The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant troubles in equity capital markets in 2020, but stocks are recovering as economies reopen globally. In a recent development, a UK-based fintech company PrimaryBid, an online funding platform that enables investors to gain access to placings and fundraisings of listed companies, has raised $50M (approx €42.2M) in its Series B investment round.
Investors in this round include the London Stock Exchange Group (LSE), Draper Esprit, OMERS Ventures, ABN AMRO Ventures, and Fidelity International Strategic Ventures. Existing investors Pentech and Outward Ventures also invested in this round.
The raised capital will be used to build-out PrimaryBid’s team as well as its technology platform. Besides, the company will also expand into Europe where it has an exclusive commercial agreement with Euronext – the largest stock exchange in Europe, operating markets in Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, Lisbon, London, Milan, Oslo, and Paris.
Founded in 2015 by Anand Sambasivan and Kieran D’Silva, PrimaryBid is a fintech platform that enables investors to gain access to placings and fundraisings of listed companies. The platform ensures that retail investors transact at the same time and at the same price as institutional investors.
Through a long-term agreement with the London Stock Exchange, PrimaryBid has created the infrastructure to connect everyday investors with public companies seamlessly.
The company has completed over 41 capital raisings for the U.K. listed companies and investment trusts since April 2020, working alongside global investment banks to broaden investor access as companies recapitalised their balance sheets and raised growth capital.
According to the company, retail investors directly own 13.5% of the U.K. market, while additionally holding approximately £269B (approx €296B) in cash ISAs, making them a vital constituency in any capital raising activity.
Cash ISAs (sometimes called NISAs) are savings accounts that pay interest that is free of income tax.
Anand Sambasivan, CEO of PrimaryBid, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the effectiveness of the public markets, with companies recapitalising quickly and efficiently. Our technology has allowed thousands of retail investors to participate on equal terms with institutional investors, unlocking a large and important source of liquidity and long-term share ownership for corporate issuers. The Boards recognise our digital solution for retail inclusion brings together both good governance and best execution.
He further added, “Our mission is to enhance fairness, inclusivity, and transparency in capital markets, and these investors all share that commitment and global ambition.”
PrimaryBid completed an $8.6M (approx €7.2M) Series A funding in September 2019 and signed a commercial agreement with the London Stock Exchange in November 2019 to broaden its access to U.K. equity offerings.
In April 2020, PrimaryBid co-ordinated an open letter signed by prominent retail investors, fund managers, and senior City stakeholders. The letter called on the boards and management teams of the U.K.’s listed companies with concerns that ordinary savers were denied the chance to participate in heavily discounted share sales.
The letter also mentioned respecting the pre-emption rights of retail shareholders by including them in any future equity fundraisings.
The signed letter included the likes of Anne Richards, Fidelity International’s chief executive, and Peter Hargreaves, a co-founder of the retail investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown.
The full letter can be found here.
PrimaryBid has been involved in capital-raisings including the online grocer Ocado and SSP Group, the transport food concessions operator behind the Ritazza brand.
Image credit: PrimaryBid