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David Weild of Weild & Co.

David Weild

Daivd Weild is Chairman & CEO of Weild & Co. one of the world’s fastest growing investment banks. He is the former vice chairman of Nasdaq where he worked with such luminaries as Steve Jobs (Apple and Pixar) and Tom Stemberg (Staples). He is a renowned capital markets expert known for his experience pricing over 1,000 equity offerings (including early offerings for Blackrock, Celgene, Nvidea and Chesapeake Energy) and for his public policy work on how market structure can help or hinder capital formation. His work led to him being referred to as the “Father of the JOBS Act” and is frequently cited by regulators, legislators, academics, politicians and stock exchanges. Mr. Weild has testified on stock exchange structure in the US Congress, at the US Securities & Exchange Commission and has spoken at the G-20, OECD (France, Italy and Japan), the European Federation of Securities Exchanges (Switzerland and Norway) and the Arab Federation of Exchanges in Jordan. Mr. Weild received his B.A. from Wesleyan University and his M.B.A. from New York University Stern School of Business. He also studied at the Sorbonne and on exchange at the Ecoles des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC Paris) and the Stockholm School of Economics (Stockholm, Sweden). Mr. Weild is married and the father of three teenagers.

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Weild & Co. is the fastest investment bank in the United States. Cloud-based, it pursues a radically different model focused on aggregating, organizing and enabling skilled human capital to provide better investment banking services to the growth and middle market economy. The Company was founded a former vice chairman of NASDAQ who earlier headed a top Wall Street investment bank and helped such companies as Blackrock, Celgene, Nvidea and Chesapeake Energy in the early part of their growth cycles. His thought leadership changed the discussion in Washington and led to a wave of pro-capital formation legislation. For this reason, he is known as the “Father” of the JOBS Act.

Transcript


 

Adam Chapnick:

Hey everybody, it's me again, Adam Chapnick with the Security Token Academy, and I'm here at Security Token Industry launch week with none other than the one and only David Weild, who is now chairman and CEO of Weild & Co. Thanks so much for joining us.

David Weild:

Thanks Adam. Good to be here.

Adam Chapnick:

Yeah, so Weild & Co. This is a relatively new venture for you. You have a fairly incredible track record in the finance industry, I would say. What is Weild & Co. now and how is it an outcome of what you've done to this point?

David Weild:

Well it's a completely new model investment bank. We're trying to do something that's never been done before. Essentially create a network of investment bankers that then we pull together and we help collaborate so that everybody can get more done in service to the growth economy of the United States. And so-

Adam Chapnick:

Sounds good.

David Weild:

... what it, yeah. And there's massive amounts ... When you look at our capital markets work, I thought leadership that led to the jobs act down in D.C.

Adam Chapnick:

Yeah, you were in ... one of the people instrumental in getting the 2012 jobs act kind of-

David Weild:

They call me the father of the jobs act. In fact, I was just down at Capitol Hill and it's kind of surreal being introduced by Hill staffers to other people on there. I mean these people are all working in Congress and they call me the father of the jobs act.

Adam Chapnick:

Amazing.

David Weild:

And the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee was funny. He says, "I know I know him and that I've met him before." In point of fact, he hadn't because it was his subcommittee, which was the subcommittee on capital markets that we did all the work with-

Adam Chapnick:

Got it.

David Weild:

... I'm sure I'll meet him shortly.

Adam Chapnick:

Sure.

David Weild:

He's done a terrific service to the country. Jeb Hensarling.

Adam Chapnick:

Great, okay, so you were part of that. Now was that, did that lead into what you're doing now at Weild & Co.?

David Weild:

Well, we kind of knew that the country had, through its changes in market structure, had dropped the bottom of the small IPO market. That's what we really identified. And we also then knew that there'd been a massive consolidation or loss of middle market investment banks.

Adam Chapnick:

Yeah.

