Reorganisation and reduncancies at OffRoad

The Californian online private equity market place will split into two independent businesses and reduce staff from 60 to 30.

OffRoad Capital, the San Francisco-based company that built the first online trading platform for shares in unquoted companies to help start-ups raise funds electronically, has announced drastic measures to adopt to market conditions.

OffRoad said it is reorganising into two independent but related companies, both trading as subsidiaries of OffRoad, Inc., the new name for the holding company. OffRoad Technologies will look after its private capital technology platform, whilst OffRoad Capital will be an investment banking business led by Richard Bowman and Tripp Brower, the people currently running the division.

The company will also lay off half its staff, reducing headcount from 60 to 30 workers. Stephen D. Pelletier, the founder, will step down as Executive Chairman and become CEO.

OffRoad said the changes were necessary partly in order to help the company cope with the difficult market environment. “The reorganisation and reduction in expenses lower our ongoing capital requirements and provide us with increased flexibility for financing and growing both businesses independently”, Pelletier said.

He added that OffRoad Capital would continue to focus on its relationship with high net worth individuals and institutional investors to raise private equity funds for general partners.

OffRoad was founded in 1997. The firm sold a minority equity stake to ING Barings for an undisclosed sum in November last year. At the time, the firm had completed 13 private equity transactions worth $80m.

OffRoad also said in 2000 it had plans to expand into European markets although it was not clear at the time whether there might be regulatory hurdles to be overcome in some European jurisdictions.