Raising capital can be chaotic, emotional and inefficient to most, especially those with less contact with private markets. We sat down with Jason Frishman, Founder and CEO of Netcapital, to learn how he’s helping startup companies.
I’ve long been interested in the topic of capital formation and its role in helping startup companies to get off the ground, create jobs and help the economy expand.
Founder & CEO of Netcapital
Who are your biggest influences?
I would say the members of our advisory board. They have all had successful careers in finance and technology and share our vision for the future of democratizing investing in private markets. They inspire me to do what I’m doing.
What drove you (or your family) to start your company or firm?
I’ve long been interested in the topic of capital formation and its role in helping startup companies to get off the ground, create jobs and help the economy expand. My background was in medical research, which is very structured, but when it came time to raise capital, I discovered it was just the opposite – chaotic, emotional and inefficient. In terms of providing capital to startup companies – the lifeblood of innovation – the mechanics that make capital markets work were absent. So I asked, how can we make this work better?. Provisions of the JOBS (Jumpstart our Business Startups) Act that went into effect in 2016 eliminated some of the regulatory constraints and inspired us to develop this online tool to address the problem, so we founded Netcapital.
Here at SVB Private we understand that wealth rarely has to do with money. What is your wealth really for? Tell us a little bit about what motivates you – the Why behind your passion and Why you work so hard to achieve your goals?
At Netcapital, we are motivated to solve problems. It would be better for the economy if capital markets, and in particular private markets, operated in a way that is more accessible to the average investor, and not just the ultra-wealthy. What motivates us is helping entrepreneurs and investors to access this asset class.
As a business person, what has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge has been in building the right team. As a leader you have to trust the people around you to do the job you hired them for and then move forward at the speed of trust. You can’t micromanage when you’re starting a business. It’s a constant challenge, but we wouldn’t be where we are without the team we have. Our progress is a testament to our team.
What are some of the things you have learned about yourself that surprised you most?
I have been surprised by how many people care about the space we are in. What we do touches so many aspects of financial services: banks, broker dealers, RIA's, investment platforms, etc.., and each with a different vantage point on the private capital markets. I learn every day from others as we continue to grow Netcapital and as others learn about us, I learn from them.
“If I could spend 30 minutes with a person of import, it would be…."
I would have loved to meet Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher. I find his philosophy on life, problem solving, and personal resolve to be particularly inspiring and helpful. I would have loved to learn more from him on his life and his own challenges.
My favorite part of the day is late afternoon because...
That’s when we hold our whole staff update meeting. It’s a great chance for everybody to get an update on the business and what each of us has accomplished, and to generate excitement about what we’re doing.
This does not reflect their experience as an SVB client and is only a personal story.