Petitioning a Company to Invest

Some of the most recognizable private companies usually don’t allow individuals to invest. The interesting thing is that individuals are often the most passionate customers or believers in the company. A well-known private company worth tens of billions of dollars has a die-hard fan base of individuals who don’t have access to investing in it. Only venture capital investors or others close to management get the opportunity to invest.

A founder I chatted with decided to do something about this. He created a petition for individuals to sign to express interest in investing. Each person had to indicate a dollar amount they wanted to invest. He figured that if he aggregated $5 million in commits, he’d be lucky and have a strong case to present to the company’s management. Far exceeding that goal, he got close to $40 million in commits from individuals. The strong showing blew his mind and got the attention of company management. They like the idea of letting passionate individuals invest through a single entity on this founder’s platform.

Time will tell if this deal gets done, but it clearly highlights the massive enthusiasm individuals have about investing in private companies. A lot of capital wants the opportunity to invest in high-quality early-stage private companies. And there’s ample demand by such companies for the capital. The traditional matching process is inefficient and can impede the flow of capital. I like the petition experiment this founder is running and hope it leads to something bigger or a blueprint others can follow.