David Weild:

But the people were still out there and the talent's still out there. And then the questions is, you know, can they be brought into service to the economy? And because of the size of the economy has actually grown during this period, what you have is just through the collapse in middle market banks, along with the growth in the economy means that there's an unbelievably underserved corporate finance market.

Adam Chapnick:

Yeah.

David Weild:

In the United States. And so we think that you need to use a radically different economic model to serve it. We think we're the people that do it. We grew up in the investment banking business and we think that if we look back, you know, 20 years from now, we're going to create essential infrastructure in the United States. It's going to actually capitalize a lot of these important social impact companies and technology and life sciences, and that we could end up being the most important social impact story ever told if we do what we want to do.

Adam Chapnick:

I love it. Aim low. So how, what do you guys do differently, or what do you planning to do that's going to kind of turn the trajectory for that middle market? I mean, you had mentioned earlier about the sub, I think you said sub-50 million dollar-

David Weild:

IPOs.

Adam Chapnick:

... was the level of IPOs. What are you guys doing to contribute to bringing that back?

David Weild:

Well right now I'd say that ... we grew a hundred percent last year and it was all word of mouth, okay? The reason why we started in this direction, it was in August of 2016, was very simply I was turning away too many investment bankers, right? So, you know, people were suffering from the weight of regulation and the complexity. Most of these people are client-facing folks.

Adam Chapnick:

Yeah.

David Weild:

Right? We wanted to allow them the luxury of being able to spend more time, you know, working on client-related matters. And so in August of 2016 we just decided to stop saying no to people. It was really that simple. But it was a sort of, you know, kind of great revelation that I should have seen in our market work that there was this massive amount of human capital that was sprung loose that wasn't any longer engaged. They could be engaged.

And if you take it to its kind of great extreme, I'll give you a case in point. I mean, what about the woman that works in Goldman Sachs' mergers and acquisitions department for seven years. Highly qualified, you know. She could be out of Harvard Business School. And then she gets married, has three kids, leaves the business, she's raising kids, she's done after they get into first grade, she's trying to think of what's my path back onto Wall Street. Guess what? Her licenses have expired. She needs to get relicensed and she needs a home, and she can't do 70-80 hours a week anymore because she still wants to be in Scarsdale or some suburb in California in Silicon Valley and home for her kids.

Adam Chapnick:

Yes.

David Weild:

Which is I think noble. But she can give 30 hours a week, you know, running an MNA process with the best of them. Why shouldn't that person be able to work from home, be able to plug and play out of Westchester County, New York, supporting an MNA technology exclusive sale process in Silicon Valley? And the answer is they should be able to.

Adam Chapnick:

I love it.

David Weild:

And those are the kinds of things we want to enable.

Adam Chapnick:

So, Weild & Co's going to have a lot of remote, sort of non-full-time-

David Weild:

Yeah, we're in the cloud. People are working. Most of the people are full-time.

Adam Chapnick:

Okay.

David Weild:

But there's this massive pull, as you know, it's kind of the gigicon. I mean it's one of the great secular trends today.

Adam Chapnick:

Yeah.

David Weild:

There's this massive pull with people that have skills-

Adam Chapnick:

Yes.

David Weild:

... that can put those skills to work on a just-in-time, as-needed basis can make a lot more money. They're not going to be essentially destined to become the 60th residential real estate broker in Scarsdale because that's the only option for that high-powered woman. And we think that those folks, and also older people, you know, because Wall Street is very ageist.

Adam Chapnick:

Yes.

David Weild:

No matter what everybody says. And you know people are living longer and they're understanding that staying engaged is actually critical to your intellectual and physical health.

Adam Chapnick:

Yep.

David Weild:

And so, you know, we give people ... We got a guy that we're just onboarding who literally is 81 years old and I am so proud of that fact. The guy is brilliant, he's connected up the wazoo.

Adam Chapnick:

That's so cool.

