We help companies of all sizes efficiently access capital at the lowest possible cost in order to accelerate disruptive growth.
WR Hambrecht + Co was founded in January 1998 to level the playing field for investors and our corporate clients. Our Founder and Chairman, Bill Hambrecht, is a Silicon Valley pioneer that has been financing growth companies from Apple to Google during his time at Hambrecht & Quist and WRH+Co. The firm’s impartial auctions have dramatically changed the traditional investment banking landscape by allowing the market itself to determine pricing and allocations.
Throughout our history, WRH+Co has been an innovative leader with a core philosophy based on three tenets:
- identifying exceptional companies
- helping them raise capital and go public early
- delivering efficient market pricing
Our current innovation initiatives include applying Data Science and Disruption Theory analytics to better understand companies and industries at all stages.
WR Hambrecht + Co is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in New York.
Our investment banking business aims to serve uncommon companies with compelling growth opportunities, including those that traditional investment banks deem “too small” to go public. It has long been our conviction that access to public capital enables growth companies to focus on innovation while providing an opportunity for all classes of investors to participate in their success.
To accomplish this, we have created products like the OpenIPO® Auction, influenced regulation change, and worked toward the creation of an open IPO marketplace.
The OpenIPO® auction, for example, levels the playing field in initial public offerings, allowing individuals and institutional investors to bid online for shares of an IPO. All investors end up paying the same price — a price determined by the auction.
Under new provisions of the 2012 JOBS Act, we have been a pioneer and advocate for the distribution of independent pre-IPO research to all investors. Further, Bill and our firm were cited 29 times in the SEC’s proposed rulemaking for Regulation A+. We believe this proposed expansion of the Regulation A exemption would create a new option for early-stage growth companies to access public markets through the A+ IPO.
We leverage the Internet for efficient marketing and allocation of product, as opposed to the expensive sales and marketing infrastructure of the traditional investment bank. Based on our decades of experience taking companies public, we envision an accessible marketplace for initial public offerings where the investment bank serves as a facilitator between issuers and investors, instead of a gatekeeper. The market itself can and should determine pricing and allocation — our role is to provide a platform where qualified growth companies can tell their story to potential investors.
The OpenIPO® Auction
A simpler way to efficient and transparent IPO price discovery.Available technology enables the distribution of issuer disclosure and research to any investor, and the collection of bids in a fair and systematic fashion. To learn more, click here.
The A+ IPO
Proposed Regulation A Tier 2 changes would provide growth companies streamlined access to public capital, enabling them to focus on innovation while providing an opportunity for all classes of investors to participate in their success. We intend to be at the forefront of the A+ IPO marketplace as it evolves. To learn more, click here.
The OpenBook® Auction
An online system that offers transparent, real-time price discovery for corporate bonds.
The OpenFollowOn® Auction
Extends the transparency and real-time price discovery of the OpenBook auction to follow-on equity offerings allowing interactive bidding and gives investors a view into the book as it builds.
Venture Capital and Applied Disruption Theory
Disruption Theory, as articulated by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen in his landmark work The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997), is at the core of our firm’s strategy. In addition to traditional fundamental analysis, we use predictive data science tools to better understand companies and industries through the lens of Disruption Theory. These tools were developed out of a breakthrough research collaboration in 2007-2008 between Thomas Thurston, then at Intel Capital, and Professor Christensen.
This innovative, unique approach to venture capital investing enables us to identify the truly disruptive companies with greater probability of long term business viability. Our algorithmic approach stands out in an industry where subjective decision-making remains the status quo.
An Open Conversation
WR Hambrecht + Co continues to identify markets where auctions will benefit investors and issuers. We provide underwriting and advisory services for technology and emerging growth companies.
We are passionate about businesses and value the opportunity to talk to entrepreneurs. If you are interested in learning more about the proposed framework for A+ IPOs, or any of our auction-based products, we would be happy to share our insights. Just get in touch.
Prior to joining WRH+Co, John spent 11 years at Wells Fargo Securities, serving as President and CEO, and, most recently as Managing Director, Western Region. Before joining Wells Fargo Securities, John was Director of Worldwide Sales at Hambrecht & Quist, where he oversaw all aspects of U.S. and International Institutional Sales and Accounts, Executive Financial Services and Venture Services Sales. He was also a member of the Operating Committee, Brokerage Committee, and Equity Commitment Committee. Prior to joining Hambrecht & Quist, John was an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley where he held leadership positions in Institutional Equities in New York, Tokyo, and London. John holds a B.A. from Yale University. He was a member of the Yale University Development Board; a Trustee and Chair of Finance at The Hamlin School and The Branson School; and a Trustee of The First Tee Chapter of San Francisco.
In 1968, Bill co-founded Hambrecht & Quist, an investment banking firm specializing in emerging high-growth technology companies. He founded WR Hambrecht + Co in 1998, introducing OpenIPO® as a means to level the playing field for both investors and issuers. Bill has served as a director for numerous private and public companies. He currently serves as a Board Member of the Presidio Trust in San Francisco. In October, 2006, Bill was inducted to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Bill graduated from Princeton University.
Before joining WRH+Co, Gene spent three years as a financial consultant in the asset management and commercial banking industries. Prior to being a consultant, Gene was Chief Financial Officer for Wells Fargo Securities, LLC for five years. Preceding this, Gene spent eight years at Charles Schwab & Co. as Vice President Fixed Income Finance and Director of Regulatory Reporting. Earlier in his career Gene spent four years as a Senior Manager of Finance for Cedel, a cross-border securities clearing house in Luxembourg. Gene is a Certified Public Accountant, and holds a B.S. in Business Administration from USC.
