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Private equity on line

If Steve Pellatier has his way, everyone will be able to invest in pre-IPO companies. Or at least everyone who meets the requirements laid down by regulators. Pellatier is the CEO of Offroad Capital, which is trying to open the private equity market to individuals and smaller institutions, although Pellatier prefers the term private securities, as he doesn't want to limit opportunities purely to equities. He does not skimp on ambition and wants Offroad Capital to be "the predominant global private securities marketplace by using the internet to bring together investors, issuers and intermediaries".

Offroad was the First to complete any such deal online on 31st July last year, two years after Pellatier left a senior position at Intuit. Until last month, he concentrated on the US market. "There is over $1 trillion in private assets in the US which is available for investing in private securities," he says. So he struck up deals with US companies to help further his cause. One is with investment bank Robertson Stephens, which is expanding the range of deals available to his investors. Another, with Mayfield Fund, aims to improving contact with the venture capital community. The third is with broker Charles Schwab.

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