Sharegate Launches New Era of Shareowner Communications

SharegateBetaSharegate Inc., a new company that offers the investment community a modern and powerful financial social network, announced its launch recently, opening enrollment in the network to the general public.

Sharegate is an information exchange platform that connects individual and instititional investors, publicly traded companies and other special interest groups. This platform allows companies to present information, interact more directly with their shareholders and gives institutional and individual investors the opportunity to provide feedback and exchange information with these companies – and each other. According to the company’s founder, Argus Cunningham:

Sharegate is meant to be for investors and companies what LinkedIn is for employees and companies, We considered the needs of those participants and designed a system to make it easier. For instance, corporate investor relations officers can use Sharegate to promote their companies as investments, find out what their investors are concerned about and address those concerns. Ultimately, Sharegate aims to become the future of investment-related communications by changing the way that shareholders and companies interact.

To enroll in Sharegate, an individualinstitutional investor, or company account can be created at www.sharegate.com. From the Sharegate platform, users can connect and collaborate to discuss investment strategies, exchange information, raise issues and conduct corporate governance.

During Sharegate’s two year development phase, Cunningham reached out to several institutional investors and companies to demonstrate Sharegate’s power. Since then 42 different institutions, representing ownership in over 2,400 companies and over $154 billion in capital, have signed on with Sharegate.

I’m confident that number will grow considerably and expect several additional large public funds to join Florida SBA and NYC Public Pensions in the coming year.  Sharegate.com has more features for investor interaction now defunct sites such as MoxyVote.com (see In Celebration of MoxyVote.com) or Shareowners.org.

MoxyVote.com had dozens of “advisors,” mostly socially responsible mutual funds, unions, environmental groups and public interests groups who took stand on various proxy issues. At Moxy Vote you could actually get voting advice and vote on the same site. You could even set up voting defaults based on the recommendations of your chosen advocates. However, that strength turned out to be a weakness because every time an investor voted on MoxyVote it cost the company money and their revenue stream from corporate members wasn’t enough to make the business model viable.

Shareowners.org was an advocacy site aimed at getting shareownrs to lobby Congress on various issues. Advice on voting at specific companies was limited but like Facebook, it is a great place to share announcements and commentaries with others. Shareowners.org relied on grants; when those dried up, so did the site.

Sharegate appears to combine some of the strengths of those sites without their weaknesses. You can’t vote your proxies on Sharegate but the site’s Share Action feature provides shareholders and corporations an interactive forum designed for decision-making that could take democratic corporate governance to the next level. Through Share Action, shareholder initiatives, such as draft proxy proposals, can be introduced and then voted upon in forums where only verified shareowners are participants. Strongly supported initiatives can then be submitted to the corporation as regulatory compliant proposals with demonstrated support. With Share Action, you can:

  • Conduct votes and view results in real time
  • Know the voting power or true “force” behind shareowner initiatives
  • Gauge sentiment and project possible outcomes of shareowner initiatives
 Sharegate also has a Share Ask function, which allows shareowners and their corporations to communicate, not in shareholder forums typical of Broadridge’s platform but in much more dynamic two-way communication forums.  Share Ask provides a medium for the creation, public display, and recording of shareholder inquiries and corporate responses. This feature, available through Sharegate, establishes a new level of transparency and shareholder connectivity.
  • Communicate with publicly traded companies through Sharegate
  • Benefit by observing fellow shareholder-corporate dialogue
  • Be part of the new standard in shareholder communication
Equally important, from the standpoint of viability, Sharegate doesn’t just rely on the current small number of corporate governance activists. It seeks to engage millions of stock pickers who populate sites such as Seeking Alpha, Yahoo Finance, Motley Fool, StockTwits, etc. (see The Evolution of Social Finance) Shareowners, investment clubs and others can find, pitch, and discuss stock picks while gaining exposure to the multitude of investment ideas presented by others. Through Sharegate’s Share Pitch function, members can:

  • Build your own personal investing network
  • Receive feedback regarding investment ideas
  • Gain exposure to varied investment strategies and proposals

My hope is that those initially attracted by Share Pitch functions will go on to explore and utilize Share Ask and, most important from my standpoint, they will become active in corporate governance through Share Action. That’s where I hope to be refining proxy access and proxy advisor competition proposals. Please join in; together we can make a difference.

Sharegate was founded by active-duty naval aviator and Austin-native Lt. Cmdr. Argus Cunningham, who enlisted the help of Lt. Cmdr. Chris Alexander, a fellow naval aviator to create the Sharegate platform.  As an avid investor and aspiring entrepreneur, Cunningham created Sharegate to emulate communication efficiencies pioneered by prevalent social networks and apply similar methods to the challenges present in the investment arena. Sharegate was developed and designed to make investing and communicating with financial organizations both transparent and easy.

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