NASDAQ Listing Requirements

The NASDAQ is the second-largest stock exchange by market cap in the world. As an American exchange, it has listed over 3,100 companies with average daily share trading volume at over two billion. NASDAQ has handled more IPOs than any other exchange. Since 2000, NASDAQ boasts over 1,000 Initial Public Offerings. What follows is a brief description of what NASDAQ is and what it takes to be listed on that exchange.

What does NASDAQ stand for? It’s an acronym for National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations.

What are the rules to be listed on NASDAQ? To be listed on the NASDAQ exchange and reporting system, the following requirements:

  • Shareholders Equity of at least $2,000,000
  • At least 100,000 shares of public float
  • A minimum of 300+ shareholders
  • Total assets of $4,000,000
  • At least two market makers
  • $3 minimum bid price of the company stock
  • Public float market value of $1,000,000


I’ve heard a number of pushers for reverse mergers tout the ability of a company now listed on the Over the Counter (OTC) exchanges can “graduate” to NASDAQ or the NYSE. This is certainly possible and many salespeople will reference some big names like Turner Broadcasting, Occidental Petroleum or Berkshire Hathaway. Each of these companies are the wide exception to the rule. Unfortunately, transitioning to larger exchanges is much more difficult than many micro-cap business owners and management assume. However, it’s not out of reach as the numbers above showcase. Your best bet for being able to step up to the next exchange: build a good business that is investable. That is, focus on the business and not the financial engineering behind the business. If you have a great business, the money will flow in, the stock price will increase and the transition will be more than natural. The most common problem are the puffer fishes. They’re those that tout how great their business is, but who may have unrealistic expectations on their abilities and the growth within the market.

For those confident in their business and its growth trajectory, going public and then later graduating can be a viable option to a traditional IPO, but warrants a deeper dive as there are reasons an IPO may actually play better for emerging growth companies. As always, the best answer is “it depends.”

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Nate Nead
Nate Nead is a licensed investment banker and Principal at Deal Capital Partners, LLC which includes InvestmentBank.com and Crowdfund.co. Nate works works with middle-market corporate clients looking to acquire, sell, divest or raise growth capital from qualified buyers and institutional investors. He is the chief evangelist of the company's growing digital investment banking platform. Reliance Worldwide Investments, LLC a member of FINRA and SIPC and registered with the SEC and MSRB. Nate resides in Seattle, Washington.
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