In the murky world of private-market ownership, startup employees sign up for hard work and a shot at IPO glory but often wind up empty-handed (just ask anyone who took a chance on a former rocketship). Why can’t large private companies share the wealth and behave more like public ones? Enter Carta. Founded in 2012 and today valued at $1.7 billion, it helps more than 13,000 private companies manage their cap tables—records of the securities a company has issued, who owns them, and how much they’re worth—providing rank-and-file employees transparency and leverage in a system historically prone to abuse. In early 2019, it launched scenario-modeling tools to assist investors and companies seeking to optimize exits. (Carta offers its own employees liquidity events—a chance to cash out—every 12 to 18 months.) “The wave of the future,” says Carta chief people officer Nolan Church, “is private.”
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A version of this article appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of Fast Company magazine.