Joe Cecala is the founder and CEO of Dream Exchange, a new stock exchange that focuses on small business capital formation. He is the former CEO of Expansion Funding Partners and was part of the team that developed the first computerized trading network, ArcaEx. We discuss factors affecting small capital transactions, the Main Street Growth Act, and how Dream Exchange will impact minority-owned companies.
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IPO Your Small Business with Joe Cecala
Our guest is Joe Cecala, who is the founder and CEO of the Dream Exchange, which is an innovative new stock exchange for emerging companies. Prior to founding the Dream Exchange, he was the CEO of Expansion Founding Partners, an M&A advisor firm in Chicago. Before that, he was an attorney working on capital raising and M&A deals with Cecala Law Offices, also in Chicago. And Joe graduated from Loyola University in accounting, and he got his law degree from DePaul University College of Law. So welcome to the show, Joe.
So nice to be here. Thank you for having me.
That’s great to have you. So please tell me, Joe, how does one become from a notoriously a stock exchange founder, owner, CEO?
So, the transition of my life and my experience in the capital markets really provided a lot of the input, but stock exchange specifically, I was the lawyer for the founders of what became Archipelago. And Archipelago was the first company to really utilize the internet to trade equity securities and it became really the best and fastest platform to do that. Today the world knows Archipelago as NYSE Arca. It merged with the New York Stock Exchange 10 years after I was helping found it. And my former client, Jerry Putnam, became chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.
So it’s a little obscure. There are only seven stock exchanges that exist in the country today. So it’s not every day that a person is there to create or get the founding of the stock exchange. So I have that experience. It’s quite unique. And I used that throughout my career as the backdrop for creating what is now the Dream Exchange. I used my law practice in small capital deals and I used my M&A advisory firm to do the research for eventually trying my hand at creating a second stock exchange, which we’re in formation now.
Well, that’s very interesting. And particularly, I personally am very curious about this because I started life as an M&A advisor as well. And I, you know, I’ve spent a lot of time racking my brain is how I could get mid-cap companies onto the stock exchange. And London had a program for small companies, but even that was prohibitively expensive for like mid-cap companies under $100 million. I wonder how you found a way to do that. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Yeah, that’s so there’s two parts to that question. One is exactly right. What are the barriers that exist to a smaller and emerging company going to the public capital markets to get capital or to get liquidity? Yeah, after they’re successful, small companies were historically in the United States the most favored IPO. So there’s the research, our research showed that we were first we had to discover whether there was in fact a problem. And the research showed that between 70 and 90 percent of all IPOs before 2001 were 50 million dollars and under.
And by 2003 we were having fewer fewer than five, if we had ten in one year, maybe two percent of the market. So something happened to the market and we researched that extensively to discover that the cost and the cost prohibition really relates to the intermediaries, the investment banks, the brokers, because they can’t make any money on the small transactions any longer because there isn’t a sufficient amount of trading volume. So unless you’re a billion dollar company, an IPO, public capital market, is not very interested in you.
Even 500 million is, you’re gonna experience an enormous amount of price suppression or underpricing of the security. So smaller deals have gone away. And then the second part really was that interested me most is the fact that in the public capital markets, there are very good companies that are small that go public because they can finance their way through the expense and the burden of going through the public offering because it’s worth it to them. The increased value in public liquidity is worth it to them.
What I did was I took my M&A practice research and the capital markets research and I merged it together so that we can use the tools, the new tools like direct public offerings to reduce the cost and to reduce the banking fees and we’re in a niche market where there are a lot of small market M&A advisors, broker dealers, service professionals who would welcome the opportunity for a brand new type of exchange. So having done all that research, we really went and worked very hard to lobby for a brand new law. I can get into that a bit later, but that’s really the research we did. Actually, our research is published in Oxford University’s handbook on IPOs. It’s chapter nine.
