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BNP Paribas Announces Investment in Forge and Launches Industry-First Investment Product focused on Pre-IPO Securities

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NEW YORK and SAN FRANCISCO, April 03, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BNP Paribas, a leading European provider of banking and financial services, announces an equity investment in Forge Global, Inc. (“Forge”), the leading marketplace for pre-IPO securities, in addition to a strategic product collaboration. The collaboration will involve the development and distribution of investment products providing exposure to Pre-IPO / private innovation companies. Angel Rodriguez-Issa, Global Head of Strategic Investments at BNP Paribas Global Markets, joins Forge’s board as an observer.

In response to increasing global customer demand for investment opportunities and economic exposure to shares of Pre-IPO / private innovation companies, BNP Paribas’ world-renowned derivatives group has collaborated with Forge to create a structured equity product that is the first of its kind in this asset class. Leveraging Forge’s technology, data and global relationships across “unicorn” firms, the product will be linked to a diversified basket of private shares. The selection process for the securities held in the aforementioned investment product is based on similar criteria used by venture capitalists.

“This relationship represents a sea change not just for global investors but for high-growth companies seeking liquidity,” said Kelly Rodriques, CEO of Forge. “With BNP Paribas, and through the Forge platform, we’re bringing cutting edge financial products to market that provide investors unprecedented access to pre-IPO securities while presenting new options for private companies to raise money and control their financial future.”

With over 300 unicorns in the world, representing over $1 trillion in enterprise value, many investors – including institutional and high net worth clients of global banks – are looking for access to these private innovation companies.

“Institutional investment in pre-IPO companies is a new market for BNP Paribas, which we believe will be compelling to our clients who are looking to diversify their portfolios and tap into private technology growth potential,” said Nicolas Marque, Global Head of Equity Derivatives at BNP Paribas. “As one of the first banks to engage in this type of strategic collaboration, BNP Paribas continues to demonstrate our commitment to providing leading-edge solutions to our institutional and corporate clients.”

“The introduction of a structured product solution solves a clear access need to private equity exposure,” added Sohail Prasad, Founder and President of Forge. “The market has demonstrated strong demand for innovation companies across all investor types. We’re incredibly excited to partner with BNP Paribas for the launch of a $1 billion series of investment products and look forward to further collaboration to enable liquidity in this asset class.”

About Forge Global, Inc.
Forge is a premier trading, settlement and custody partner for a wide range of investors in the private markets. Established in 2014 as Equidate Inc., the company empowers investors and shareholders by enabling liquidity in the private markets and has completed nearly $2 billion in transaction volume since inception. Forge was founded by Y Combinator alumni and backed by top investors including Tim Draper, Peter Thiel, FT Partners and Munich Re. Forge's platform allows employees and investors in privately held innovation firms to liquidate a portion of their shares, and provides private and institutional investors access to top companies like Spotify, Lyft, and 23andMe before their IPO.

About BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas is a leading bank in Europe with an international reach. It has a presence in 72 countries, with more than 202,600 employees, of which almost 155,000 in Europe. The Group has key positions in its three main activities: Domestic Markets and International Financial Services (whose retail-banking networks and financial services are covered by Retail Banking & Services) and Corporate & Institutional Banking, which serves two client franchises: corporate clients and institutional investors. The Group helps all its clients (individuals, community associations, entrepreneurs, SMEs, corporates and institutional clients) to realize their projects through solutions spanning financing, investment, savings and protection insurance. In Europe, the Group has four domestic markets (Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg) and BNP Paribas Personal Finance is the European leader in consumer lending. BNP Paribas is rolling out its integrated retail-banking model in Mediterranean countries, in Turkey, in Eastern Europe and a large network in the western part of the United States. In its Corporate & Institutional Banking and International Financial Services activities, BNP Paribas also enjoys top positions in Europe, a strong presence in the Americas as well as a solid and fast-growing business in Asia-Pacific.

Press contact

Media Contact for Forge:
Hotwire Global Communications Agency
forge.us@hotwireglobal.com

Media Contacts for BNP Paribas:
Mylene Benmoussa
+1 212 841 2351
mylene.benmoussa@us.bnpparibas.com

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