March 12, 2024

Equitybee vs EquityZen

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Equitybee and EquityZen are two of the leading pre-IPO investment platforms. But which is better for your needs? Read on to find out.

Equitybee and EquityZen are the most popular platforms used by startup employees and investors.

But what are the key differences between the two, and which is right for you?

This article breaks down the features, benefits, and minimum investment requirements to help you out.

What's your goal when investing in pre-IPO companies?

Is Equitybee or EquityZen Better?

  • Equitybee is better for startup employees who are looking for ways to get funds to buy their stock options at lower fees.

    This means that they can become shareholders in their companies and share in the profits if the company does well.

    It's easy to use and perfect for new investors who are just starting out. However, if you're an experienced investor, you may want to consider a different platform with more features. Find out more about Equitybee.

  • EquityZen is better for accredited investors who are looking for ways to invest in pre-IPO companies. It offers many investment options, including single-company funds, multi-company funds, and direct share acquisitions. However, its features may be too complex for new investors.

    EquityZen's investment minimums are some of the lowest in the industry, making it possible for individual investors to participate in private market investments. The platform is also an SEC-registered broker-dealer. Find out more about EquityZen.

What's your experience level with private market investing?

Key Similarities

  • Both platforms require investors to be accredited.
  • Both platforms offer services to employees of private companies who want to sell their stock options.
  • Both platforms require a minimum investment of $10,000.

Key Differences

  • Equitybee investors only get paid when the company sells or goes public. EquityZen investors have more ways to get paid, like selling their shares on the secondary market.
  • Equitybee lets you invest in pre-IPO companies through stock options only. EquityZen offers more investment options, like investing directly in individual companies, funds, and secondary offerings.

Detailed Comparison

Equitybee and EquityZen mainly differ in fees, investment options, eligibility requirements, and liquidity. Here is a comparison to help you see which platform is better for these factors.

What matters most to you in a pre-IPO platform?

Fees — Winner: EquityZen

EquityZen offers a more favorable fee structure compared to Equitybee.

EquityZen charges a one-time sales fee for investments in pre-IPO companies and private equity funds, with the fee scaling based on the investment amount. This tiered fee structure ensures that investors with larger investments pay a lower percentage fee.

Equitybee, on the other hand, charges a flat platform fee of 5% on all investments and a 5% carry fee if your investment successfully liquidates, which can be more expensive for larger investments.

Here's a breakdown:


  • 5% fee to fund an employee's stock options
  • 5% fee on the profits (if the company goes public)


  • 5% fee for investments up to $500,000
  • 4% fee for investments of $500,000 up to $1 million
  • 3% fee for investments of over $1 million

EquityZen does not typically charge carried interest or a recurring management fee on non-actively managed funds.[1] However, there may be exceptions, so be sure to review the fund's offering document and legal documents for details.

EquityZen Securities LLC, an SEC-registered broker-dealer and FINRA member, has the flexibility to partially or fully waive its sales fee.

Investment Opportunities — Winner: EquityZen

Both Equitybee and EquityZen let you invest in pre-IPO companies. However, EquityZen offers additional features like:

  • Secondary market trading
    EquityZen is like a stock market for private companies. It allows investors to buy and sell shares of private companies, even if the companies have not yet gone public.

  • Access to private equity funds
    EquityZen offers private equity funds that invest in a variety of industries and stages of development. These companies include Tiktok, Discord, and others.

EquityZen offers three types of deals:[2]
  1. Single company deal: Invest in a single company via an EquityZen Fund. This is the riskiest type of deal, but it also has the potential for the highest returns.
  2. Multi-company deal: Invest in a portfolio of companies via an EquityZen Fund. This is less risky than investing in a single company because your investment is spread out.
  3. Direct share acquisition: Invest directly in a single company's shares. This is the riskiest type of investment because it's all in one company and it can be difficult to sell your shares.

Equitybee focuses on helping employees buy their stock options and become company shareholders. This allows them to get the money they need without having to sell all their shares right away.

Investors who fund these employees receive a percentage of the profits and can buy the stock from the shareholders if the company goes public.

What is the minimum investment for Equitybee and EquityZen?
Both Equitybee and EquityZen require a minimum investment of $10,000.