And right, it’s called low visibility markets acting as stepping stones to national exchanges. In the research we discovered, there are absolutely clear characteristics of the small firm that will indicate that it will have a success in an IPO and in a public market. And that we hand gathered over 1,600 transactions to put markers on the success of the firms. So we know what the data is. We’re kind of driven that way. We have a director of research who’s a tenured professor at the University of Wisconsin. He’s well-known.
His name is Professor Ioannis Floros. He lectures globally. And that’s really what gave birth to this idea was to really help create a market structure that could invigorate the small capital transaction and like yourself, to get the intermediaries and the advisors excited about doing it, so that the willingness to pay the fee. And that’s, you know, it’s not so much that the fee is there, as it isn’t worth it to go through the trouble.
Because the valuation and the amount of liquidity and the amount of regular repertory reporting, it hasn’t been worth it. And now with the new formation of this marketplace, when we streamline and we use financial technology to make it cheaper and faster, we’re definitely there’s an enormous reach in the marketplace right now for what we’re offering.
So how much cheaper? I mean, I think a public offering on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ, it can be somewhere like 7-12% of the proceeds of the operate. So what are the costs or what would be the cost on a Dream Exchange IPO?
So the major price reduction in a $50 million transaction is where the exchange listing fees, so we can control that from the exchange level. But because of the way we’re organizing the process, I think we’re going to be around four and a half to 5% of the overall transaction. So significantly lower because there is less, most people consider that it would be the same amount of work in a $50 million transaction as a $500 million transaction, but there is less work to do. There may not be less risk attached to the security.
Okay, in fact, there may be more, but that isn’t going to be mitigated by doing more work, it’s going to be mitigated by identifying the firm that can succeed in advance, which is what we’re doing. We’re really targeting a certain audience that we know with a proper amount of due diligence and corporate governance and transparency and reporting and all the things that go into it, at more nominal fees, we can accomplish a successful, larger public marketplace for small cap companies. That’s the goal.
But would that work like a private placement for registered investors or high net worth investors, or would that be available for the public at large to invest?
There’s a brand new law called the Main Street Growth Act. And in that law, there’s the creation of a brand new type of exchange like our exchange called the venture exchange and a new type of security called the venture security. In those securities there will be four different trading tiers on our exchange. At the bottom trading tier there will be a limited ability for non-accredited investors to invest because they will be earlier stage smaller capital raises more akin to angel investing and accredited investors.The Main Street Growth Act introduces a venture exchange and venture security. Four different trading tiers accommodate both accredited and non-accredited investors, providing instant liquidity for smaller transactions. Click To Tweet
The second tier up will be much, it’ll look a lot like the Regulation 8 plus investing where the broad investing public is permitted to invest. The key to this is that bottom tier, now the other two trading tiers are exactly normal public offerings, okay, although smaller, and with specialized rules on the bid offer spread, on the timing of the auctions, on the tick. There’s an entire set of rules that are built into the law that allow us to accommodate the small company and really reduce fees and create liquidity.
The bottom tier for the, I want to call it the regulation A plus type security, the real benefit to that bottom trading tier is there’s instant liquidity, there’s actual capital market liquidity. So when they raise their money in a reg A plus offering and let’s say they raise 50 million dollars, well there’s a substantial lack of liquidity for that initial investment in a private placement.
Whereas if it’s a venture security, it will have exactly the same type of public liquidity available in the public capital markets with certain protective rules for the investors and certain enhanced reporting requirements for the company to have the privilege of getting up the national marketplace to buy and sell your stock. So that’s what’s in this new law. It’s a very exciting new law. I hope that wasn’t too complicated for the for the audience, but that’s really the the nuts and bolts of the tiers that are built into the Main Street Growth Act.
So, when you’re saying the documentation, so the documentation, is it more complex for the small companies to basically provide more information to put the public at ease of the risks, or is it reduced So it’s a lighter documentation.
So it is, It’s a lighter documentation, and it phases in increases in the reporting and documentation as the company goes to a broader market. So, for example, if you’re only raising five million dollars and you’re at the lowest tier and it’s angel investors and accredited investors, they’re going to get the same information that they would get if they invested privately as publicly.
