The next evolution of Carta

Henry Ward
4 min readAug 26, 2022


Today we are making a visual change at Carta. This change is the external manifestation of the next evolution of Carta.

The first problem we set out to solve at Carta was the electronic issuing and signing of private stock certificates. It may seem hard to believe now, but this was controversial in 2013.

It was an odd artifact of history that we issued electronic stock certificates for public companies, but paper stock certificates for private ones. If you wanted to buy a share of Apple stock, you could click a button and buy a share online for a $7 fee (at the time). But if you wanted to invest in two founders in a garage, it would take 60 days to close, $20,000 in legal fees, and you would get a paper stock certificate in the mail.

Issuing shares electronically through Carta made it easier and cheaper for companies to issue equity to themselves and their employees. It also allowed us to create a real ledger with both sides of the transaction. Carta became the central registry of ownership in private companies.

The most beautiful thing about building Carta is that the more problems we solve, the more problems we get to solve. By solving the problem of digitizing stock certificates, we built the ownership graph of private markets. And that platform allowed us to solve new problems for our customers.

With the majority of private assets on Carta, it only made sense that we were in a position to value those assets. So we started issuing 409A valuations, and quickly became the world’s largest, and fastest, provider. And because we were the source for how equity was distributed, we could help founders and CFOs understand how to pay their employees with compensation products.

Because thousands of companies used Carta to manage their cap tables, almost every venture investor already had their portfolio on Carta. So we built software for them to manage their investments, form funds, and manage SPVs.

Because Carta was already the central registry of ownership, we were able to build liquidity solutions to transfer ownership with the click of a button rather than a stack of legal documents. Because we are already the registered transfer agent for our customers when they were private companies, we could also be their transfer agent when they went public.

And because all of an employee’s private assets were held in one place on Carta, we could help solve their problems too. Because Carta issued their stock, we could tell if their securities were eligible for tax savings like QSBS or digitally file 83(b) election forms for them.

Somewhere along the way, there was a fundamental shift in the problems we were solving for our customers. Carta became a platform rather than a product.

The next era of Carta will be the platform era. Today Carta manages $2.5 trillion in equity value for over 2 million stakeholders. We have returned $13 billion to the hands of individuals through secondary transactions. Carta’s platform now connects millions of nodes of the ownership network between employees, companies, and investors around the globe.

Our success in this era will be defined by our customers. If our customers love using Carta, we will be successful. If they don’t, we won’t. Our role is to build the infrastructure our customers can rely on so they can go build the future we hope to live in. We solve the hard problems of compliance and accounting and tax so our customers can keep building what they love. Some of the most innovative companies of our generation started on Carta. Building infrastructure for them is our small way of accelerating the pace of innovation in the world.

Living up to our responsibility to our customers will be the result of a million decisions made over decades by thousands of Carta employees in dozens of offices around the world.

The visual change we are making today is the guide for those millions of decisions we will make. Our new mark represents the reality that we are the foundation upon which our customers rely. It is a frame with which we can highlight and share the accomplishments of our customers. And it is a window through which we can look together at the future that our customers are bringing to life.

Most importantly, it is our reminder of our responsibility to you.

Thank you for trusting Carta, whether it is with your business, your fund, or your career. It is the privilege of a lifetime to build with you.