Ledgy: Start-up wants to facilitate employee participation

Yoko Spirig

The Ledgy co-founder wants to make it easier for companies to involve their employees.

(Photo: Ledgy)

Berlin Yoko Spirig wants to push the European start-up ecosystem - through employee participation. "In contrast to large technology groups, start-ups can pay less, but instead offer something else that is very valuable: capital," says the entrepreneur.

In order to make the complex process easier for both employees and founders, Spirig set up the Ledgy platform together with two fellow campaigners. So far, the start-up, founded in 2017, has been active in its home market of Switzerland and in Germany and Great Britain are active, France and other European countries are to follow soon, and later they United States.

Ledgy needs fresh money for this and has now collected 22 million euros from investors. The Series B financing round was led by investor NEA. But Sequoia Capital from the USA – known for its investments in Doordash or Zoom – was on board again, like it was about a year ago.

Ledgy has developed software that allows start-ups to easily and clearly manage investments – from employees as well as investors. In addition, employees can view their holdings and thus have an overview of the development of their equity. Changes are entered immediately. Excel spreadsheets should be a thing of the past.

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Companies like Trade Republic, WeFox or Taxfix are already using the software. Spirig, voted one of the “Top 30 under 30” in the technology sector by “Forbes” magazine in 2020, says: “Our customers want to invest in their workforce in difficult times.”

In Germany, in contrast to the USA, participation models have so far hardly been widespread. This also has to do with the legal situation. "Employee shareholdings are crucial for start-ups to attract and retain top talent," says the chairman of the Federal Association of German Startups, Christian Miele. However, the German regulations are not internationally competitive and need to be simplified.

"Before I explained the German participation system, the developer had already signed three times in Silicon Valley," says Miele. The "Future Financing Act" planned by Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) must finally remedy that. So far, however, it is still insufficient.

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Spirig is certain that the majority of the problems on the way to an international presence have already been overcome. Because of the different rules in the various markets, Ledgy already offers country-specific participation plans. Spirig sees this as an advantage over the much larger US competitor Carta.

“As a result, we already know what it's like to operate internationally. We have customers in Australia, Israel and the USA. Companies that are active in several countries have several models running side by side,” says the young entrepreneur, who has done research as a physicist at CERN and at the University of Oxford in the past, but was not aiming for an academic career.

Ledgy now supports more than 2,500 companies and manages information from more than 25,000 people involved in start-ups. “We offer our software on a subscription basis. The price depends on the number of employees,” says Spirig. Growth companies with up to 150 stakeholders currently pay at least 600 euros per month.

The entrepreneur is not worried about the global economic downturn: “The underlying trend is unbroken. The companies want to expand employee participation. And we help them with that.”

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