This past August, I joined SP Investments Management as its new Chief Investment Officer. After nearly 15 years in private equity focused exclusively on late-stage venture and growth equity-oriented assets, I’m elated to have this opportunity, and I wanted to give a few details on my background as well as talk about why I believe SharesPost is well positioned to bring true innovation to the growing and exciting secondary market.
I started my career in investment banking almost 20 years ago focusing mainly on technology-oriented mergers and acquisitions (M&A) before transitioning into secondaries in 2005. Since then, I have been fortunate to develop many deep relationships ranging across the private equity ecosystem, including the entrepreneurs and management teams of innovative companies, the limited partners (LPs) that invest in venture and growth funds, and the general partners (GPs) that invest their LPs’ capital into these companies. I have also served on the boards of both late-stage venture backed companies and venture/growth-oriented funds. Through these relationships, I have helped create a variety of strategies to help address various liquidity needs. As most investors likely know, the private equity market is a fairly illiquid space with increasingly complex liquidity management needs.
Over the last 20 years, the private equity market has grown and evolved dramatically as companies are staying private for longer, driven by three main reasons. First, regulatory changes have made it more challenging and administratively burdensome for companies to go public. Second, growth-oriented companies are often still developing their business models and auditing their product sets, which may result in higher volatility if implemented in the public markets. Third, the amount of private capital available to companies has surged as investors have increased their allocations to alternative asset classes in search of alpha due to general concerns around performance from the traditional equity markets.
This protracted lifecycle combined with the illiquid nature of the underlying assets has created a growing need for liquidity management, which has led to significant growth in the secondaries market. Of course, this environment also creates opportunities for secondary investors to structure attractive investment products for clients. Secondary investors have often been able to leverage these market dynamics to create diversified portfolios of high-quality assets, many times at discounts to their net asset value (NAV) or intrinsic value, with a near-term path to natural liquidity through M&A and IPOs.
While my colleagues and I have worked in the past to create a variety of strategies to address liquidity needs, very little has been accomplished around innovation of the underlying transaction processes themselves. What I found particularly appealing about SharesPost is that the team has adopted a zealous focus on how liquidity can be streamlined through technology in order to help remove friction from these processes. While technology certainly has its limitations, there is a real opportunity for innovation within the transaction processes to provide a better experience for all participants (i.e., the buyers, sellers, and underlying companies). SharesPost’s exchange for buyers and sellers of private company shares, as well as innovative investment products such as the SharesPost 100 Fund, enable both accredited and non-accredited investors to engage in new opportunities in the private asset class while at the same time facilitating access to fresh sources of capital for private companies.
I believe SharesPost’s dynamic and nimble workforce grants us the flexibility to spend more time delivering innovative strategies to investors and less time trying to navigate the internal challenges that often come with larger company bureaucracies. That said, success isn’t just determined by the agility of a workforce, but also the quality of the people that comprise it. I spent close to six months getting to know the SharesPost team in order to understand the caliber of people that work here, and what I found is a team replete with highly intelligent, passionate, and complementary professionals committed to making SharesPost the market leader in providing streamlined liquidity strategies and innovative investment products in the late-stage venture and growth market segment. SharesPost has forged a business model that I believe can accomplish true innovation, which is what ultimately convinced me to join this ambitious organization.
SharesPost will play to the strengths I’ve built over the past 15 years in addressing growing liquidity challenges, leveraging cutting-edge technology and market intelligence, and structuring innovative strategies and attractive investment products. As SharesPost approaches its 10-year anniversary, I believe its private marketplace and investment platform can achieve the scale necessary for impact in the secondary sector. I’m inspired to be working with such brilliant people in helping companies and investors achieve their goals for business growth and wealth generation alike, while having some fun along the way.
You are now leaving the SharesPost 100 Fund area of the SharesPost website and proceeding to either a) SharesPost Inc. and its affiliates including SharesPost Financial Corporation, a separate company registered as a broker/dealer with the Securities and Exchange Commission and member of FINRA/SIPC, and SharesPost Investments Management, LLC, a registered investment advisor, or b) to another third party, including UMB Fund Services, Inc. and Foreside Fund Services, LLC, both SharesPost 100 Fund service providers.