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Pre-IPO Investing: Pros and Cons

One can invest in a Pre-IPO in both the official rounds of fundraising, and outside these rounds - on the secondary market. The latter means buying or selling of shares between private investors. Pre-IPO stage - UFG Wealth Management

One can invest in a Pre-IPO in both the official rounds of fundraising, and outside these rounds - on the secondary market. The latter means buying or selling of shares between private investors. It looks extremely attractive, but in fact everything is not so simple.


Let's take a look at the specific advantages and disadvantages of the Pre-IPO stage.


Advantages
  1. An opportunity to multiply your investments even before the цIPO. Given bloated valuations and multiples on the basis of which companies have made their public debuts in recent years, investing in the earlier stages looks less risky.
  2. Availability. There is no uncertainty about what allocation will be given to the investor. If there is a seller or a company conducts the next funding round, then you can be sure of receiving the volume that you agreed on with the company/seller.


Disadvantages
  1. Low liquidity. After investing in a private company, investors have to wait for its IPO to get out, which, in some cases, can take several years, while selling on the secondary market might involve a substantial discount to fair market value.
  2. The complexity of the deal. You can get directly to Cap Table when subscribing to shares during the next funding round. When purchasing secondaries, such investments are typically made through the purchase of an SPV that ultimately owns the shares in the target.
  3. Substantial starting investment - a million dollars or more.
  4. High transaction costs. When participating in a Pre-IPO, an upfront commission of 3-5% per deal and an incentive fee of 15-20% at the time of exit are paid. It should be noted that the origin of funds (in our case from Russia) can also affect the access to the Pre-IPO deal. Russian money does not automatically mean "no", but it is being closely watched.

Evgeny Pundrovskiy, CFA, Director of Investment Department UFG Wealth Management

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