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.