The big picture: In the twelve years before the average tech startup goes public, they’ll have typically lost millions of dollars and have sold their souls to venture capitalists in exchange for the funds they needed to get off the ground. And once they have gone public, the experienced CEOs cede control to investors focused on short term results and quarterly profits. A study in 2017 found that in the five years following a public listing companies secure 40% fewer patents, hurting their long-term development.
One proposed solution is a stock exchange designed specifically for tech companies with long-term prospects, and investors that understand startups need time to grow before they turn a profit. Enter the Long-Term Stock Exchange (LTSE), a Silicon Valley startup that the Securities and Exchange Commission approved yesterday to do just that.
The LTSE has three key goals: to let startups float on the public market while focusing on research, to let long-term investors cash in on fast-growing startups, and to provide the tools to support both parties. To do this LTSE requires that companies reward their executives based on long-term goals over short-term profits and to disclose long-term plans and investments. They also reward investors with voting power that increases the longer they hold onto their shares.
“In short, we are building a market where companies are rewarded for choosing to innovate, to invest in their employees, and to seed future growth. And where companies can run their businesses with the stewardship that similarly aligned shareholders, stakeholders and society demand,” says Eric Ries, who founded LTSE three years ago.
LTSE has been holding their cards close, a wise move considering the changes they had to make to get SEC approval, a difficult process. They’re one of just 15 or so stock exchanges approved in America and the only one in Silicon Valley since the dot-com boom. What we do know, however, is that LTSE intends to draw in companies with very low prices by profiting off analysis services, and by letting companies dual list on other stock exchanges.
Despite competition from the big players like the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, LTSE already has several interested parties claims Ries, who says that several technology companies and investors have signed letters of intent to participate in the exchange.