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The Early Advantage: Investing Pre-IPO

The Early Advantage: Investing Pre-IPO

Pre-IPO investing has gained a lot of attention in recent years. This approach can offer a unique opportunity to enter the market before a company goes public, presenting new opportunities for accredited and non-accredited investors alike. In this blog post, we talk about how pre-IPO investing differs from post-IPO investing, the benefits and risks of investing pre-IPO, and explore how one could assess pre-IPO opportunities.

Understanding Pre-IPO Investing

Pre-IPO investing involves purchasing shares of a company before it goes public and starts trading on a stock exchange like NYSE or NASDAQ. Typically, these opportunities are available to accredited investors, who can invest directly in private companies that may be preparing to transition to the public market at some point. Avenues such as equity crowdfunding extend these opportunities to non-accredited investors, helping make venture capital investing available to all.

For investors seeking to meet their investment goals, pre-IPO investing is one opportunity to explore. While the public markets can provide more liquidity and transparency, investing before a company goes public could give you access at an earlier growth stage.

The Benefits of Pre-IPO Investing

Potential for Returns

The primary appeal of pre-IPO investing is the prospect of investing in a startup at one of its earlier stages of growth. For example, a study conducted by Manhattan Venture Partners found that at the 6-month mark post-IPO, pre-IPO investment returns beat post-IPO returns by a wide margin. In fact, later-stage pre-IPO investments also outperformed earlier-stage pre-IPO investments[1].

By investing pre-IPO, investors may gain access to companies when their valuations are still relatively low compared to after they go public and experience an initial public offering.

Early Adoption

Investing pre-IPO also allows investors to own a piece of exciting startups and emerging technologies before they are household names. Investors can get in on the ground floor of innovative companies that could transform industries and societies. Many startups today are staying private longer with the goal to achieve a higher valuation before their IPO[2].


Pre-IPO investing also can help enable a more diversified portfolio by including different asset classes beyond just public equities and funds. Having some exposure to earlier-stage startups could provide diversification opportunities to investors.


Many pre-IPO companies are forerunners of innovation and disruptive technologies. By investing in these companies early on, investors can support groundbreaking ideas and potentially benefit from the success of pioneering technologies.

The Drawbacks of Pre-IPO Investing

Lack of Liquidity

Investing in private companies means that the shares are not easily tradable, unlike publicly traded stocks. This lack of liquidity can tie up capital for an extended period, making it challenging for investors to access their funds when needed.

Total Loss of Investment

While all investing is inherently risky, investing in pre-IPO companies can carry a higher degree of risk compared to investing in established publicly traded companies. The potential for failure or a company not reaching its projected valuation post-IPO is one risk that investors may want to carefully consider. Additionally, the company may never conduct an IPO which can be a real risk investors should consider.

Lack of Transparency

Pre-IPO investing also typically has far less transparency, disclosures, and regulatory oversight than the public markets. Evaluating opportunities may require more due diligence on factors like business models, management teams, competitive landscapes, and valuations. Assessing risk and upside potential can be more challenging.

Overall, pre-IPO investing tends to be higher risk than public equities (which are still inhererntly risky) but with the potential for higher growth. It can require more research, due diligence, patience, and a higher risk tolerance than typical stock investing.

Key Considerations

When considering pre-IPO investment opportunities, several key factors should be taken into account to assess the investment opportunities:

  • Company Fundamentals: Conduct thorough due diligence on the company’s financials, business model, management team, and market positioning. Understanding the company’s fundamentals may be important in evaluating its growth trajectory.
  • Industry Trends: Assess the industry in which the company operates and identify potential growth opportunities, market dynamics, and competitive landscape. An in-depth analysis of industry trends can provide valuable insights into the company’s position.
  • Valuation: Evaluate the company’s valuation and compare it to industry benchmarks and similar companies. A reasonable valuation can be important in determining if an investment is right for an investor’s portfolio.
  • Exit Strategy: Consider the company’s potential exit strategies, such as acquisition or going public, and how the strategy and potential timelines align with your investment goals.
  • Risk Management: Develop a comprehensive risk management strategy to help mitigate potential downsides.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, pre-IPO investing can offer a unique opportunity for investors to access early-stage companies. While it comes with its set of risks and challenges, the potential for returns and early access to innovation may make it an attractive option for accredited investors seeking to diversify their portfolios. By carefully assessing opportunities and understanding the key considerations involved, investors can navigate the pre-IPO landscape.

Want to learn more about pre-IPO investing? Check out the following MicroVentures blogs to learn more:

Are you looking to invest in startups before their IPOs? Sign up for a MicroVentures account to start investing!


[1] https://www.mvp.vc/research-industry-sector-report/pre-and-post-ipo-returns-analysis

[2] https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/as-companies-stay-private-longer-advisors-need-access-to-private-markets


The information presented here is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be, nor should it be construed or used as, comprehensive offering documentation for any security, investment, tax or legal advice, a recommendation, or an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, an interest, directly or indirectly, in any company. Investing in both early-stage and later-stage companies carries a high degree of risk. A loss of an investor’s entire investment is possible, and no profit may be realized. Investors should be aware that these types of investments are illiquid and should anticipate holding until an exit occurs.