Public.com, a New York-based app for equities investments, may seek more capital within the next two years, but its current backing gives it “many years of runway,” said co-CEO Leif Abraham.
In February 2021, Public drew USD 220m in Series D funding that valued the company at USD 1.2bn.
In the potential event of another fundraise, the company would prefer equity partners that could help with hiring, strategic planning, or connections to potential partners, he said. In a later stage, the company would prefer partners that remained invested through an IPO, he said.
Regarding investors, considering firms that are active in the public and private markets makes sense, Abraham said.
It is too early to determine any exit timeline, he said. The company is not interested in a sale or a majority investor, he stressed.
In 2019, Abraham founded the company—which now has 150 employees—with co-CEO Jannick Malling and co-founders Matt Kennedy, Peter Quinn and Sean Hendelman. There is no majority stakeholder, he noted.
The firm allows retail investors to invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds, alternative investments, and treasury bills. It has more than 3m members, and funded accounts more than doubled last year, Abraham said.
It has made several acquisitions over the past few years, and it intends to continue its M&A strategy as a means to grow features and expand internationally, he said.
In January 2022, Public acquired startup HyperCharts, a data company that shows financial and business metrics for publicly traded companies. That same year, it also purchased Otis, a platform to invest in art, sneakers and collectibles.
Abraham said Otis operated under a regulatory framework that makes it possible to turn such items into tradable securities without investors obtaining investment accreditation.
Going forward, ideal bolt-on targets would add users, grow assets under management (AUM), or bring in new asset classes, Abraham said. Technical investment capabilities are also attractive, he said.
To bolster its international expansion push, targets that can accelerate growth overseas with local licenses are also ideal, the executive said, noting it already has a presence in Copenhagen. Public would also be interested in acquihires for talent, he noted.
The company did not comment on media reports last year that it was in discussions to acquire Dutch stock trading company Bux. According to reports, Bux was worth USD 320m to USD 480m in a 2021 funding round.
Wilson Sonsini provides legal services for Public.