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SEC approves a stock exchange built for tech startups

The Long-Term Stock Exchange lets firms go public with less pressure.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
May 12, 2019
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For tech companies, going public is often fraught with pressure -- they're suddenly expected to deliver positive news every quarter, and they might push innovation to the wayside in the quest to become proftiable. They should soon have a better alternative, though. The SEC has approved the creation of the Long-Term Stock Exchange, a Silicon Valley-based platform aimed at tech startups that want to go public while taking their time to develop products and services. The exchange will have rules to limit executive bonuses, require more disclosure for milestones and reward long-term shareholders with more voting power.

The green light required revisions before the LTE could receive the SEC's blessing. Companies on the LTSE will be allowed to list stock on other exchanges.

A number of companies have signaled their intent to list on the exchange when it goes live, although LTSE creator Eric Ries has declined to name them. If there's enough uptake, though, the platform could influence how the tech world goes public. Many companies wait a decade or more (including Uber) before filing for an IPO, by which point their most dramatic growth is likely over. The LTSE could shorten that period and give tech companies both the money and time they need to bring their ideas to fruition. While this could lead to some high-risk companies going public, it could also help with promising concepts that would otherwise have to lean on private backers to stand a chance.

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