There is no telling how COVID-19 and its impact on the economy will affect the IPO market. Even before there was a global pandemic, many companies had decided to postpone their plans to go public.
Yet there is still plenty of competition as startups like Carta and even Nasdaq work to create a global private securities marketplace. Now two rivals have announced that they are merging in a $160 million cash-and-stock deal in a bid to become a major player in the market.
Pending regulatory approval and customary closing conditions, Forge Global and SharesPost will join forces, operating under the name Forge Global. Forge’s CEO, Kelly Rodrigues, will run the combined company and SharesPost’s founder and CEO Greg Brogger will become an advisor and join its board of directors.
Founded by Y Combinator alumni as Equidate in 2014, Forge enables liquidity in the private markets and has been backed by Peter Thiel, Draper Associates, Munich Re, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Börse and TD Ameritrade, among others. SharesPost, which was founded in 2009, launched the first secondary market for private tech company shares and has built the leading platform for secondary transactions.
The two companies have facilitated thousands of transactions combined, resulting in more than $6 billion in private market transaction volume. Together, the companies have a combined customer base of more than 1 million, with the goal of strengthening their comprehensive and scalable technology platform and serve the unique needs of both Retail and Institutional investors across the globe.
“SharesPost has been a trailblazer in the industry; joining forces will greatly benefit our customers, as well as accelerate and expand our capabilities as the operating system for private market transactions. Ultimately, we will deliver more mission critical infrastructure for our customers than any other private market operator in the world,” Rodrigues said in a statement.
As of now, it’s unclear if any layoffs are planned for after the merger. Rodrigues did tell TechCrunch, however, that until the deal closes, the combined entity will continue “as is” when it comes to employees and locations.