If you're an employee at a hot startup like SpaceX or Scopely, you are probably lucky enough to own valuable shares in the company. But until your employer goes public – an increasingly elusive occasion – those shares represent little more than numbers on a cap table.

"People are really wealthy on paper, but they can't send their child to the school they want or buy their first home," said Josh Berman, CEO of Quid Capital Group, which announced Wednesday it has raised a $320 million second fund to offer liquidity to startup employees.

Startup employees have long been able to trade their shares on secondary markets. With Quid, they keep most of their shares and get a loan of up to 35% against their equity. In return, they pay an interest rate of around 7%, which is not due until the shares go public. They also give Quid a small percentage of shares.

"If the company cranks, we want a share of the upside," Berman said.

Because its collateral in the shares themselves, Quid only makes loans to employees at startups it judges to be sufficiently worth the risk. Since launching in 2017, it has doled out more than $100 million to employees at 24 startups including Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft.

Quid's model has become increasingly necessary as startups, awash in hundreds of millions in late stage capital, take far longer to go public than used to be the case.

Berman is a co-founder of MySpace, one of the earliest Los Angeles tech companies, and Quid is based in Santa Monica. But so far the only company it has partnered with here is the e-scooter unicorn, Bird Rides Inc.

Quid Managing Partners Josh Berman (left) and Anthony Tucker

"Most of our business is in San Francisco, but there are companies we love in L.A.," said Berman.

He says he plans for the second fund to target employees at 24 high-growth companies, including local unicorns Scopely, SpaceX, and Jam City.

Quid, which was spun out of Troy Capital Partners and Oaktree Capital earlier this year, is also backed by Davidson Kempner Capital Management and a group of investors including Spencer Rascoff, dot.LA's co-founder and executive chairman.

In the not so distant future, U.S. aerospace companies may build commercial space stations, apply for mining contracts in space and create a new economy on the moon — and eventually Mars, according to NASA's deputy administrator, who spoke to dot.LA earlier this month.

Jim Morhard, who was nominated by President Donald Trump in October 2018, doesn't have a space technology background but he does have an MBA, and it showed. In a wide-ranging interview after his first visit to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, Morhard talked about the administration's efforts to build up and support the space industry so that the government can step back and reap the benefits of private innovation. That effort includes setting up a legal framework for how countries should conduct themselves in space. Last week NASA and its international partners signed the accords. China and Russia were not signatories.

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Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has raised $1.9 billion in funding, according to regulatory filings posted Tuesday.

Citing sources familiar with the deal, Bloomberg reported on plans for the round last week, saying the funds would bring the Hawthorne-based company to a $46 billion equity value.

It comes after SpaceX became the first private company to take astronauts to orbit docking at the International Space Station and returning back safely, earlier this month. This round marks the largest to date for the rocket-ship maker, according to PItchBook, and hints at Musk's ambitions.

SpaceX could not immediately be reached for comment.

When Elon Musk launched SpaceX in El Segundo in 2002, detractors didn't think a company that sought to make space travel affordable could survive.

Musk's aim was to make space travel cheaper. He hopes eventually to colonize Mars. A successful mission to bring astronauts to the International Space Station this summer brought him one step closer to that goal.

On Tuesday the company also notched its 100th mission with the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral ferrying Starlink broadband satellites into space.

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