Tulipshare is a brand new activist investment platform that empowers individuals to make a positive change within some of the biggest household-name companies in the world like Apple, Amazon and Coca-Cola. Launched in the UK in July 2021, the platform enables people to rethink the way they invest in businesses. Essentially allowing people to vote with their money, Tulipshare endeavours to play a tangible role in promoting ethical change in the boardrooms of global companies.
The platform’s first causes include workers’ rights at Amazon, a focus on Coca-Cola’s contribution to climate change in the company’s plastic consumption, and right to repair issues at Apple. New causes will regularly be added to the platform for budding activists to begin fighting for change via the purchasing of shares.
To date, Tulipshare has raised $1M in pre-seed funding from Speedinvest and high profile business angels. The platform has already been regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority since April 2021 and is looking to expand to the US market.
I caught up with Founder and CEO Antoine Argouges to find out more about this ground-breaking approach to shareholder activism.
Afdhel Aziz: Antoine, welcome. Please tell us about Tulipshare and how it works?
Antoine Argouges: Tulipshare is a unique activist investment platform that allows investors to coalesce around important causes and use their shareholder rights to drive positive change. We are the first broker to combine shareholder activism with online brokerage.
You can join the platform and invest by selecting a campaign you are interested in, such as pushing for Coca-Cola to use 100% recycled materials in its packaging, and buy shares in the company with the knowledge that your shareholder rights will be used to push this cause with the company directly. For the first time, your voice will combine with other like minded voices to drive change.
Aziz: How did the idea come about and what has been the take-up so far? Can anyone in the world invest via the platform?
Argouges: If you look around and ask all your friends and family who have previously bought shares or made investments, very few would have ever voted on a shareholder resolution. Most people, due to no fault of their own, do not know that every share has shareholder rights attached to it. When those shareholder rights are utilized in the right way – they can be used to drive change in a company.
Only $25,000 worth of stock held for over 1 year is needed to be able to submit a shareholder proposal in the US. While shareholder proposals have been utilised for years by large institutional players, there’s been a lack of public awareness about shareholder rights more widely and no real attempt to unify the voices of individual investors, also known as retail investors. This has left corporate strategy almost exclusively in the hands of boards and large institutional players. This must change, which is why I have launched Tulipshare.
We are seeing a very good uptake on the platform since launching. Our average deposit value is currently around $234 and we are predicting over 100,000 investors to join the platform by next year. We are welcoming users from around the world to join the movement, but only UK residents are able to trade on the platform for the time being. We are actively working to obtain our broker-dealer license in the US and EU in the next 12 months. Our campaigns are cumulative and every new country opening for us will only strengthen our voice.
Aziz: Please tell us about some of the campaigns you are currently running and how you chose them? Do you feel in future your customers can also propose companies and campaigns?
Argouges: There are currently three campaigns live on the platform: changing Coca-Cola’s packaging policy to use 100% recycled materials, ensuring fair and safe working environments for Amazon warehouse workers, and allowing independent and third-party technicians to repair Apple products.
We selected these campaigns for their global impact and their capacity to improve our lives, and to make the planet a better place. For the first time, a unified group of retail investors will be purposefully supporting strategic change in these companies. This is a unique message we want to send to boards of directors and executive teams alike – they can rely on us to engage with them and push for change.
For future campaigns, we are building a user-generated activism tool where the Tulipshare community will be able to suggest ideas themselves and mobilise change on topics that are important to them.
Aziz: Do you think GenZ will be receptive to the idea of buying stocks to influence company decisions, just as much as protesting in the streets?
Argouges: I certainly think GenZ will be receptive to the idea of buying stocks to influence company decisions. They have been trying to influence their future for years now with limited impact, which can of course be demoralising. Protesting and voting is still on their radar, but now they have another option that we have engineered for them: the ability to engage companies through their investments and have the potential to make a real difference at the top.
93% of the population do not hold shares. The commission-free brokers and impact investment firms out there, I believe, need to do a greater job at convincing younger retail investors to influence company decisions.
Tulipshare’s unique position to unify investors and give them a voice to impact corporate policies is touching the heart of GenZ and every value-driven investor, from GenZ to Millennials to Boomers.
Aziz: Finally, it feels like we are in a new era of activist retail investors feeling like they can go up against the big institutional investors – especially after Gamestop. Is this fuelling interest, do you think?
Argouges: The Gamestop saga improved the financial literacy of millions of retail investors in just a couple of weeks. The tables had turned – retail investors were moving the market and which then got shut down. This situation has only shown how openly the system is skewed against retail investors, which plays nicely alongside our narrative of engineering a way for people to vote with their money and have their voice heard.