In addition to WRH+Co, Thomas is Managing Director at WR Hambrecht Ventures and a Board Director at Ironstone Group Inc., a private equity firm. He is also CEO of Growth Science, a data lab that uses algorithms to identify disruptive opportunities. Formerly, Thomas helped guide growth investments at Intel and ran a long-short hedge fund focused on disruptive investments. In 2005 he helped found a high performance computing business that was later acquired. A Fellow at the Harvard Business School, Thomas holds a BA, MBA and Juris Doctor. He’s an Advisory Board Member at Washington State University, a Fellow at the Disruptor Foundation, a Board Member of the Oregon Smart Labs and a Member of the Harvard Business School Forum for Growth and Innovation.
Prior to joining WRH+Co, Elizabeth was CEO at Salon Media Group, which operates the popular Salon.com website. Before Salon, Elizabeth was a co-founder of Asiacontent.com, a pioneer in Asia’s Internet industry, and helped fund and launch Boom.com, Hong Kong’s first electronic brokerage. Prior to Boom.com, Elizabeth was an equities analyst covering emerging markets at Goldman Sachs (Hong Kong) and before that at Baring Securities. Elizabeth has served as a director of Salon Media Group, and as a Trustee of the San Francisco Friends School, the Asian Art Museum of SF and Northern California Public Broadcast (NCPB). She graduated with a B.A. degree from Vassar College and studied Mandarin at the Taipei Language Institute.
Kurt has enjoyed a 30 year career in Medical Technology. His deep involvement in the field has ranged from product design and development as a biomedical engineer to raising capital for, and following, publicly traded medical product companies as an equities research analyst. As a marketing manager at Guidant, Kruger developed the launch plans for the first-ever implantable defibrillator. As a securities analyst he showed perspicuity leading Hambrecht & Quist in providing venture funds for, and then taking public, Ventritex, which was later acquired by St. Jude Medical. Kruger received an Sc.B. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University; a Master’s degree in Bioengineering from the University of Michigan; and a business degree (S.M) from the Sloan School at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also completed the premedical post-baccalaureate program at Columbia University.
Whitney joined WR Hambrecht + Co in April 2000 from Merrill Lynch where he worked on strategic projects in their Capital Markets Technology group. In his tenure at WRH+Co, Whitney has been central to the design and execution of all auction transactions initially as a software developer, and then later as technical architect, auctioneer, and the firm’s Chief Technology Officer. In his current role as Head of Equity Capital Markets, Whitney is responsible for the evolution and development of the firm’s capital raising platforms as well as the coordination and execution of all transactions. Whitney graduated with honors from Hamilton College with a BA in Computer Science and Psychology and holds dual MBA degrees from Columbia University and the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.
Prior to joining WR Hambrecht+Co, Barrie enjoyed a 20+ year career as a banker, serving as President and CEO of Exchange Bank in Santa Rosa, CA and as a Senior Manager of Wells Fargo in San Francisco. Barrie is on two for profit boards and several not for profit boards. He has an Industrial Engineering Degree from Clarkson University, an MBA from Golden Gate University and is a graduate of the Executive Management Program at Harvard and the Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington, of which he is also a Past Chairman. Barrie served as a Marine Infantry Officer and is Chairman of the Marines Memorial Association in San Francisco. Barrie holds Series 24 and 79 licenses.
Prior to joining WRH+Co, Chris spent 13 years as a trader, market maker and sales trader for boutique investment banking firms Robertson Stephens, First Albany Capital and Montgomery & Company where he was a Managing Director and responsible for the creation of the firm’s trading department. Chris spent the past 5 years with Thomson Reuters as a Senior Sales Executive selling various equities and derivatives software and trading products to institutional trading desks in the Western US. Chris earned his undergraduate degree in International Business at UCLA and an MBA in Finance and Investments from The George Washington University. Chris holds Series 7, 63, 65, 55 and 24 licenses.
Keith has 25 years of experience as an Institutional Equity Sales Trader. His career began in Chicago with Paine Webber specializing in OTC institutional coverage. In 1990, Keith moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area to work with Weeden and Company. Then, as a Managing Director, Keith opened the West Coast Branch of Furman Selz, which was eventually purchased by ING Barings. In 2002 he opened the Institutional Trading Desk in San Francisco for Adam Harkness and Hill. Keith holds a BS in Finance from Arizona State University. He holds a series 7 and 63 license. He enjoys many outdoor sports activities including golf, fishing, and tennis.
Prior to joining WRH+Co in October 2003, Helen was the Department Administrator for the Investment Banking Group at Hambrecht & Quist where she worked with the Head of Investment Banking and managed the daily operations for the group. Previous experience includes administration and commercial production for a start-up advertising agency in San Jose and work in advertising in New York. Helen received a BS in Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco.
Veronica joined WRH+Co in 1999 as the Facilities Manager and was responsible for managing multiple projects which included conceiving innovative and functional office designs both domestic and international. Over the last 15 years she has transitioned to her current role as Operations Partner where she is responsible for managing Human Resources and the day-to-day operations of WRH. In addition to her responsibilities at WRH+Co, Veronica oversees Human Resources for Salon Media Group and the United Football League. She also shares an entrepreneurial spirit and is Co-Founder/Advisor of Beauty Weapons, a startup company that develops, manufactures, and markets innovative beauty products, tools, and accessories.
Prior to joining WRH, Veronica spent 9 years at Bank of America in Commercial Banking Finance and Marketing.