As private companies continue to stay private longer and longer, our Global Private Markets team keeps getting better and better. Ryan Logue just joined the Solium ranks to help us meet the growing demand for secondary sales by our private company clients. He was in Calgary last week and had a few minutes to spare for some coffee talk.
How would you describe your area of expertise?
I help late-stage, private, VC-backed companies get liquidity before they IPO.
Hearing it that way (with all those adjectives) it sounds like such a niche area. How did that become a career path?
Yup, periodic managed liquidity events have become much more prevalent in the last few years as private companies continue to stay private longer. Basically, these types of liquidity events are meeting the needs of both private companies and their employees.
Employees of these companies have often accepted compensation packages that are light on base pay but rich in equity – taking the long view that there would be a substantial pay day when the company became public. But many of them never dreamed their employer would remain private this long, which puts them under financial pressure. And let’s remember these are not trivial sums. Understandably, they’d like to see some reward for the work they’ve done and the risks they’ve accepted. Employers are sensitive to that, but don’t want to be pressured into an IPO before they are ready. So, you can think of periodic managed liquidity events as a pressure release valve for both parties. Plus, in a competitive talent market, regular liquidity events help a company stay competitive with A) other private companies already providing liquidity, and B) public companies.
Cool. So, what role do you play?
I’m here to make sure that Solium can manage anything a company wants to do secondary-wise – from one-off sales through to broad-based tender offers.
How did you get into liquidity events?
I took a job at SecondMarket right out of law school in 2010, managing all their trades in companies like Facebook and Twitter. That evolved into working directly with companies to help them control their transactional activity. It is amazing to see how much things have changed over the past eight years and I have really enjoyed playing an active role in the evolution of the market.
That must have been quite an education!
For sure. It was informative to see people who had worked hard and taken the long view, who had taken risks, rewarded for their work. Some of them were able use their proceeds to fund their own startups. It’s great to see the cycle of innovation continue and to see reinvestment into the tech ecosystem.
What do you like most about what you do?
I love the clients. I’ve been able to work with some of the best technology companies that have ever been created. They’re coming up with such new and innovative concepts, and are solving problems across the globe.
What drew you to Solium?
I’ve known the Solium team for around six years now – through some mutual clients and partners. I’ve admired Solium’s commitment and dedication to meeting the various needs of private companies. I was definitely drawn to the team atmosphere and culture. And the client list speaks for itself.
What would you be doing if not liquidity events?
I had always planned to be an environmental lawyer, but the opportunity to work at a company like SecondMarket was too good to pass up.