Liquidity — Winner: EquityZen

Both Equitybee and EquityZen offer liquid investment options, but EquityZen generally has better liquidity than Equitybee. This is because EquityZen offers a wider range of investment options, including individual companies, funds, and secondary offerings.

This gives investors more options for selling their shares.

Additionally, EquityZen has a larger network of investors than Equitybee. This means that there are more potential buyers for EquityZen shares, which can also lead to better liquidity.

However, it is important to note that liquidity can vary depending on the specific investment. For example, shares of a popular company may be more liquid than shares of a less well-known company.

What is liquidity?
Liquidity refers to how easily an asset can be converted into cash. In pre-IPO investments, liquidity refers to how easily investors can sell their shares.

Ease of Use — Winner: Equitybee

Equitybee is a good choice for new investors looking for a simple, easy-to-use platform for selling pre-IPO stock options. However, it may not be the best choice for experienced investors who need more features or investment options.

EquityZen is a good choice for experienced investors looking for a platform with a wide range of features and investment options. However, it may be too complex for new investors.

What is Equitybee?

Equitybee is known for helping employees of fast-growing, venture capital-backed startups get the funding they need to exercise their stock options.

Their funding requests are presented to a global network of investors. If an investor is interested, they will provide the employee with funding in exchange for a share of the company's future value.

Is Equitybee a good idea?
If you are a startup employee with stock options that you can sell, Equitybee can help you get cash for them without having to wait for the company to go public. But remember, when you sell your stock options, you are giving up your chance to make more money from them if the company does well.

Equitybee Pros & Cons


  • Investors don't need company approval
  • Cheaper stock prices
  • Lower fees for employees
  • Good customer support


  • Limited to funding employees for stock options
  • Equitybee investors don't own shares, even after a liquidation event. This means you have limited rights.
  • High risk because most of the companies are startups

What is EquityZen?

EquityZen is an online marketplace where people can buy and sell shares of private companies. This includes shares that are owned by employees or angel investors who want to sell them.

Accredited investors can also gain exposure to private companies through an EquityZen-managed investment fund.

Is EquityZen legitimate?
Yes, EquityZen is a legitimate company. It is an SEC-registered broker-dealer and investment advisor. It is also a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which means that your investments are protected up to $500,000 (including $250,000 for cash claims).

EquityZen Pros & Cons


  • Diversified exposure to pre-IPO companies
  • Exclusive analysis of price history, valuations, and market capitalization
  • Direct access to shares from employees and investors
  • Provide liquidity for investors' holdings


  • More complex platform
  • High risk for pre-IPO investments

Alternatives to Equitybee and EquityZen

Here is a brief overview of the alternatives to Equitybee and EquityZen and why they might be better for certain investors:

  • Forge Global
    Forge Global is a leading platform for investing in pre-IPO companies. It offers direct investments, funds, and secondary market trading. Forge is also known for its strong track record and commitment to investor transparency.

  • Nasdaq Private Market
    Nasdaq Private Market aims to improve liquidity accessibility for private companies and funds. As experts in facilitating private secondary transactions, they have facilitated over 230 transactions in the last 5 years.

Bottom Line

Equitybee and EquityZen are two leading platforms that allow startup employees to sell their pre-IPO stock options. However, they have a few key differences:

  • Equitybee is a more beginner-friendly platform that helps you buy and sell pre-IPO stock options. It's simple, straightforward, and has cheaper stock prices compared to EquityZen.

  • EquityZen offers a wider range of services including secondary market trading and access to private equity funds. However, it's geared more towards experienced investors and has more complex platform.

Ultimately, the best platform for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Be sure to take a look at each platform and see which of them fits your investment style.



Invest in High-Growth Startups

Equitybee gives accredited investors access to high-growth, VC-backed startups. By funding employee stock options, accredited investors can gain investment exposure to private companies at past valuations. In exchange for funding the options, you will receive a percentage of future proceeds from any successful liquidity events. Subject to availability. Investments involve risk; Equitybee Securities, member FINRA


Invest in Private Companies

  • Invest in pre-IPO companies through an EquityZen fund.
  • $10,000 minimum investment
  • Available to accredited investors only

Free Gold IRA Kit

  • Up to $10,000 in free silver for eligible customers
  • Highest buyback price, guaranteed
  • Endorsed by Sean Hannity and Chuck Norris

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