David Weild:

You know, just a terrific mass banker. Was a CEO, very successful CEO of a public company, you know. That's not the core of what we do. The core of what we do is service full-time professionals, but those people, in concert with other full-time professionals, will be able to unleash a tsunami of economic activity.

Adam Chapnick:

It's so intuitive, yeah. And then also I'm going to call my dad and tell him it's time to get off the sidelines and give David Weild a call.

David Weild:

Come on over. Come on over.

Adam Chapnick:

Former Simpson Thacher partner. So what, now you-

David Weild:

There's no such thing as a former.

Adam Chapnick:

Yeah, exactly. So you know, right? He's not on the sidelines. So, you have this unique, really unique insight into this changing landscape that we're all sort of witnesses to. You've been on the field like from the old way to the middle way to trying to get a new way and now the new way. What do you see, now that we're coming into 2019, as maybe some of the pitfalls that are in front of us and some of the opportunities that have to do with this whole STO market?

David Weild:

First of all, I think it's sort of manifest destiny. It's going to happen and I think that it, the real challenge is to make sure that the regulators are up to speed, that Congress is up to speed, that we are educating, that they understand what it is, what it isn't, what the vulnerabilities are from a national security standpoint, what the opportunities are from a national security standpoint, from an economic growth, capital formation standpoint, how it can benefit investors. But just like anything else, you know, I mean ... the SEC, and I'm going paraphrase something that Jay Clayton said in his Nashville speech. But, you know, the SEC has a long tradition of embracing new technologies that can save cost, which is what securities tokenization will do, right?

Adam Chapnick:

All about it.

David Weild:

I mean we're going to embed, you know, business processes that will then automate, you know, know your customer rules, patriot act, anti-money laundering, and ultimately hopefully crush jurisdictional or inter-jurisdictional capital formation, which right now is prohibitively expensive because you need an attorney every-

Adam Chapnick:

Yep, every step.

David Weild:

So that's going to improve and make it easier for people to raise capital. It's going to make it easier on investors to participate in earlier stage kinds of companies instead of leaving them to just the institutions where we have a unicorn which is, you know, it doesn't go public until it's 20, 30, 40, 50 billion in market cap.

Adam Chapnick:

Right, right.

David Weild:

So, we're going to create more of a kind of crowdfunded kind of market. But it has to be done in a way which there is adequate disclosure and pure respect for investors. And I think that this SEC chair is frankly incredibly well-suited to do it. He understands capital formation, he grew up in it. He's at Sullivan & Cromwell and another S firm.

Adam Chapnick:

My first job was in the mail room at Sullivan & Cromwell.

David Weild:

Is that right?

Adam Chapnick:

It's true.

David Weild:

And I met with him recently and I think that the thing that really impressed me was that I'm an old equity capital markets equity syndicate professional and I priced over a thousand equity offerings during the course of my career.

Adam Chapnick:

Tell me thousand.

David Weild:

No literally, 500 IPOs, I mean, I'll tell you because at the time we were doing 500 IPOs a year.

Adam Chapnick:

Insane.

David Weild:

So ,it's not as much as it would appear-

Adam Chapnick:

Wow.

David Weild:

... in today's standards only doing 120. It sounds like preposterous, right?

Adam Chapnick:

Yes. That's great.

David Weild:

But I did, you know, I worked on the IPO for Jensen Wagaven, then we did the 3D chips. I did an early stage financing for Celgene which is now a 60 billion dollar market value company that's made enormous contributions-

Adam Chapnick:

Yes.

David Weild:

... to sort of ... to healthcare.

Adam Chapnick:

Yeah.

David Weild:

Aubrey McClendon, God rest his soul, who was the founder of Chesapeake Energy, I mean, some really notable industry. I raised the first money republic money for Larry Fink at BlackRock, which is now the largest asset manager-

Adam Chapnick:

Yes.

David Weild:

... in the world.

Adam Chapnick:

Yes.

David Weild:

I mean, at the time it had really few assets at all. It had a hundred million dollars from a resolution trust corporation, a savings and loan debacle, and that was it. I think out of the box we raised him something like 600 million dollars.

