PrimaryBid, the British fintech platform that connects retail investors with public companies raising capital, has closed a c.$40m ($50m) Series B investment round from a global group of investors.
The fundraising follows a period of rapid growth in 2020 during which PrimaryBid helped UK retail investors access billions of pounds of corporate fundraisings during the COVID-19 pandemic, including FTSE 100 Compass Group, Ocado, Taylor Wimpey and Segro. Proceeds will be used to build-out the PrimaryBid team and technology platform as the company deepens its links with key intermediaries and expands into international markets.
PrimaryBid attracted global investors in its Series B fundraise including London Stock Exchange Group, Draper Esprit, OMERS Ventures, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures and ABN AMRO Ventures to facilitate expansion into international markets.
PrimaryBid has completed over 41 capital raisings for UK 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.
Retail investors directly own 13.5% of the U.K. market, while additionally holding approximately £269bn in cash ISAs, making them an important constituency in any capital raising activity. (sources: ONS, 2018; HMRC, 2020)
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 response from Boards and their advisers to our solution has been excellent: they recognise our digital solution for retail inclusion brings together both good governance and best execution.
“We are privileged to welcome a number of leading global investors in our Series B. Our mission is to enhance fairness, inclusivity and transparency in capital markets, and these investors all share that commitment and global ambition. I look forward to working with them as we expand PrimaryBid’s offering to retail investors in new markets, build our team and technology platform, and deepen our integration into the capital raising ecosystem.”
Charlie Walker, Head of Equity and Fixed Income, Primary Markets at London Stock Exchange plc said: “This investment builds on our collaboration with PrimaryBid and is part of London Stock Exchange Group’s commitment to broadening retail investor access to public equity markets. Through PrimaryBid’s innovative offering, retail investors have been able to access capital raisings on the same terms as institutional investors, supporting the U.K.’s public companies by providing additional capital and liquidity. PrimaryBid has become an important part of the U.K.’s capital raising ecosystem and we look forward to working with them to further enhance retail investor access to capital markets within the UK and globally.”
Reaction from investors
Vinoth Jayakumar, Partner at Draper Espirit said: “Our investment in PrimaryBid aligns with part of our wider investment thesis to democratise retail investors access to public markets as well as modernise market infrastructure software. For us, both our companies are anticipating the direction of travel of the future of finance.”
Tara Reeves, Partner at OMERS Ventures said: “As fintech specialists it’s been impossible to ignore the rise of PrimaryBid in 2020 and its success championing retail investors in the capital markets. PrimaryBid’s technology sits at the intersection of powerful trends in financial services – regulation, digitalisation and democratisation – and OMERS Ventures is delighted to support the team’s mission to put individual investors on equal terms with institutions. PrimaryBid is now well integrated at the highest levels of the U.K.’s capital raising ecosystem, and we look forward to helping the team realize their ambitions internationally.”
Michael Sim, Vice President, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures said: “We are excited to be partnering with PrimaryBid to enhance fairness, inclusivity, and transparency in capital markets. Anand and the team have built unique technology infrastructure that is redefining the way issuers access capital markets; seamlessly connecting everyday retail investors with public companies. As the economy roils from the impact of coronavirus, it is imperative retail investors get a seat at the table as companies recapitalise and the process of economic recovery begins.”
Kevin Chong, Co-Head of Outward VC said: “Since our Series A investment in 2019, Anand and the PrimaryBid team have demonstrated extraordinary execution of their vision to directly connect retail investors with public companies raising capital. The team’s unique combination of capital markets experience, technology vision and entrepreneurial willpower made this possible. With this injection of funding, the company is ideally placed to build out its platform and expand internationally.”
Craig Anderson, Partner at Pentech said: “Equity capital markets infrastructure has traditionally been dominated by an institutional focus and not geared for retail investors, which has unfairly restricted consumer access to the primary equity markets. We first invested in PrimaryBid in 2019 to enable the company to address this problem by using technology to democratise the equity capital markets to provide a new asset class to retail investors. Since then, PrimaryBid has grown rapidly and we are delighted to continue supporting the company through participation in the Series B investment round.”