The market for public debuts has gone ice-cold in the month of March. But this week, Forge Global bucked the trend. The startup completed its blank-check merger on Tuesday, and its shares got off to a crackerjack start, rising as much as 143%. The stock settled down as the week progressed for a more modest 13% gain.
“In recent months, as volatility hit the public markets, we’ve seen more shareholder activity on the platform as employees and early investors are concerned about extended liquidity timelines. Later stage investors sense buying opportunities because they tend to be more long-term, focused on the next three to five years and not the next three to five Fed meetings,” reported Forge.
"The range of ways to go public has changed forever," said Kelly Rodriques, CEO of Forge, a company that lets people sell shares of private companies. "There is more flexibility now with direct listings and SPACs."
Forge is the largest of the new venues that have cropped up in recent years to facilitate trading in private companies. The company recently raised $150 million from investors including Wells Fargo and Temasek, the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, CNBC learned.
“Robinhood created a really great user and customer experience for millennials to invest with,” said Kelly Rodriques, chief executive of pre-IPO marketplace Forge. “There is a whole generation of investors that are participating in the markets that weren’t there before.”
Forge welcomes interest from the media and is committed to bringing greater transparency to the private market. However, Forge facilitates offerings and transactions in unregistered securities for private companies and their shareholders. These transactions are subject to complex securities laws and regulations impacting public disclosure of related details. Additionally, Forge’s commitment to confidentiality for both issuers and clients prohibits disclosure of particular transactions. Accordingly, Forge’s policy is to not comment on, confirm or deny any pending or potential transaction.