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The serial entrepreneur who wants to disrupt investment

13_1_small Meet Barry Shrier. American, serial entrepreneur and the keynote speaker at the upcoming TechPitch 4.5.

Barry was the founder and CEO, then Chairman of The Liberty Electric Cars group of companies. He launched the world’s first zero-emission high performance SUV and grew Liberty into a multi-million business. In 2012 he sold it to Green Automotive (OTC:GACR) [stock market valuation $105M+], with founding investors earning over 90% CAGR.

Now he wants to disrupt the world of investment and revolutionise how investors can buy and sell shares in private companies. His company Liquity is the first European business to create a market place for shares in private companies. So how does it all work?

– The challenge for start-ups is to raise money. In order to do that they have to appeal to investors, explains Barry.

According to him most start-ups try to do this by talking about how great they will be a couple of years down the line. This isn’t the right strategy if you want to appeal to the money men and women.

– The problem is that they rarely talk about how the investor will get his or her money back. If a start-up signs up to Liquity it shows the investors that there is an easy way for them to sell their shares in the company on the platform.

According to Barry the starting point for Liquity is always the shareholders, they were after all what inspired him to set up the company.

– I have a lot of experience of working with investors and many of them are frustrated with the difficulty of selling private shares.

After researching the industry, interviewing CEOs and finding that the value of this sector is worth £300 billion in the UK alone, Barry set up Liquity in November 2013.

– When I launch a new business I like to go into a sector that I have no background in. That’s the only way to come up with fresh ideas and look at things from a different perspective.

So what advice can this serial entrepreneur give to the start-ups taking to the stage at the next TechPitch 4.5?

– The most important thing is how strong the team is, says Barry.
– The company will almost always do something different five years down the line. It might be a cliché, but it’s important to have an approach for plan B – and that’s all about the team…

TechPitch 4.5 is held at the Pinsent Masons offices in EC2A. Tickets can be bought here.