Security token issuance and management platform provider Harbor announced a major new iteration of its platform this week on its Medium blog. The first version of Harbor’s platform was available only as a managed service. The new version, dubbed ‘Harbor Platform 2.0,’ features a dashboard that token issuers can use to customize investor management and liquidity protocol settings.
Harbor claims that Harbor Platform 2.0 will provide fast-growing startups a way to raise funds directly from investors without having to go through intermediaries. Harbor Platform 2.0 is designed to give the security token issuer control over their cap table, including the ability to unlock liquidity to select groups of investors.
Harbor CEO Josh Stein said, “Startups want new ways to raise capital directly from investors, not only through intermediaries. They want to open up fundraising to a broader network including customers, partners, and fans who are key to their success, while still being in control of their cap table. Harbor Platform 2.0 is a turnkey solution for tokenizing private company equity that enables startups to open up fundraising directly to a broader group of investors and create innovative equity programs. Harbor allows companies to create liquidity options under controlled conditions and limit trading among trusted parties. Startups can now create more liquid, yet controlled, equity programs for key external stakeholders, not just employees.”
Harbor described several Platform 2.0 use case examples in the announcement, all based on conversations with prospective clients. The examples show how a startup can leverage its client base to attract additional funding at a lower cost than it would incur otherwise.
One example involves sports franchises looking to raise fresh capital: “Sports and esports teams can drive fan engagement by allowing them to become minority owners. Fan equity programs can include dividend-generating ownership without control provisions, and instead bundle in unique owner benefits such as private meetings with players, unique merchandise, and special ticket offers.”
Harbor Platform 2.0 features an issuer dashboard with real-time cap table details, an issuer-branded investor portal, and partially-automated investor onboarding and verification functionalities. A module dubbed ‘Trusted Parties' manages smart contract compliance protocols to enforce rules and exemptions on security token trading and transfers.
Arisa Amano, Harbor’s chief product officer, noted that Harbor Platform 2.0 allows startups to lock up capital without locking in investors. Amano said, “Some companies and funds want to closely control their cap table, but also unlock liquidity among a closed network of investors. The ability to restrict liquidity among trusted parties is only possible with a solution like Harbor that tracks the real-world identity of buyers and sellers. As a result, companies can allow selected investors to trade in and out according to rules they set, above and beyond compliance with securities laws. A real-time issuer dashboard provides startups complete visibility and control over changes in ownership.”
Harbor Platform 2.0 includes APIs that can connect with a company’s existing infrastructure for electronic signatures, accreditation checks, and KYC/AML. Harbor partner BitGo provides the Harbor Platform 2.0 with BitGo Custody and BitGo multi-signature wallets.
Harbor is backed several Bay Area venture capital funds including Andreessen Horowitz, Craft Ventures, Founders Fund, and Pantera Capital.