The team at Carta notes that they’re making a visual change which is indicative of “the external manifestation” of the next evolution of their platform.
The first problem they had set out to solve at Carta was “the electronic issuing and signing of private stock certificates.” It may seem hard to believe now, but this was “controversial in 2013,” the company wrote in a blog post.
They added that it was an odd artifact of history that they “issued electronic stock certificates for public companies, but paper stock certificates for private ones.” If you wanted to buy a share of Apple stock, you could “click a button and buy a share online for a $7 fee (at the time).” But if you wanted to invest in two founders in a garage, “it would take 60 days to close, $20,000 in legal fees, and you would get a paper stock certificate in the mail.”
The company further noted that issuing shares electronically through Carta “made it easier and cheaper for companies to issue equity to themselves and their employees.” It also allowed them “to create a real ledger with both sides of the transaction.” Carta became “the central registry of ownership in private companies.”
According to the firm, the most beautiful thing about building Carta is that “the more problems we solve, the more problems we get to solve.” By solving the problem of digitizing stock certificates, they “built the ownership graph of private markets.” And that platform allowed them “to solve new problems for [their] customers.”
With the majority of private assets on Carta, it only made sense that they “were in a position to value those assets.” So they started “issuing 409A valuations, and quickly became the world’s largest, and fastest, provider.” And because they were the source for how equity was distributed, they could “help founders and CFOs understand how to pay their employees with compensation products.”
Because thousands of companies used Carta to manage their cap tables, “almost every venture investor already had their portfolio on Carta.” So they “built software for them to manage their investments, form funds, and manage SPVs.”
Because Carta was already the central registry of ownership, they were able “to build liquidity solutions to transfer ownership with the click of a button rather than a stack of legal documents.” Because they are already the registered transfer agent for their customers when they were private companies, they could also “be their transfer agent when they went public.”
And because all of an employee’s private assets were held in one place on Carta, they could “help solve their problems too.” Because Carta issued their stock, they could tell if their securities “were eligible for tax savings like QSBS or digitally file 83(b) election forms for them.”
Somewhere along the way, there was “a fundamental shift in the problems we were solving for our customers.” Carta became “a platform rather than a product.”
The next era of Carta “will be the platform era.”
Today, Carta reportedly “manages $2.5 trillion in equity value for over 2 million stakeholders.”
They have “returned $13 billion to the hands of individuals through secondary transactions.” Carta’s platform now “connects millions of nodes of the ownership network between employees, companies, and investors around the globe.”
Their success in this era “will be defined by our customers. If our customers love using Carta, we will be successful.”
Their role is “to build the infrastructure our customers can rely on so they can go build the future we hope to live in.” They solve the hard problems of compliance and accounting and tax so their customers “can keep building what they love.”
Some of the most innovative companies of their generation started on Carta. Building infrastructure for them is their small way of “accelerating the pace of innovation in the world.”
Living up to their responsibility to their customers “will be the result of a million decisions made over decades by thousands of Carta employees in dozens of offices around the world.”
The visual change they are making today is “the guide for those millions of decisions [they] will make.”
Their new mark “represents the reality that [they]are the foundation upon which our customers rely.”
It is a frame with which they can highlight and share the accomplishments of their customers. And it is a window through which they can look together at the future that their customers are bringing to life.