When we founded FirstMark in 2008, our vision was to build a network-driven venture capital firm that would enable the world’s most ambitious founders to build companies that change the world. FirstMark is constantly looking at ways to innovate to better serve our entrepreneurs. It is in that spirit that we are proud to announce the formation of FirstMark Horizon Acquisition Corporation (FMAC), a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that we listed this week on the NYSE. The launch of FMAC enables FirstMark Capital to be the first full-stack (we can support you from seed through the public markets), full-service (institutional network and support through our world class platform) venture firm.
Our journey with SPACs began several years ago via firsthand experience with a portfolio company. As we learned more about the offering, we were excited about the flexibility to customize a financing structure specific to the context of the portfolio company and to choose a long term investor base, much like one would any private financing. Having been through the traditional IPO several times as entrepreneurs and with portfolio companies such as Pinterest and Shopify, we were intimately familiar with the shortcomings of the traditional route. So we began to re-imagine and innovate on the process of going public for entrepreneurs.
We have long believed that pathways to the public markets should not be a “one size fits all” process. The traditional IPO is time consuming, opaque and inflexible, subject to intense public scrutiny without any promise of what may be on the other side, and incentives that make innovation nearly impossible. Meanwhile, the rise of robust private markets have provided companies with access to large financings, accelerating a path to go public. SPACs are transformative because they allow for a highly tailored financing, with terms that are fully known to the company prior to any public process. From the perspective of the management team, a SPAC transaction feels like a private transaction with a trusted partner — similar to all of their prior capital raises — yet the company emerges as a public company with the public company caliber infrastructure and governance. With the launch of FMAC, we are pushing the industry harder to create a real, attractive alternative to the IPO process.
Our founding team includes Jason Robins, CEO and Chairman of DraftKings, who completed one of the most successful SPAC transactions in recent history and pioneered the idea that private tech companies could follow a different path into the public market. In addition to Jason, we have a stellar and diverse group of industry leaders who will help guide our target into the public markets.
Beyond the efficiencies of the SPAC structure and opportunities to innovate on the public offering process, we also believe that our decades of experience puts us in a unique position to support entrepreneurs. We have served as lead directors and active partners to entrepreneurs from the earliest stages through the public markets and significant scale. We can empathize with the successes and challenges in building companies across stages, and appreciate the history that is enabling the future. We have a long term, patient perspective that knows the path to success inevitably bends and twists along the way. And our investors can take comfort knowing we have been fiduciaries of third party capital for a long time and understand the nuances and pressures that come with that responsibility.
In addition to our experience, we bring the FirstMark Platform and ecosystem. Since launching our Platform, our events and communities have engaged thousands of founders, world-class operating executives, and leaders from the tech ecosystem. Alongside the SPAC, we are announcing the launch of “Public School,” our pre-public educational guild. Public School will educate management teams about public financing options, demystify the process of going public, and provide frameworks for best-in-class systems and governance.
We are ready to embark on a long-term partnership with the world’s most innovative entrepreneurs as we guide the next generation of iconic companies to the public markets.