Henry Ward - Transforming Private Markets - [Invest Like the Best, EP. 273]
My guest today is Henry Ward, co-founder and CEO of Carta. Started in 2012, Carta helps companies and investors manage their cap tables, equity plans, and ownership. Last year, they launched CartaX, a platform for private companies and their employees to access secondary market liquidity. Our discussion is a detailed exploration of private market infrastructure and Henry’s views on building an enduring business. Please enjoy my conversation with Henry Ward.
For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content, check out the episode page here.
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[00:02:57 ] - [First question] - The first key mental moment of how Carta came to him
[00:05:30 ] - Initial thoughts on how to position Carta as a business model
[00:06:47 ] - Historical divergence between private and public market infrastructure
[00:08:33 ] - What a price discovery process for primary shares could look like in the future
[00:11:09 ] - The end state Carta is trying to effect in their perfect state
[00:13:29 ] - Why it’s so hard for private company staff to manage their illiquid wealth
[00:15:45 ] - Lessons and challenges in the new market creation business
[00:17:57 ] - The nature and dynamics of supply and demand in this space
[00:20:16 ] - Restrictions that prevent retail investors from participating in private markets and why there’s more alpha in private markets
[00:22:45 ] - How Carta is mapped onto the success of its customers
[00:25:27 ] - Deciding on what is a good idea and what isn’t when it comes to focus
[00:28:07 ] - Describing the One of N versus N of One market frameworks and principles of this philosophy that manifests in how he runs Carta
[00:32:11 ] - How working at Carta would differ from a payroll-type company
[00:35:37 ] - Characterizing his leadership and management styles
[00:37:57 ] - The types of circumstances that bring out his tough side
[00:39:33 ] - Making hard decisions in a bottom up management model
[00:44:05 ] - How he spends his time while building Carta
[00:45:02 ] - What a great product looks like to him
[00:49:13 ] - What he’s learned about being great at Go-To-Market
[00:51:26 ] - Effective ways to beat competitors and build relationship pipelines
[00:53:49 ] - Things he likes the least about leading a company of this size
[00:55:13 ] - What he fears most as he thinks about the future of Carta
[00:55:45 ] - Advice for entrepreneurs when thinking about data in modern businesses
[00:58:26 ] - The biggest missing pieces in capital market structure writ large
[01:00:17 ] - What’s next for CartaX and what he’ll be pushing to make it work
[01:02:10 ] - Lessons learned from serving venture investors
[01:04:25 ] - Whether or not investment banks are their competitors
[01:05:18 ] - Public market dislocation and how long it will last
[01:06:58 ] - The kindest thing anyone has ever done for him