Adam Chapnick:

Amazing.

David Weild:

In a closed-end fund. So, you know, I would say that the one thing that I would say is that there's not old and there's not new. If you're living in the present, the securities markets, capital markets, it's always new. It's always changing.

Adam Chapnick:

That's interesting.

David Weild:

It's never static, okay?

Adam Chapnick:

Right.

David Weild:

And there have been massive shifts. People look at Blockchain and they start saying it's revolutionary. No, it's not revolutionary. It's evolutionary. We had a significant step, which was this decentralized block that got a lot of people sort of enthused that became bitcoin, but you know, that didn't get launched until 2008 but there's an academic paper that laid out the foundations of the block in I think 1991, right?

Adam Chapnick:

Oh wow.

David Weild:

So, yeah, I know. So if you look at the internet, and this is very much like the internet. I mean it was actually arpanet-

Adam Chapnick:

Yeah, in like the '60s.

David Weild:

... for the government. In 1961 or three or somewhere around there that did the first computer-to-computer communication.

Adam Chapnick:

Yes.

David Weild:

Right? And so here you are and I think last year Amazon finally went past a hundred million Prime customers but it takes a long time for things to incubate-

Adam Chapnick:

Sure.

David Weild:

... and to reach their full potential and we're still so far in the early innings of Blockchain technology, securities token technology. But I think it will be fairly rapid because we already have all the kind of activity. I mean, think about it, the internet itself and mobile phones, all of that stuff allows you to interact with the block, right?

Adam Chapnick:

Sure.

David Weild:

So, without that stuff and without low-cost storage and all the other advances, Moore's Law, the doubling of a processing power every 18 months or so. You would not have the conditions that are required to do what we're doing. It's the same thing in molecular genetics and life sciences. That's conversion of massive computational power.

Adam Chapnick:

Right.

David Weild:

And the automation of lab techniques. Take things that where, you know, if you go back to the 1970s, '80s, it would take you an entire night to do one distal electrophoresis in the laboratory and now you get a thousand times that amount of data in one night.

Adam Chapnick:

Takes me a lot longer to do a distal electrophoresis. I don't know, I just haven't gotten the hang of it yet. So, okay, so looking into the crystal ball-

David Weild:

Yeah.

Adam Chapnick:

... when are we going to see the tipping point where all of these sort of static assets, like the real estate, all the funds, everything, it's just sort of what people do is they're fractionalized, they're tokenized, and that's how we relate to tokens is that that's how it should be and how it is.

David Weild:

Right, where people don't think about it. It's sort of-

Adam Chapnick:

No, it's what it is.

David Weild:

People say it's seamless, right?

Adam Chapnick:

Yes, seamless.

David Weild:

We're not thinking it's on the block and it just works.

Adam Chapnick:

It just works. Why is that?

David Weild:

You know, my guess is it's probably going to take about ten years-

Adam Chapnick:

Ten.

David Weild:

... before we're think ... but you'll still be talking about it.

Adam Chapnick:

Okay.

David Weild:

We still talk about the internet.

Adam Chapnick:

Yes.

David Weild:

And the internet is interwoven into our daily lives.

Adam Chapnick:

Absolutely.

David Weild:

And we don't think about how does it work, or why does it work. It just works, right?

Adam Chapnick:

There it is.

David Weild:

I mean, if it doesn't work then we try to, you know-

Adam Chapnick:

That's when we talk about it.

David Weild:

... come down to the computer, the kids scream, "Dad, can you help," then all of a sudden you're not a dinosaur any longer. You have some use.

Adam Chapnick:

Very important suddenly. Right, I have to turn you two back on. Cool. Alright, well thank you so much for sharing all of your expertise, your thoughts with us, and hopefully you'll come back soon and often.

David Weild:

Nice to see you.

Adam Chapnick:

Alright, you too then.

David Weild:

Take care.