So there’s not a full requirement to do an S-1 securities offer. But after you graduate and more of the investing public, the general public is available to invest in that security, then the reporting requirements are increased until they can graduate, like our research, the low visibility market. And as we incubate them and grow them, they can become more compliant with the full securities laws. And it’s worth it to spend the money because now they’re in a marketplace where the liquidity and the enhanced capital is available to them.
So how is it going to be different at the lower tiers than a private placement? How are you going to generate more liquidity for these offerings?
So because it is an actual stock exchange, so we’re not a private equity firm, we don’t have a closed list of investors. So it will be a listed security on a stock exchange, meaning that every brokerage that has a qualified account will be able to actually see the transaction. So today if you want to raise money amongst angel investors, well, you can’t reach all of the angel investors in the country. You’re reaching a relationship driven pool of private investors. If you’re listed on the exchange, the liquidity will follow.
If you’re a good company you’ll have liquidity. This is not a design to prevent all losses. People will invest and some companies won’t do well. On the other hand, the investing public will be making the choice. It offers a freedom of choice and opportunity and access to companies that the ordinary investor really at an early stage doesn’t really get the opportunity to see an opportunity to invest in. You know, Facebook before Facebook was public wasn’t offered to everyone.
Essentially, what you’re doing is you’re making private placements public.
Correct. In a quasi environment, because it’s a different in-between sort of hybrid. Because it’s not private, because it will grow and more investors are available. It’s also not fully public to the extent that without full reporting, certain investors at the lowest tier will not be able to avail themselves. But the second it meets minimum requirements of its market capitalization, its revenues, its growth, it will automatically move to the next tier and be available to the general public.
And then so they ultimately graduate and the next quarter they will have to submit a more involved report?
That’s correct. And we have training processes. This is the important, the tools we’re already using today, even before we’re open. We have educational tools that prepare them for the type of financial forecasting and earnings reports and management discussion and analysis reporting that is the demand on a public company that most private companies don’t have familiarity with. The CEO is busy developing the company. He’s not going to become a securities professional. We’re taking care of that.
We’re there to help them because the more successful companies, obviously, the bigger our exchange. So it is a very unique, brand new paradigm shift in the way it may not be for everyone. There’s often I get into discussions where everyone wants to fit some new company into this box. Not every company will want to do this. Some companies will want to remain private. Some companies will want a full public offering. But there’s a we we already know by survey that there’s an enormous population. There’s probably that we can target.
There may be as many as a million, 1.3 million companies in the United States that would be eligible. Okay. We only need a couple thousand. Okay. You know, a very small percentage is already interested. Interestingly enough, is another kind of a branch of this question. We’ve received extremely favorable responses from hedge funds, venture capital portfolios and private equity portfolios because they have good companies. Many of those companies, they would have to sell the entire portfolio or the entire company.
And this offers them an opportunity to recapture some of their liquidity with their successes, reinvest in their fund, and simultaneously bridge a gap towards a public offering that they may have to wait five or seven years longer to experience. So it’s been very favorably received. The American Venture Capital Association actually testified in congressional hearings saying we think this is a great idea. Many private equity firms have approached us. There are incubators of VC money that have come and said, we have 500 companies in our incubator. We can see 200 of them being immediate listings. So, liquidity, it’s liquidity that does not exist in the market.
I guess it will also allow the private equity funds to value their portfolio because if there’s a public quotation for the stock, then it’s much easier to value these companies and probably value higher.
So, do you feel like this could create a competition for private equity funds? Because right now at lower levels of the market, it is either them or trade buyers who can potentially buy these companies. But if I can take them and do an IPO and maybe keep control, don’t have to recapitalize the private equity fund, don’t have to give up control. I could just do a minority offering and take some chips off the table.
Yes, there will be a percentage of companies that it will be a one-to-one direct competition for the successful company that ordinarily doesn’t have a large enough capitalization or valuation to go public and really has only one market to go to. They have to sell to a private equity buyer. So yeah, there will be a sliver of what we’re doing that is competitive that way. It may not necessarily be as competitive because a lot of those firms, and we’ve talked to many firms, it’s 14 years of research.
