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Frequently Asked Questions: Employee Shareholders



Employee Shareholders


January 23, 2024

What is Hiive?

Hiive is a marketplace for private stock in venture-backed companies. It is a platform for buyers and sellers of this stock to find counterparties for their transactions. Only registered broker-dealers are permitted to facilitate transactions in private securities. Hiive Markets Limited is a US broker-dealer registered with FINRA and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), and a Canadian exempt market dealer. Hiive Markets Limited also operates an ATS (alternative trading system) regulated by the SEC.

You can find Hiive’s profile on BrokerCheck for more information.

How do I sell my shares?

If you would like to sell your private stock, you can sign up for Hiive and create a “listing” for the stock you wish to sell. When you create a listing, you choose the number of shares and your asking price. Buyers will then be able to bid on your listing to purchase your shares. 

Alternatively, you may find that a buyer has already posted a “standing bid” for the type of shares that you hold. A standing bid is a posting made by someone who is looking to buy shares. You can respond to a standing bid by accepting it (to immediately start the transaction process), or by messaging the buyer to ask questions about their bid. 

For more details, read our guide on how to sell your shares on the Hiive.

How do I get started?

It takes just a few minutes to sign up, and you can do that here. If you are only looking to sell shares, you can sign up as a “Seller Only”. If you want to both buy and sell on Hiive, or view the current market for other companies, you can make an account as an “Individual Investor”. 

For regulatory reasons, we have to ask all Individual Investors whether they qualify as an “accredited investor” or have a similar status in the country where they live. If you do not qualify as an “accredited investor”, you can still sign up as a Seller Only.

Does Hiive have a minimum transaction amount?

Hiive has a minimum transaction amount of US $25,000. This means that if you want to list shares for sale, the number of shares you post, multiplied by your asking price per share, must be greater than or equal to US $25,000. 

Can I sell my options on Hiive?

In all cases, you must exercise your options to purchase actual stock before selling your shares. However, some buyers are willing to help fund the exercise price of vested options as part of a purchase transaction, and some companies are willing to complete a form of “cashless exercise” where the options exercise and sale transaction close one after the other.

In the case of a “cashless exercise”, the buyer sends the exercise cost (and any taxes) to the company, and the net sale proceeds to you. If your stock is in the form of vested but unexercised options, and you need help to fund the exercise price, you should include this detail under “Additional listing notes” when you make a listing on Hiive.

Can I sell restricted stock units (RSUs) on Hiive?

Yes, you can list RSUs for sale on Hiive. However, the unique transfer restrictions attached to RSUs means there are typically fewer buyers interested in your shares and bid prices are generally lower than for common or preferred stock

Why do I need to verify my identity to access Hiive?

We verify your identity as part of our KYC (know your customer) practices to safeguard against fraudulent activity and money laundering. Ensuring the character and quality of our user base is essential to maintaining a world class marketplace experience, and our goal is to ensure that you can trust the counterparties you engage with on Hiive.

What if the shares I want to sell are not listed on Hiive?

Our marketplace boasts over 2,500 tradable companies. These companies typically have a “last round valuation” (i.e. the valuation the last time the company raised money from venture capital investors) of at least US $500 million, and most have a last round value exceeding US $1 billion. 

During the sign up process, you will be able to indicate which company you’re interested in selling. If the stock you own is not listed, you will be able to input its name, and our team will review the request.

What if there are no prior transactions or listings/bids for the shares I want to sell?

Just because there are no prior transactions or listings/bids for the company in which you hold shares, does not mean that there will be no buyers for your stock. It simply means that Hiive has not yet facilitated a transaction in that company. In particular, it is possible that potential buyers have placed that company on their watchlist, and are waiting for sellers to make a listing.

In this case, you can make a listing at a price that works for you. Then, any buyers who have watchlisted that company will be notified of the new listing, and they will be able to bid on your listing.

What do I pay to sell on Hiive?

There is no fee to sign up for Hiive, place a bid or listing, or review pricing or transaction data. The only time you pay Hiive is if you complete a sale through Hiive or if there is a so-called “ROFR” (right of first refusal) transaction triggered by an offer through Hiive.

Example 1:
You find a buyer through Hiive, and then you close a transaction with that buyer, or the company or an investor buys your stock through a right of first refusal (aka ROFR) or similar process that was caused by the offer you received from Hiive, we will charge you a transaction fee based on the size of the transaction.

Example 2:
If you find a buyer through Hiive, and then the company blocks the transfer, we will NOT charge you a transaction fee.

On Hiive, only the seller pays a fee in the event of a closed transaction. This simplifies the fee structure, and makes it easier for both you and the buyer to understand the cost of a transaction. 

For more information about how Hiive works and how we charge fees, you can review Hiive’s Form CRS. There are also other costs you may incur in connection with a successful transaction matched through Hiive, such as transfer or admin fees charged by the company, legal fees, or taxes. 

Am I anonymous on Hiive?

Yes, any listing you make on Hiive is anonymous.

