Financial services such as investing are becoming more accessible to a wider audience because to the advent of fintech. Now, one of the larger firms pushing the concept’s bounds is announcing a large amount of fundraising in response to strong demand and what it expects will be even bigger potential in the future. PrimaryBid, a company that helps firms go public or raise more money by offering their shares to retail investors (i.e., everyday people, not experts) in addition to traditional share sales, has raised $190 million. PrimaryBid’s CEO and co-founder, Anand Sambasivan, said the funding will be used to continue building out the products it offers to companies, such as the ability to invest in SPAC-based public listings and investments in retail bonds, as well as to expand to new geographies, with a focus on opening an office in the United States, where it is pursuing regulatory approvals to work with companies listing on NASDAQ.
PrimaryBid currently works with more than 60 channels to enable investments, including brokerages and apps that customers use today, and that number is likely to continue to increase. The company’s objective, according to Sambasivan, is to reintroduce the “public” into the concept of an initial public offering by allowing ordinary people to invest directly in IPOs alongside banks and other large, professional investors.
Would public markets appear the same way they did 100 years ago if they were invented today? No, APIs, mobile apps, and more accessible investing would all work together, he argued. “It’s a system that has to be updated.” The London Stock Exchange Group, Draper Esprit, OMERS Ventures, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures, ABN AMRO Ventures, Pentech, and Outward Ventures were among the previous backers in its $50 million Series B in October 2020, and this round, a Series C, will be led by SoftBank via its Vision Fund 2.
Although a note on the transaction in PitchBook from January, when it reported $150 million had been secured, estimated the valuation at $650 million, Sambasivan claimed that PrimaryBid is not announcing a valuation. That could have been influenced by a report on Sky News at the time, which first spread rumors of the round and estimated the pre-money valuation at $500 million. If those estimates are correct, PrimaryBid’s current market capitalization is roughly $690 million. Between that Series B and now, PrimaryBid has experienced rapid expansion, fuelled by a growing desire among ordinary people to become more involved in the world of investing. According to the company, it has assisted in the facilitation of 150 IPOs and follow-on share offers for retail investors in the last 18 months. These have mostly been in the United Kingdom, while the company is also beginning to deal with enterprises in France, and it is planning to open for business in The Netherlands with the support of its investor ABN AMRO.
Deliveroo, PensionBee, and MCG Group (Soho Houses)’s IPO in 2021, which was done via a share sale in the United Kingdom, are just a few of the larger share sales it has facilitated. In an interview, he added, “We’ve acquired a large foothold in the capital markets.”
“The premise [we’re fighting] is that the public is no longer involved in public markets, and some of the strongest firms coming public have a strong ethos of their stakeholders, which they were unable to include in an IPO.” They all see the need of including people in a meaningful and comprehensive manner, and we are providing them with the tools to do so through our platform. Now we’re witnessing consistent growth, and we’re certain that what we’re doing is too huge to fail.” PrimaryBid is riding a tide of enthusiasm that has been building for a long time, aided by a number of other developments.
Financial apps like Robinhood and Revolut, as well as the rise of the ETF, a new approach to investing popular in Europe, have made it much easier for ordinary consumers to invest in public companies and currencies (including cryptocurrencies) that they are interested in or believe will provide them with good returns — something that was previously only possible for high-net-worth individuals working with brokers or professional investors.