Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Conventional startup-land wisdom used to be that entrepreneurs and early shareholders cashing out some of their stock was a sign of disloyalty and would lead to a lack of interest in growing the business. Those beliefs have greatly changed.

Why it matters: Secondaries are becoming a normal, and even expected, part of a startup's life.

The big picture: Despite the recent avalanche of big-name tech listings like Coinbase and Airbnb, companies are staying private longer, tying up founders and early employees' paper wealth beyond the previous norm.

  • Venture capital funds are also getting larger, pushing up investors' ownership requirements in their portfolio companies. Secondary sales have acted as a side door for getting those bigger stakes.

What’s happening: A slew of new services and approaches are cropping up to support the uptick in secondary stock sales.

  • Pipe CEO Harry Hurst spoke in December with Axios about his decision to let employees of the marketplace for revenue-based lending sell some portion of their equity annually for cash.
  • "We're definitely seeing a shift and you're definitely going to see more Harry Hursts and Pipes. … They were also early employees once upon a time, so they know the struggles," Inderpal Singh, general manager of AngelList's Transfers product, tells Axios.

Carta, a Silicon Valley company best known for its popular cap table management software, in February debuted its exchange for private startup stock.

  • So far, only its own stock has been listed for trades on the exchange, dubbed CartaX, though sources say the company is in late-stage talks with a number of others.

Between the lines: There's momentum for private startup stock exchanges sanctioned by the issuing companies themselves, but there's a delicate balance to strike.

  • Control is one of the — if not the only — reasons these companies are remaining private. There’s only so much of they'll want to give up so stock can more freely trade before they go public.
  • "We want to make sure that we're doing right by the founders and the companies," says Singh, when asked if AngelList has any plans to build out a marketplace for secondary stock sales. For now, it's sticking to facilitating transactions initiated by the companies themselves.

Another dynamic at play is the growing uncertainty about the recent special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) boom and slowdown.

  • Some company founders are choosing to set up a secondary sale or tender offer just in case an ongoing SPAC deal falls through, says Scenic Advisement CEO Barrett Cohn, whose firm frequently helps private tech companies execute stock sales.

Yes, but: Liquidity events at Series A and B startups — especially ones with large payouts for the founders — are still rare, and can raise eyebrows among investors.

  • The founders of Clubhouse, the popular one-year-old audio chat app, reportedly cashed out at least $2 million along its $10 million Series A round last May. Note that the app remains in beta, and is not yet generating revenue.

The bottom line: Startup secondaries are an undeniable part of startup-land — the question now is where and how they'll be done as the practice becomes institutionalized.

Go deeper

Don't call it "outsourcing": Hiring employees globally is getting easier

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Deel, a three-year-old startup that helps companies hire internationally, has acquired German software startup Zeitgold. The deal comes just months after raising a $156 million Series C, Deel's second funding round since the pandemic began.

Why it matters: The future of work might not be in the home office for everyone, but hiring the best employees wherever they are in the world is an undeniable trend.

Job gains slow sharply as U.S. adds 210k jobs in November

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. economy added 210,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate plummeted to 4.2% from 4.6%.

Why it matters: Job gains slowed sharply, but the labor market recovery remains on track.

Elon Musk's mega-billion bounty

Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Here's how insanely rich Elon Musk is: He has unloaded $10 billion of his stock in the past month — and could do that 15+ more times given his silos of shares.