FAQ

What can we help you with?

Shareholders

What is Forge?

Forge works to help startup employees sell their vested shares so they can pursue their personal and financial goals.

As an employee at a fast-growing technology company, a large percentage of your compensation may be paid in equity, or stock in the company. Typically, you earn this stock over many years, and the amount may be refreshed throughout your career.

Today, the average startup stays private for 13 years before IPO. That means that it may be as long as 13 years before you can easily sell your shares through a traditional stock transaction.

As a shareholder and an employee, you may want to convert some of that stock into cash to fund something else in your life, like a house. Or as a way to diversify your financial profile.

That’s where Forge comes in. Forge works to help you sell your shares so that you can use the money however you see fit.

How do I get started?

Selling your shares is a four-step process.

  1. Register online with Forge. This process is free and takes just a few minutes.
  2. Enter the name of the private company whose shares you wish to sell, number of shares you’d like to sell, and your asking price per share. A Forge Private Market Specialist will be in touch to share insight into the market for your shares, so it’s ok if you don’t have a price in mind just yet. This information will not be shared with your company.
  3. Forge records your interest and reaches out to its network of 125,000 accredited investors and institutions to source possible buyers.
  4. If there is buyer interest in your block of shares, a Forge Private Market Specialist will reach out to you to help facilitate a final purchase price and terms. Once terms are set, Forge works to close your transaction.
How do I value my private company shares?

Unlike public companies, startups and private companies trade less frequently and are not required to make financial disclosures to the general public. As a result, private company stock prices do not update as frequently.

Forge has completed more than 16,000 private market transactions in more than 450 private companies and has a proprietary platform of trading and valuation data that is used to price your shares. In addition, Forge Private Market Specialists are experienced in facilitating private market transactions. They can share their market insight and bring together all available information to assist you with the value of your shares.

Will my company approve the sale of my shares?

Generally, startups and private companies (sometimes referred to as “issuers”) are supportive of their shareholders selling shares so they have cash for family and personal needs. Private companies often have different procedures in place to manage stock transfers. Your Forge Private Market Specialist will help you navigate your interactions with the company and its preferred transaction process.

What is Forge’s minimum transaction amount?

Our standard minimum transaction size is $100,000 USD; however, there may be opportunities to sell a smaller amount. Your Forge Private Market Specialist can discuss transaction sizes with you.

Does Forge charge a fee?

Forge supports multiple structures for private market investments and so fees vary. Typically, Forge’s commission is 5%. Participants may pay a higher commission if the total dollar amount of the transaction is less than our minimum transaction amount of $100,000.

How long will it take to sell my shares?

On average, a transaction takes 50 days from the time when Forge matches a buyer and a seller. Forge keeps you apprised of the timelines and next steps in every step along the way.

Individual Investors

How do I buy shares in a private company?

Buying shares of private companies can be challenging. You must be, at minimum, an “accredited investor” to purchase private company securities. The process can extend up to months from acceptance of your posted interest to closing of a transaction. This process includes the execution of certain legal agreements, notification to the issuer who can elect to exercise its Right of First Refusal or block a potential transaction, and coordinate with any other issuer transfer requirements.

Who can transact in the private secondary market?

Typically, to purchase unregistered securities (i.e., private company stock), you must be, at minimum, an “accredited investor”. These terms are defined under the securities laws for individuals and corporate entities that meet certain financial criteria. There is, however, no such accreditation requirement for those seeking to sell unregistered securities.

How do I value private company shares?

Unlike public companies, private companies are not generally required to make financial disclosures to shareholders or prospective investors. There is also no formal, central marketplace where pricing from prior trades is published. As a result, valuing private company shares can be difficult. Private market investors can, however, leverage Forge’s valuation data as well as our proprietary insights. In addition, your Forge Private Market Specialist is experienced in facilitating private market transactions. She or he can share their insight into the market and bring together all available information to assist you with your valuation assessment.

Do I need a broker to help with my investment?

There is no legal requirement that you use a broker to invest in private companies. Many investors, however, find that using a broker and a private market platform like Forge provides advantages. These include a centralized pool of liquidity, experience with private company transfer processes, knowledge of applicable securities laws and transaction documents, and the expertise to bring these elements together in a successful transaction.

How should I select a broker?

