First IPO: The Dutch East India Company (VOC)

The Dutch East India Company formally announced its IPO in the corporation’s founding charter on March 20, 1602. The company invited all Dutchmen to invest when shares became available for purchase in August 1602. The general public’s ability to invest in this share offering was what made this first “IPO” so unique, as previously companies raised capital from small groups of wealthy investors. When the IPO subscription period ended on August 31, some 1,100 investors had purchased shares in the IPO.


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