NEW YORK, N.Y., Sept. 19, 2007 – Restricted Stock Partners today announced that it has secured Series A funding from Pequot Ventures. A portion of the funding will be used to speed the launch of a proprietary electronic trading platform for the Restricted Securities Trading Network (RSTN), the largest marketplace for restricted and other illiquid securities.
Pequot Ventures, the New York-based direct venture investment arm of Pequot Capital Management, Inc., has approximately $2 billion of committed capital. The investment includes a future funding commitment.
The RSTN, a proprietary network of institutional and accredited investors engaged in buying and selling restricted securities, has more than 300 members, including global financial institutions, hedge funds, mutual funds and other institutional investors, who collectively manage over $200 billion in assets.
Restricted securities – including unregistered, control and affiliate stock and warrants – are a $1.2 trillion asset class, according to Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC). Restricted securities are commonly issued through private placements, corporate mergers and reorganizations, and as compensation.
“Nearly two years before Wall Street began to focus on the private transaction market, the RSP team had identified the opportunity, formulated a strategy and launched a highly successful marketplace,” said Lawrence D. Lenihan, Jr., co-head of Pequot Ventures and a newly-appointed member of Restricted Stock Partners’ Board of Directors. “This business fits perfectly with the investment philosophy of Pequot Ventures – to partner with innovative, market-leading companies. Pequot looks forward to helping RSP scale the business to accommodate the growing demand for privately negotiated transactions of restricted securities and other illiquid assets.”
Nearly 300 buyers and sellers have already completed close to 400 transactions on the RSTN, representing more than $200 million in transaction volume. While the RSTN has been successful to date, Pequot Ventures believes its infusion of capital and the conversion to an electronic platform will create the foundation for much faster growth.
“Pequot Ventures’ strategic expertise, market insights and well-established financial services relationships, coupled with its deep capital resources, will greatly assist our efforts to develop a cutting-edge trading system and expand our distribution channels and partnerships on Wall Street,” said Barry E. Silbert, founder and CEO of Restricted Stock Partners. “I am extremely pleased to partner with Pequot Ventures, particularly during this critical growth stage of our business.”
The electronic trading platform, which is currently in a beta test with a number of institutional clients, is expected to launch later this year. In addition to providing an improved price discovery and bidding process, the trading platform will further support the administrative and settlement functions provided by Restricted Stock Partners, which facilitates all aspects of the closing process for privately-negotiated transactions on the RSTN.
“Since the launch of the RSTN in October 2005, we have succeeded in creating the largest and most robust platform for private transactions in restricted and illiquid securities,” Silbert said. “The electronic trading platform, which will automate the trading and settlement process, is the logical next step and will enable us to grow more rapidly.”