After spending the time right out of college in the startup world, Graham McConnell felt like there was space in the market for a service that would improve the dealing of equity for private companies.
He’d spent some time as the Relay Network’s product owner, where he received stock options. But figuring out what to do with those when he left the job in 2015 wasn’t super simple, he said.
McConnell started brainstorming with his dad, a lifelong entrepreneur, about enhancing private company’s experience internally trading equity, and in early 2019, the pair launched fintech platform Nth Round (pronounced like the letter N — not 9th).
“We essentially came up with an idea to improve exchange of equity and make it more just for employees,” McConnell told Technical.ly.
The startup’s platform allows the creation of a platform for leaders of private companies to invite new shareholders, communicate with current ones, upload important documents and post timely information to their closed network of shareholders. Employees and shareholders can post bids, trade shares, and communicate company and shareholder news on the platform, too.
“Private companies care about who has access to their equity, and we made the decision to put the control in their hands,” McConnell said.
The platform allows for equal access to information, the cofounder said, and is built with blockchain technology for added security. It also lends itself well to aid in fundraising, McConnell said, and current clients include small companies of about 15 people up to 150-person companies.
Technical.ly first heard of Nth Round last year — it made our 2019 RealLIST Startups list as an honorable mention. Since then, the startup has raised about $4 million in seed funding, and currently operates with a team of about 10 full- and part-time employees.
And the startup has picked up a handful of Philly clients, including Triple Bottom Brewing, the Callowhill brewery that opened in fall of 2019 with a mission-driven model supporting its employees, the community, environmental sustainability and financial sustainability.
McConnell said working with the brewery’s leadership was a natural fit for the startup because they care a lot about their employees, and want to make sure they’re being rewarded with equity and are invested in the success of the brewery.
The cofounder said that his team has spent a lot of time building out the platform, and thinks that the rest of 2020 will be spent on growth in areas like sales and marketing.
“It feels like we’re so fully featured at this point we should be getting out to market and making sure people know what we do,” he said.