The internet has been one of the most revolutionary and disruptive technologies in history, creating paradigm shifts across many industries. Included in this disruption was the digitization of the public markets in the 90s, which was driven from three principal factors. The first was transparency, or the ability for a much wider base of investors to analyze information and come to their own conclusions on how to properly price securities. The second was changes in pricing — which speaks to the demise of full-service brokers. Finally, greater access to information drove disintermediation, which again referred to the ability for investors to bypass old-school, full-service brokers and advisors for both information and trading of securities.
However, the mechanisms to commute trust and transparency into private markets have remained largely unchanged. As such, access to data, price discovery, liquidity, and secondary trading remain curtailed. Despite the slow rate of change in private markets, we have seen steady growth in terms of fundraising, which has accelerated over the last decade. Several factors can be attributed to the shift in investor sentiment globally, which will be addressed in this paper. This accelerating growth, along with emerging technologies such as blockchain and AI are set to transform private markets in a similar manner to the digitization of the public markets in the 90s.