Many of those firms are in a life cycle where they would actually prefer to cash out. They would rather sell to the private equity firm. And so, you know, for a long time, what they called dual track IPO private equity, we would definitely provide a certain amount of access to bringing them along on that dual track to find out valuation. And they’ll either exit or they’ll go venture. So we’re hoping that the nomenclature will be not go public, but do a venture offering. So yeah, I think that’s going to be a phenomenon. It’s a brand new marketplace, you know, we will find out.
That’s interesting. So what is the ideal size? You mentioned the $50 million company would cost them about 5%, 4.5% to 5%, 2.5 million. So is this kind of a fixed amount that it will cost to list there? So this is kind of below 20, 30 million, it’s gonna still be prohibitive? What is your expectation?
I think really the majority of this tier will be between 20 and $50 million offerings. And we’re expecting that commensurate valuations. In other words, because of the small size, and the usually the people who want to do this need the liquidity, they need capital, and they’re hoping for a higher valuation. So I suspect the valuations to be somewhere between 60 and 150 million, because the entrepreneur wants to hold his own securities yet get liquidity. So the ownership structure is likely to give them the liquidity without having to relinquish so much of a dilutive effect as they would in a traditional VC or private equity transaction. So, they can hold on to a bit more of their own creativity and wealth and harvest their wealth for themselves a little bit better.
So, if you say 60 to 160 million valuation is I think what you said. So in terms of EBITDA terms or net profit, what kind of multiples do you expect here? So would there be a 60 million, would there be an eight to $10 million profit company?
Well, that’s your seat. So we actually are internal measurements on valuation in that market and very often we may have negative or zero multiples because and I’ve been using the model like Tesla Motors didn’t didn’t have EBITDA until second quarter of last year but they’ve you know they’re the largest auto manufacturer in the world. So what we’re looking for are the companies that, and many of these have historically actually gone public.
For example, the biopharma industry, they’ll do a public offering, they have no earnings. Some of those companies are in phase two trials at the FDA in the hope that they’re gonna be a billion dollar valuation. They go to the public markets, they raise money, they have no EBITDA, they have no earnings, all they have is capital in and capital out. So I think that we’re going to see a large percentage of companies that are beyond the startup phase, they may actually be in a sales development, but they’re not yet profitable.
Now in terms of the multiples we do expect on earnings of these situations, it will be significantly higher than your traditional multiple. So even if you, for example, you know when WebEx they sold and they became the platform for Skype, they didn’t have EBITDA. They had a hundred million in sales, they sold for 32 times their sales. So the alternative valuation, you know, $3.2 billion for a company that really wasn’t profitable, but the use of the technology for another firm, so tremendously valuable that they can go in a public setting and look at a comparable earnings multiple and see, ah, this is a creative value.
And the longer the company’s able to sustain its capital and the longer we offer those opportunities to the general marketplace, the more the average investor can experience the expanded wealth. So what’s far more important is the increase in valuations by meeting milestones than meeting earnings expectations. That’s really how the traditional early stage company gets all of its investors. We’re just doing it in a public setting. I do expect multiples to be significantly higher.It's important to increase valuations by meeting milestones than meeting earnings expectations. Click To Tweet
And earnings multiples, I love the platform, the PitchBook platform. They’re a wonderful database and they’re very accurate. They capture most of the private equity market and they come out with their quarterly multiples as to what’s happening. I expect us to be a bit more mirror image of what PitchBook does. So you know 12 and a half multiples to 15 multiples are not uncommon with the companies that they’re reporting because the multiple is less important as is the intrinsic value of the company and maybe it’ll be an acquisition someday, but they’re getting a market valuation on their securities that enhances their bargaining power with future.
You know large purchasers is there a minimum limit that they have to sell in order to qualify? So this is now inside of our rulebook there will be, but until we publish the rulebook. I’m not being evasive. I just can’t commit. But there will be, yes. Generally, we will not have companies, with rare exception, that are in, quote unquote, prototype phases. We have to have an organization that is making sales and has a completed product. It’s not so early stage that they’re in development.
Now, there will be industry pools that we’re creating, like the old New York Stock Exchange had market specialists. As we develop the exchange, we will be developing the market specialist pools. We do plan to do a biopharma market specialist pool. The parameters for listing a biopharma company will be different from the Midwest manufacturing company because they have a longer wait. And each company, this is the beauty of the new law. We can customize the listing for each company.
What about the proportion of stock sold? Is there gonna be a minimum, like less than 10% of the stock would not qualify for a listing? Or there isn’t?
There’s going to be corporate governance restrictions, and there’s going to be much more extensive rules on insider availability. Rule 16 is gonna be much more extensive. So the responsibility for running the company and holding periods and lockup periods, there’ll be significant restrictions on the owners of the company to avoid pump and dump and to avoid the abuses of what is the over-the-counter market. So, yes, there will be minimums. Absolutely.
Okay, that’s interesting. So who are the competitors of this stock exchange? I presume this law is not you know, you don’t have a monopoly on operating under it. And there are other players here that try to take advantage of it or may have even lobbied for it to happen. What do you see out there?
So right now we’re aware of one direct competitor and we’re collaborating, believe it or not. And that’s the NASDAQ. So the NASDAQ has collaborated with us. They’ve lobbied for the law side by side with us. The reason that they are so willing to work with us is we barely overlap on what we’re contemplating for size of transactions. They’re going to go after a transaction, I think their minimum is going to be 50 million and up. So we’re our sweet spot and our labor obviously and our profitability will be lower because it’s going to take more work to do transactions that have lower volume.
So but the NASDAQ is very interested and very supportive. We’ve met with the the other exchanges. And so for example, the Chicago Board of Options Exchange, they don’t even have rules that allow them to do any IPOs at this moment. So they’re actually quite interested because our marketplace might make it easier for them to develop their own listing platform. So the NASDAQ controls about 80% of all new IPOs every year.
And the New York Stock Exchange is really the other 20%. So our direct competitors are actually not necessarily even other stock exchanges, but like you alluded to earlier, it’s go venture or entirely stay with the private equity firm or venture firm and or a hybrid. So we don’t have a lot of competition. It’s a very, very new concept. We were the pioneers in this, so there’s an old saying, the pioneers get the arrows and the settlers get the land.
There you go. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing for you.
Exactly. We are the pioneers right now, so we’re suffering through creating it.
So, okay, so this is starting and you don’t have much competition in the private equity funds. What are the weaknesses of this concept? So surely, there’s always pros and cons. What do you see as potential weaknesses and how are you planning to overcome them?
Yeah, there are a couple of what I consider to be major weaknesses and I think they can all be captured under a single umbrella and that is creating the confidence in something new, creating the education and understanding of how it will work. So it will be early adoption. And our strength is we have a great educational program and we have a great team and we’re building state-of-the-art facilities. So the more we can educate and build confidence in the marketplace, the more we’ll see investor migration and companies willing to list.
If we’re not able to really build confidence in the marketplace, then we, you know, this isn’t entirely new. You know, the Toronto Venture Exchange did not do a good job of building investor confidence. And they did not do a very good job of building stringent rules for investor protection. So we can live from their mistakes and we’re creating an environment where investor confidence in what’s being reported and in the liquidity, as that goes up, we’ll succeed. And if the investors are not confident, they won’t come to market.
The other, I guess, underneath the weakness is that we’re really reliant on the success of each individual listing. So if we get good listings, one of my early clients was a commodities trader and he made millions. And he taught me this lesson, the capital and liquidity follow the yield, not the other way around. So if something is making good money and it’s expanding in value, investors wanna get in. So we’re concentrating on companies that will have potentially very high yields, both as dividends grow and profitability and earnings grow, but as well and more importantly, as the valuation of the firm grows. So those are our weaknesses. We have to develop the market.
Got it. That’s understandable. And what about the timeline? So do you already have companies that are about to go public on your exchange? Or how do you see this really starting up?
Yes, so we have what we consider to be a social media website we developed called DreamX Connect. There’s about a thousand profiles in DreamX Connect right now. And we’re still a year from launch. I would say that there’s fewer than 50 of the companies we’re dealing with that are in that ready for listing. The good news is we do not require 4,000 employees like the NASDAQ. We can operate it in a very streamlined environment with, you know, to be a profitable exchange without needing 2,000 listings as our launch.
So in the venture market, I’m suspecting that if we have 50 good listings when we launch. And it’s very much, you mentioned the London, so the alternative investment markets there. They have about, I think they have close to 1,000 companies. They’ve been around for 25 years. It’s a very difficult market for them. This type of venture investing is not something that is favored in the London markets. They come to the United States.
So I think we’re going to have a bit of an easier time with the entrepreneurship spirit of the American company and I think we’ll get more listings than that faster. We’ll grow to many listings and the nice thing is it’s always a residual revenue for the for the exchange because once we have 50 in the following year we have another 50 and another 50 as we build the pool of equity and trading volume will be more successful in the venture markets.
So, it’s going to be critical, I guess, that the first offering’s gonna be successful, because if you had a failure at the beginning, that would be really difficult to overcome, right?
Yeah, and that goes back to what I was saying about confidence. It’s interesting because I’ve been going to Congress now for five years, and there are certain congressional leaders who say, you have to protect the investors. We want stringent protections. And that’s going to be very hard for you because the investor protection obstacles high. And then I get the, I leave the Congress and I get the investor perspectives, which is, you know, you really have to have something is gonna be very valuable. I’m willing to take risk, but we have to know that, you know, the firms are going to be growing very fast.
So, you know, it’s sort of like, it depends on the audience I’m speaking to. One person is more interested in slowing down the investment opportunity because they’re worried about people losing money. I mean, the reason the Securities Exchange Commission exists is investors lose their money. If no one ever lost their money, we would need no regulations. So there’s a validity to that. The other side is the investors are, they’re hungry. They have an appetite for investing in companies that will grow in value and appreciate their stock price. So we have to balance those two things. And I think we’re doing a very good job of that.
Certainly the Congress has reacted well. We had unanimous consent. I don’t know if you can appreciate that 435 members of the Congress voted yes for this bill two years ago. We had COVID and the problems, it’s not passed only because of that. But, you know, to get a Republican and a Democrat to agree that water is wet is a difficult task, but we have fairly bipartisan unanimity support for this is a necessary market in the American public, because they all the solutions Congress can come up with involve putting a burden on the taxpayer.
Yeah, no, that’s definitely sounds very special. So what do you suggest if I’m an entrepreneur, I’m growing my company, I have 20 million sales revenue, I make some money. How do I go about exploring this opportunity?
So today, the first great step that everyone seems to be taking is going to DreamX Connect. And we have a menu-driven profile of the company that already begins the process. And it’s actually a bona fide social media. So we have investors, we have intermediaries, they have their own profiles and begin the process of exploring the communication so that you can, like LinkedIn, the companies can search for investors and intermediaries, the investors and intermediaries can search for companies even today.
We’ve had successes even before we’re open. One company just had found a strategic investor, their management team’s married up nicely, they’re gonna get some money, and that’s okay with us. We earn nothing for that, it’s a free website. So the first step today would be get your profile in and begin talking with our senior management to see what are the necessary steps you’ll have to take between now and launch to prepare yourself if you’re truly interested in getting listed.
What if I want to keep my privacy? I want to explore whether it’s even feasible for me to be there. And I don’t want to let the whole world know that I’m thinking about this before I know that it makes sense. And I really want to do that.
Well, that’s what DreamX Connect offers. So there is no requirement on DreamX Connect. The company has complete discretion as to how much of the of the information they populate. So if you just want to have your website and certain industry characteristics and keep everything private fine as you go along the process If you realize oh, this is really going to be for me at that point. They will be in and this is after launch they’ll be in the confidential cycles exactly like the public markets.
So you know the emerging growth companies are allowed to file confidential documents to test the market and we will have exactly the same feature it’s just a feature available to a small company that is not available today because the way the small company tests the market is they have meeting after meeting after meeting with private equity firms to to do valuation discovery. Well, we’re offering that opportunity in confidential filings so they can test the pricing and feasibility of an offering without committing themselves to opening the world to all of their reported information.
And who is going to help them with that? So are they investment bankers, or is it you guys that will look at these companies? Who is going to give expert guidance on this? It can be all automatic, right? It’s not all AI.
Right, so the answer is yes. So we’re working in conjunction with different interest groups. There are securities lawyers that have formed certain groups that are willing to, at reduced fees, provide services. It’s a nice way for them to get clients. We have accounting firms that are pioneering that we’ve had discussions with. So what will happen is we will become kind of a centralized marketplace to help direct and create the relationships for the small firm that they currently don’t have.
That does make the pricing a bit variable but see the nice thing you know it’s a bit like I don’t know if you’ve had a car crash, you go to your insurance company and they know who the people repairing the cars are and they can police the market by saying, oh, this firm did a very bad job and we can internally begin the process of saying, well, we really can’t send any of these prospective listings through some particular law firm that is, that’s not doing competent work.
We can actually say that without slandering anyone, say, well, here’s the track record of these people, here’s the track record of success of those folks. So that’s been very favorably received by all of the intermediary marketplace, especially the smaller brokerages that really are concentrating on private placements that don’t have the cachet of Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan. They’re very interested in being part of this intermediary pool to reach for. It gives them expanded liquidity. They don’t have to raise money themselves. So, there’s a lot of intermediaries helping.
All right. So that’s great. It’s good news that they will have access to the experts. Before we wrap up, I have one more question. You mentioned on your profile that you’re hoping that this new stock exchange is going to help minority-owned companies to also raise money. What do you have in mind? How do you think it’s going to help them?
Our capital group, the ownership structure of the exchange, is going to be 60% minority-owned. And we have a particular relationship in the minority community. My M&A advisory firm was one of the key advisors to the Chicago Urban League’s entrepreneurship program. And so the minority capital markets are very, they’re weak. Actually, all you have to do is put the news on today and everyone’s trying to flow money into that community. But there isn’t actual mechanical help happening. So there’s plenty of people willing to put capital resources toward investing in a minority-owned firm, but we are actually working with the UrbanLink right now to create an agreement. We intend to open what I consider to be a retail type office space, consultive office space, right in the minority communities so that the better companies can actually come to us. And they may not have the relationships to reach to JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, but they have brilliant ideas. I probably have about 10 eligible minority-owned companies today who could list at our launch.
That’s awesome. Well, that’s fantastic. So I really look forward to that. So if someone would like to learn more, obviously DreamX Connect is a good place, I guess, for companies to go to. If they would like to reach out to you or learn more about the DreamX Change other than the Connect website, where do they go?
So on our website, which is dreamex.com, it’s D-R-E-A-M-E-X, there are information channels. So if they want to get in touch with a senior executive, there’s a link. If they want to find out more about the Main Street Growth Act, there’s a link. If they want to go to DreamexConnect, and then there’s just info at dreamex.com. So that informational email request, if they send an email to info at Senior executives from our company answer those emails and we open the dialogue with whether it’s an investor or whether it’s a new company. We’re very prompt in developing our relationships.
Okay, that’s very good. So thank you Joe Cecala, founder and CEO of DreamExchange, where you can IPO your small company. Thanks for coming on the show. I really enjoyed having you and for our listeners, stay tuned for next week.
Thank you so much for having me.
- Pinnacle: Five Principles that Take Your Business to the Top of the Mountain
- Joe’s Website
- Joe’s LinkedIn
- DreamX Connect
- Oxford University’s Handbook on IPOs
- Steve’s soon-to-be-published book
- Steve’s blog