How to Get a Piece of Facebook Before the IPO

This article was written with Steve Cordasco, of Cordasco financial network. It's part of a series of articles developed under an agreement with to work with a variety of contributors and assist them in delivering actionable investment ideas each week.

Steve Cordasco and David Evanson, Spring, 2012

WOODSIDE, California (TheStreet) — With Facebook shares scheduled to hit the market this week, many individuals are scrambling to get in on the action. What investors are finding is that unless they are an institution, or their account has a minimum of two commas in it, theyzzre not getting any Facebook shares.

Izzm here to tell you that therezzs another way to participate in the Facebook IPO and position yourself for what may be the hottest IPOs yet to come.

Little known GSV Capital (GSVC_) based in Woodside, CA, is a publicly traded fund that seeks to invest in high-growth, venture-backed private companies, and owns some 350,000 shares of Facebook that it acquired in two transactions last June and December. By buying shares of GSVC, you are, de facto, gaining exposure to shares of Facebook.

More important than the Facebook play, however is that with GSV, investors can also position themselves to capitalize, in similar fashion, on some of hottest upcoming IPOs, just like private equity investors, but with liquidity thrown in for good measure. Thatzzs because GSV Capital also owns stakes in Twitter, Chegg, Dropbox, Kno, and Bloom Energy. The company seems to have unusually clear foresight with early investments in companies such as Groupon and Zynga that have recently sold shares to the public.

GSV Capital is the brainchild of Michael Moe, who I know personally. Moe has a long history on Wall Street with stints in investment banking, research and sales. He lives and works in Silicon Valley, and to some degree, this accounts for the amazing investment portfolio of GSV Capital. The firm has capital, but more to the point, through coaching or going to Happy Hour at the Old Pro bar, or supporting civic initiatives, Moe congenially rubs elbows with all of the entrepreneurs in the Valley that need capital and are building great (and sometimes not so great) companies.

For better or worse, Silicon Valley is a world that most of us donzzt have access to, and as a result, we are outside the glass, wide-eyed and looking in. But with companies like GSV Capital, itzzs like getting a seat at the Old Pro bar, where, just maybe the Facebook deal was clinched over a second round of Gordon Biersch Pilsners.

I would be remiss if I didnzzt say that just because you can access some of the hottest Silicon Valley creations through GSV Capital, it doesnzzt mean you should. Not every investment is right for every investor. Prudent investing relies on an allocation of assets across several industries.

I would characterize an investment in GSV Capital as part of a private equity allocation, which, in an of itself, carries significant risks and is generally not included at all in portfolios built for income or capital preservation.

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