“The list makes total sense,” Flint said. “The consumers today in the U.S. use the products, love them and want to own stock in the company. These IPOs are going to be huge for sure.”
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias