Caption is a platform that facilitates secondary sales of shares in French startups.
Founded in 2021 by Mathieu Artaud, Quentin Lechémia, and Lucas Mesquita, Caption has attracted more than 30,000 investors who are looking for alternative ways to buy shares in France's hottest startups. This has given the founders a unique view into how the French Tech ecosystem has been impacted by the downturn in funding and valuations.
In this week's interview, Mesquita shared his thoughts about the evolution of startup investing:
FTJ: Can you give us an overview of Caption?
Lucas: The platform is quite simple. It allows you, as a start-up shareholder, to sell shares. We took a full secondary market positioning because crowdfunding was not an alternative for us, given that the best start-ups want to finance themselves with VCs or top Business Angels.
The goal for us was to bring liquidity to the shareholders, primarily the employees who have stock options and then the founders and business leaders who entered the Seed stage and who would like to have partial or total liquidity on their post-Series B, C, or D investments.
FTJ: What are the criteria for investors on the platform?
Lucas: If you don't understand the risks you have, the risk of liquidity, of losing your invested capital, you are not allowed to invest on the platform. You are automatically excluded from the platform. On the shareholder side, you get in touch with us, and you tell us what shares you want to sell, how many you want to sell, and at what price. Does your shareholder agreement allow you to do this? If so, what are the processes you need to put in place to sell those shares? If it's possible and we judge that the shares of the start-up that you want to sell are qualitative and are sold at a price that is a fair market value according to the company's gross, according to the categories of shares, then the shares are put on sale on the platform and investors have the opportunity to buy at the price that is offered.