Four Palihapitiya-backed SPACs to allow retail investors to buy into IPOs via SoFi

June 9 (Reuters) - Four blank-check companies, backed by venture investor Chamath Palihapitiya, said on Wednesday that they will give retail investors an opportunity to buy shares in their initial public offerings via Social Finance Inc’s (SoFi) online brokerage platform.

SoFi, the lending startup, first said in March that individual investors can buy into IPOs, an investment opportunity traditionally reserved for large Wall Street investors.

Robinhood Markets Inc also unveiled such a platform last month, with FIGS Inc becoming the first company to offer shares to retail investors.

Reuters was first to report plans for Robinhood’s new product, called IPO Access, in March.

The special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), Social Capital Suvretta Holdings Corp I, II, III and IV - launched earlier this month - said they each anticipate up to 5% of Class A ordinary shares in the offering will be available to retail investors through SoFi Securities as an underwriter.

A blank-check company, also known as SPAC, uses capital raised through an IPO to buy a private company, usually within two years. The deal then takes the private company public.

The four SPACs are looking to raise a total of $800 million through initial public offerings with a focus on acquiring biotechnology firms.

Palihapitiya has been a prolific backer of blank-check firms, merging them with a range of companies, from space tourism firm Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc to home-selling platform Opendoor Technologies Inc. (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)