All the way back in April—when Uber commanded a $3.5 billion valuation, instead of $18 billion—the New York Times delineated the difference between the current tech boom and the dotcom cycles of yore: "If it is a bubble, one thing that sets it apart is its relative dearth of retail investors."
Some companies planning to go public are opting to include employees, fans and customers in their IPO, giving them access to shares at the same time and same price as Wall Street.
GoPro, the wearable video camera company, will be employing that strategy during its initial public offering expected later this year. A startup called Loyal3 is helping the unaccredited to buy shares.
Loyal3 underwrites IPOs alongside Wall Street banks and allows investors with as little as $100 to invest in the companies it helps take public. It also allows investors with as little as $10 to invest the opportunity to buy shares in companies using its platform.
"I don't see these online platforms as doing something that bankers don't do already. If they are going to attract small investors, and investors buy into their sales pitch, then that's a chance they take," Damodaran said. "If they want to play the game, let them play the game."
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