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Mischler Financial Group

Snap Inc, the parent company of Snapchat, is hoping to raise about $ 3 billion in its initial public offering.

The offering is being compared to the likes of other big tech IPOs such as Alibaba, Facebook, and Twitter. And it could be one of the biggest in 2017.

The list of underwriters for the initial public offering includes a number of prominent Wall Street firms including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan. There’s also a few lesser known firms on the list. 

One such firm is the Newport Beach, California-based Mischler Financial Group. The boutique investment bank was founded in 1994 and is owned and operated by disabled veterans. 

Business Insider spoke with Ryan Moran, a director in equity sales and trading at Mischler, to get the story behind their role in the deal. 

“We were involved as an underwriter in the Alibaba IPO in 2014,” Moran said. “There were some execs at other investment banks involved in Alibaba who joined the team at Snap who recommended us for the upcoming initial public offering.”

Moran declined to the name the executives in question, but Snap’s chief strategy officer, Imran Khan, is a former Credit Suisse banker who worked on the IPO of Alibaba before joining the social media company. 

“They knew that we were well buttoned up,” Moran said. 

Moran said that his firm’s value proposition is in their distribution. He said Mischler plays a complimentary role to the “balance sheet banks,” mainly because they are well-positioned to serve underserved middle markets. 

These investors are extremely loyal to our firm and act in partnership with us,” he said. “They are the middle market accounts, the accounts that don’t fall under the radar of a larger bank.”

Signage for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. covers the front facade of the New York Stock Exchange November 11, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Thomson Reuters

Signage for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. covers the front facade of the New York Stock Exchange

In addition to Mischler’s involvement in the Alibaba IPO, which was the largest in history, the firm has also worked on 500 to 600 debt capital market transactions, according to Moran. The bank also does a lot of Fortune 500 company share repurchases.

They’ve come a long way since their humble beginnings.

“We started by just doing business in the secondary markets. So like equity, fixed income, etcetera,” Moran said.

He said this was the way they conducted business for years. 

“But then in 2009, when a lot of companies went into receivership, we got our first leap into equity capital markets in Citigroup’s IPO,” he said. 

Citigroup pulled off a $ 17 billion common stock offering and sold $ 3.5 billion in tangible equity units in late 2009 as part of its agreement to repay the $ 20 billion the US government held in TARP trust preferred securities following the depths of the financial crisis. 

Moran said the Department of the Treasury’s push for diversity played a role in their selection for the Citigroup IPO. And since then he said their hard work and altruistic mission to serve veterans has made them an attractive partner.

“We are big on giving back to our respective constituents. We do that by giving back monetarily to organizations like Wounded Warriors,” he said.”And also by training and mentoring disabled veterans.”

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