LFP193 – GovernanceTech: Changing Companies for the Better w/Antoine Argouges CEO Tulipshare

In the hundreds of incoming requests to be on the LFP there are few that truly stand out as something fresh and innovative that I haven’t heard of countless times before. Tulipshare is one such rara avis being the first on the show who do GovernanceTech. They are a broker-dealer through which you can buy shares – so far so normal – but with one important twist. They also have campaigns to change companies that you can buy shares in to support and hopefully make them change for the better.

In this show we discuss ethical investment and its challenges, but simply put one of the things that I really liked was not just GovernanceTech per se – putting governance power into the hands of the people in a world in which power gets sucked ever higher and ever-more centrally – but that their campaigns are specific and actionable. All too often “ESG” can simplify to a few high-level bromides. These may be helpful and even necessary but at a minimum are just one side of the coin. In the real world there a million detailed things that are actionable well below super-politicized PC/globalist concepts like “climate change”. As practical examples campaigns at present include demanding that Apple allow 3rd party technicians to fix their products, that Amazon improve the working conditions of Amazon warehouse employees and that Coca-Cola uses recycled plastic. You see what I mean – specific, implementable proposals that make a mockery of any politicised divide in our polarised society. Who wouldn’t want those campaigns to succeed? Plus people can propose new campaigns to Tulipshare making this even more grass-roots/democratic.

Topics discussed include:

  • dating apps and dating space – lessons learned from working in that area
  • Antoine’s career journey and career advice leveraging his experience
  • balancing over one’s career the twin yang and yin forces of aiming in a given direction yet being flexible enough to catch rising tides as and when they appear
  • what led Antoine to found Tulipshare – his mission to change the world and enable people to do so
  • fractional shareholdings
  • a quick 500 years history of how Company Governance has gone from owner-centric to management-centric to State-rule-centric
  • the massive concentration of voting power in Proxy Advisers – two US firms control over 90% of the outsourced governance space
  • comparison with billionaires tax rates averaging around 2-4% – way below that of the ordinary man
  • giving people more control over their life and the loss of faith in democracy
  • the relative failure of boycotting qua activism
  • company governance eg shareholder resolutions is not controlled by the company but by the SEC’s rules
  • threshold for submitting a proposal used to be $2k owned for one year to now $25k for a US public listed company
  • gives access to the board room as “written in the rules that they must listen”
  • media-centric campaigns vs direct discussions with the company
  • cf UK parliamentary petitions and the brush-off that almost always comes with such
  • “it’s not a fight, we are seeing this as a partnership” = an opportunity for the company to have connection with shareholders outside the usual Wall Street ranks
  • a paradigm shift
  • companies do not received many resolutions – can generally be only a handful or two – why?
  • desire to give power to the people via Tulipshare
  • people buy stock via Tulipshare to join a campaign
  • how the voting mechanism works if you buy shares via Tulipshare
  • can buy stocks from as little as £1
  • Tulipshare combines the voting rights to submit resolutions
  • “we see most of our resolutions as being sorted out with discussions with the company itself”
  • Tulipshare’s business model
  • campaigns are submitted bottom-up by users and then filtered for appropriateness then listed on their platform
  • need for analysis and legal input
  • as an impact-investing platform most users are first-time buyers
  • challenges with ethical investment
  • Paul Kingsnorth one of the oldskool eco-activists and his view on how the movement has been going wrong in over-simplifying and turning into one simple issue way away from the complexity of the world
  • why isn’t the ethical investment sector asking the questions Tulipshare is pitching??
  • connecting Tulipshare to the ability of people to regain the idea that they can change the worlds’ largest companies for the better
  • Tulipshare’s progress and plans going forwards + they are recruiting (a full-remote firm) and in which areas

And much much more 🙂

Share and enjoy!