So it may be with eShares, a new, Palo Alto-based company that’s asking law firms and startups alike to replace their paper stock.
Specifically, the eight-month-old company aims to digitize companies‘ stock certificates and later, options certificates – and to integrate with equity compensation software like CapMX so that every change to a company’s cap table can take place transparently, in real time.
Not only will more companies get funding, but Ward predicts that many more of them will “Live right under the IPO line, with 90 percent of their liquidity needs met by the private capital markets.” That could mean a whole lot of stock certificates.
Ward also launched eShares because Manu Kumar – the venture capitalist who today manages K9 Ventures – kept pestering him to do it.
As Ward tells it, to create, FedEx, replace and store paper stock certificates costs roughly $100 a year in paralegal time, and eShares can do it for $20.Options are even more costly to process today, and eShares aims to digitize them eventually, too – again for a fraction of their current cost.
Down the road, with shareholders‘ stock holdings and options digitized, eShares – which will start looking for $1.5 million seed round this spring – is promising them correct and real-time information about the value of their holdings.
The company has already talked with six top law firms in Silicon Valley; two have agreed to do a private beta with eShares next month.