When you post a listing, other users will see pricing and volume information about the listing, along with any notes you include. The number of shares you post will also be rounded for extra protection. However, your name and any other identifying information remains private at this point. Even if you negotiate with the buyer on the chat function, you will remain anonymous unless you share your identity with them through the messaging function itself. Your identity will be disclosed to the buyer after you accept a bid from them, but will never be revealed to other users on the platform from whom you do not accept a bid.

How do I decide what price to list my stock at?

It is up to you to decide how much to list your shares for. However, Hiive contains some information that might help you in your decision, and you will see this information when you create an account and identify the types of shares you hold.

Hiive provides this information solely for informational purposes. It is up to you to make your own decision about the price to sell your stock. All the information and data points on the platform are approximate; they haven’t been vetted, confirmed, verified, or endorsed by Hiive. You should also keep in mind that the market for private stock of one company can vary significantly from one day to the next and one transaction to the next. Before you list your stock on Hiive, you should also read through these important disclosures.

Like more help on how to value your shares? Check out our guide.

How do buyers come up with their price? What if they offer a price that I think is too low?

Buyers may use various tools, methods, and data sources to estimate the fair market value of a stock. They may look at the last round value of the stock, as well as data points on historical transactions, bids, and listings for the stock, if these are available. If they are an existing shareholder of the company, they may have information about the actual performance of the company, such as financial statements. They may even ask you if they have information to share with them. They may also look at overall market levels and trends, industry data or research, and information on other comparable companies.

As a seller, you are not obligated to consider or accept any bid on your listing. It is entirely up to you to decide if and when to sell your stock, and for what price. If you receive a bid that you are not happy with, you can always make a counter offer through the platform, or send a message to the prospective buyer asking them to explain the reasoning for their pricing. In the private markets, there will often be a large “spread” between the asking (listing) price you post and the bid price from a buyer, which can lead to extensive negotiations before any transaction is ultimately agreed to.

Once I agree to sell my shares on Hiive, what are the next steps?

Once you find a buyer for your shares, you will accept a bid and then typically sign a “share transfer notice” or “STN,” which is a provisional agreement or “agreement in principle” signed on Hiive. The STN is typically conditional on any approval rights of the company, such as a right of first refusal (ROFR). 

Once this STN is signed by both you and the buyer, our Execution Services team will reach out to help you close the transaction. We have closed hundreds of secondary share sales and will be there to support you through each step.

Typically, it takes between 30 and 90 days (from the day the STN is signed) to close the transaction.

Do I need to ask the company for permission to sell?

No, Hiive will seek the company’s approval on your behalf if it is required. 

Whether or not you can sell (or “transfer”) your stock depends on the terms of your option agreement, option plan, company bylaws, shareholder agreement, or other relevant documents. Most companies’ documents permit you to sell stock as long as you have the approval of the company that issued that stock. Some also have a clause called a right of first refusal (ROFR), which means that if you do agree to sell your shares to a third party, the company or other shareholders may step in and buy them from you instead, on the same terms as you agreed to with the original buyer. 

Hiive will work closely with you at all stages of your transaction, which includes seeking company approval on your behalf once you have agreed to a price with a buyer.

What if the company doesn't allow transfers?

Some companies have a policy not to approve share transfer requests. If you are aware of such a policy, then please let us know. In rare cases, some company documents or option/shareholder agreements prohibit transfer altogether, without even providing an option for approval by the company. If you are aware that this is the case for your shares, let us know and we will advise you of any alternative options. 

There are risks associated with exercising your options ahead of a potential sale transaction. If the company does not approve the transaction, or the transaction is not completed for some reason, you may have to hold the shares indefinitely. 

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Please Read This Important Legal Notice and Disclosures:

The information presented in this media is provided for your informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer by Hiive to buy or sell, or a solicitation of an offer, or a recommendation, to buy or sell, any security. Hiive is not, by this media, providing financial, business, investment, legal, tax or other professional advice nor should this media be the basis for making any decision that may affect your financial or other interests. This media does not constitute a prediction of future events or performance. This media is not a research report and commentary contained herein should not be considered to be research. The information in this media, some of which may have been obtained from third-party sources, is provided on an “as is” basis. Hiive does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of information in this media and does not assume any liability for reliance on the information provided herein. © The Hiive Company Limited 2023. All rights reserved. Reproduction prohibited.

Find Hiive on BrokerCheck. Before you work with Hiive you should review the Form CRS and these important disclosures. Any references to “Hiive” are to The Hiive Company Limited and Hiive Markets Limited."

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*Securities are offered by Hiive Markets Limited, member of FINRA / SIPC and registered exempt market dealer in Ontario and British Columbia. Brokerage fees may apply. Find Hiive on BrokerCheck.

ᵅSecurity Specialists are registered representatives of Hiive Markets Limited and have no specialized expertise in the evaluation or recommendation of investments. Hiive does not provide investment advice and Hiive customers should obtain independent advice prior to buying or selling on Hiive.

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