Carta was conceived over lunch at a Thai restaurant.
CEO Henry Ward was there with Manu Kumar, an investor at the venture-capital firm K9 Ventures. Kumar had backed Ward’s last startup, Second Sight, a suite of investment tools that was, in Ward’s words, an “absolute failure.”
For whatever reason, Kumar still believed in Ward. And now he had a new idea for him.
Ward recalled to Business Insider how Kumar wondered why he still got a paper stock certificate in the mail when he invested in a private company. Investing in public companies was so much easier.
Ward was a “finance guy,” Kumar reasoned, referring to Ward’s master’s degree in capital market finance. Couldn’t he solve this problem?
Nearly a decade later, Carta is a $1.7 billion platform for buying and selling shares in private companies. (Kumar is a cofounder.) Carta recently closed a series E round, which brought its total funding to $448 million.
If you talk to Ward for more than a few seconds, you’ll see at least one reason for Carta’s explosive growth. Ward is a master salesman. He makes complex financial concepts easy to understand; he’s excited to answer questions about the company that he’s probably fielded 100 times before.
Ward recently participated in a Business Insider Prime webinar, where he walked through his series A and series E pitch decks. He discussed the importance of “message-market fit,” how Carta raised $800,000 in three weeks, and the only reason investors will support an early-stage company.
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