We believe you should select a firm with a proven track record and the resources to optimize your chances of a successful transaction. First and foremost, among these resources is an investment professional who is expert in private market secondary transactions. Other needed resources include a centralized pool of liquidity, relationships with private growth companies, private market data and content, and a strong legal, compliance, and operations team.

What is Forge’s minimum transaction amount?

Our standard minimum transaction size is $100,000USD; however, we may allow you to buy or sell an amount less than the minimum, e.g., when an issuer allows smaller trade amounts or to receive a partial execution of a larger order.

How is Forge compensated for facilitating transactions?

Forge supports multiple structures for private market investments and so compensation arrangements vary. Typically, Forge’s commission is 5%. Participants may pay a higher commission if the total dollar amount of the transaction is less than our minimum transaction amount of $100,000.

Will the issuer of the shares permit my purchase?

Generally, private companies are supportive of their shareholders finding liquidity. They do, however, have different policies and processes in place. For example, almost all issuers impose a right of first refusal on secondary stock sales and require legal opinions. Your Forge Private Markets Specialist will help you navigate your interactions with the company and compliance with their preferred transaction process.

Institutions

How is Forge different than other private market brokers?

Forge Markets is a full-service broker dealer dedicated to the private growth equity asset class. Our clients and investment professionals leverage our proprietary insights, transaction data and information technology. We have facilitated more than 16,000 transactions in more than 400 private growth companies. Institutional investors know they can rely on Forge not just at the time of sale, but throughout the life of their investment.

What financial and other diligence materials can Forge provide for proposed investments?

Though the private market is becoming more transparent, it remains a market characterized by limited information. The availability of issuer financial and other diligence materials varies from issuer-to-issuer and transaction-to-transaction. Because of our strong working relationship with many issuers, we typically have access to more information than other private market participants. Wherever possible, Forge connects institutions and issuers under non-disclosure agreements to support disclosure.

How liquid is the private growth equity asset class?

Private market secondary liquidity has improved markedly over the past few years. As more and more private growth companies reach a size suitable for institutional investment, institutional capital has been migrating into the private market. Issuers have responded by raising larger private financing rounds and becoming increasingly supportive of shareholder liquidity. Still, when it comes to secondary transactions, investors should be aware that each private issuer has their own preferences, restrictions and processes and should consider their exit strategy prior to investing.

How is Forge compensated for facilitating transactions?

Forge supports multiple structures for private market investments and so compensation arrangements vary. Typically, Forge’s commission is 5%. Participants may pay a higher commission if the total dollar amount of the transaction is less than our minimum transaction amount of $100,000, and, where a special purpose vehicle is being employed, a management fee to the investors in the vehicle.

What regulatory licenses does Forge have?

Forge Securities LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Forge Global, Inc. Forge Securities is a registered Broker-Dealer and Alternative Trading System with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a member of FINRA/SIPC.

Companies

In what ways can Forge help companies efficiently manage and control secondary transactions?

Forge works with each company to customize our services to meet their unique needs. Forge Company Solutions range from individual secondary transactions to the structuring and management of large, formal liquidity programs.

What does Forge do to help protect the confidentiality of company financial information and transaction information?

Forge requires that prospective buyers of shares execute non-disclosure agreements prior to engaging in detailed conversations regarding an investment opportunity. In addition, any financial information provided to us by a company is shared only with the consent of the company and on a need-to-know basis.

What does Forge do to ensure its transactions comply with securities laws?

Forge’s legal and compliance teams have significant private market transactional experience. Forge transactions rely on frequently used exemptions from the registration requirements of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

How is Forge different from other private market brokers or platforms?

Forge genuinely works with companies to understand their investor preferences and secondary policies and processes. Our Private Market Specialists, legal, and operations teams work together to establish company trust one transaction at a time. We are committed to delivering the highest quality execution and treating the company as a valued client.

What are Forge’s regulatory approvals?

Forge Securities LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Forge Global, Inc. Forge Securities is a registered Broker-Dealer and Alternative Trading System with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a member of FINRA/SIPC.

How is Forge compensated for facilitating transactions?

Typically, Forge’s commission is 5%. Participants may pay a higher commission if the total dollar amount of the transaction is less than our minimum transaction amount of $100,000.