10 Questions with Anand Sambasivan, co-founder of PrimaryBid
PrimaryBid is democratising access to capital markets by connecting publicly listed companies with everyday retail investors
1. Describe your light bulb moment?
I had two real aha moments. The first was when I started my career as a banker in New York and I saw how the big institutions were able to buy equities from follow-on placements and IPOs. These deals pretty much got them free returns because they were priced at such attractive rates. The second came many years later was when I read an article published by the Fed stating that 40 percent of all of U.S. public equities are directly held by everyday investors. I thought, gosh, 40% of the market have the shareholding but are not able to access the same deals the institutions can. PrimaryBid is our way of doing something about this.
2. The biggest challenge your business is facing to date?
Navigating the market infrastructure of new geographies. We are transacting in the UK alongside our partnership with London Stock Exchange. Soon expanding into 9 new geographies alongside our partnership with Euronext. To launch in each new country we need to adapt our systems and processes to fit the specific market framework. No two regions are alike! Luckily we have the stock exchanges as partners who help us navigate this quickly.
3. If you could go back in time, knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to your past self?
Hire for your blind spots early.
4. Tools/ tricks to perform efficiently?
Two things. First, inbox zero, good luck with that. Second, and something that is more personal is that while we are running at 110% it’s so important to have perspective. I have a seven-month-old baby girl and I go home and I love being able to hang out with her and switch into a different gear.
5. Talk through your strategy in building a team around you?
There is so much here to unpack that I couldn’t do it justice in a few lines. One key thing I look at is cultural fit. We are a team of 25 and are fortunate that every single member is a trained killer professionally and an absolute sweetheart personally. The team dynamic is fantastic. That is very precious and I protect it. So when we are hiring a new person I ask myself, will this person maintain our ratio of 100% awesome?
6. What has surprised you most about starting your own business?
I continue to be amazed how early stage businesses get funded by people that have blind faith in you, the entrepreneur. Knowing that I am the custodian of their hard earned money and savings is a very soulful feeling. It pushes me to never give up until I have overturned every single stone and squeezed every ounce of juice out of this thing.
7. What keeps you up at night?
Opportunity cost. We are at a stage where there are so many great ideas, opportunities and inbound calls from institutions in different parts of the world. There’s so much that we could possibly do. And so the opportunity cost of doing something is huge because it’s resources that could have been put to towards doing something else.
8. Talk through one of your daily rituals?
I take the bus to work. It’s empty when I come in so I get that front seat and I listen to a podcast. The two that I really like are Twenty Minute VC and Rebank. Hearing from other founders and VCs is a great way to meditate and get perspective on the way in to work.
9. If you could instantaneously gain a new skill what would it be?
I’m going to go with expertise in quantum physics. It’s a subject that has fascinated me for decades. I even tried to study it in college but alas couldn’t get my head around the math. Something tells me the meaning of life is hidden somewhere in there!
10. What do you read/ listen to keep informed/ inspired?
I’m a voracious reader. I keep updated with news, specifically in my sector such as the Economist, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Investors Chronicle. I’ll also read key blogs. Matt Levine’s Money Stuff is my favourite. On weekends I’ll escape into something different. I love fiction and non-fiction. Currently reading Something Deeply Hidden by Sean Carroll. Mind boggling.