Panel - Why I chose to take my company public
Time for an IPO? Road shows let investors know who you are
There are the traditional reasons to take a company public, such as liquidity and growth capital. But those aren’t the only reasons, according to panelists.
The IPO can have incredible impact when it comes to branding and marketing, notes Ken Goldman of Yahoo. And Susan Casey of Square 1 Financial says her company wanted to walk in the shoes of its customers.
But regardless of the reason, panelists agreed, there are certain leading practices. Getting out in front of investors early is key.
And the road show is vital, especially when it comes to making connections. (As V.S.S. Mani of Justdial notes, it’s also “really a lot of fun.”) Remember that most investors will have reviewed your numbers before the show starts; at the end of the process, they’re buying you and the management team.
To that end, investors are looking at body language and eye contact.
Look them straight in the eye,” Goldman said. “Be candid, and tell your own story in your own words very, very well.”
But that advice comes with two caveats. First, there is such a thing as being too involved with the road show, Goldman notes — you still have a business to run. And being straightforward doesn’t necessarily translate into offering market guidance. In fact, most panelists cautioned against it.
“As soon as you do that, you put your head in a noose,” says Anthony Podesta of McMillan Shakespeare. As Goldman says, “investors do take notes.”
When the time comes to go public, there are several points to consider:
- Underpromise and overdeliver — the markets will take care of themselves
- Select the right board
- Select the right CFO — he or she will be a key lieutenant in the campaign
- Get the pitch just right — for entrepreneurs, who are passionate about what they do, it’s all too easy to oversell
Going public isn’t for the faint-hearted, according to Podesta: “I thought I was working hard before we went public.” But an IPO can make the difference between good and great.
“Don’t be afraid to think big,” Casey says. “My dad had a saying: ‘Shoot for the stars; if you hit the moon, you’ve done OK.’”
Americas IPO Leader
Jackie is a partner in EY’s Advisory Services practice and serves as the Americas IPO Leader. She leads the IPO go-to-market strategy for the Americas with a team of IPO leaders, and is responsible for over 400 C-suite executive strategy sessions focused on IPO readiness and post-IPO effectiveness.
She has almost 25 years of advisory and audit experience, focusing on IPO readiness, business process improvement, governance, internal controls, risk management, internal audits and financial audits. She was instrumental in the development of EY’s Global IPO readiness program and advises IPO-bound companies on establishing appropriate governance.
Jackie has led numerous C-suite strategy sessions on IPO readiness with companies throughout the Americas. She has hosted conferences and webcasts and published articles on a variety of topics, including IPO readiness. Jackie has briefed members of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, U.S. Treasury and others on IPO trends.
Founder and CEO
Mr. Mani is the founder and CEO of Justdial, an India-based company providing local search services over the phone, web, mobile and SMS.
With Justdial, Mr. Mani has revolutionized the process of searching for information. In 1989, he foresaw a flourishing business of “search” that was aided by technology. He has evolved with the changing ecosystem and has recognized and capitalized on market transitions before they happen and adapted his business model accordingly. He realized that with constant connectivity and major behavioral shifts from voice to computers to laptops, and now the all-powered smartphones, users would want more out of a search engine. In 2013, Justdial’s IPO was subscribed over 12.7 times, making it the biggest IPO in the internet space in India.
Mr. Mani was named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ in 2013 and Digital Person of the Year by the Internet & Mobile Association of India.
McMillan Shakespeare Group
Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 Australia
In 1989, Anthony left his career as a teacher to set up McMillan Shakespeare, Australia’s largest provider of salary packaging services and a leading provider of vehicle leasing and fleet management to major employers across Australia and New Zealand.
Through Anthony’s ongoing vision and passion to succeed, a new Australian industry was gradually born and developed, despite numerous obstacles along the way. Today, McMillan Shakespeare is one of Australia’s great corporate success stories being a top 150 securities exchange-listed company with a market capitalization of approximately AUD1 billion. McMillan Shakespeare currently holds 60% of the Australian employee benefits. In recognition of his entrepreneurial spirit and business achievements, Anthony was awarded the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Award for Australia in 2012.
Founder and member Board of Directors
Square 1 Financial
Susan, one of the founders of Square 1 Bank, serves on the Board of Directors of Square 1 Financial and is an active member of the Director’s Loan Committee. During her tenure she was instrumental in the bank’s rapid growth to assets of $2.0 billion and a loan portfolio of $750 million.
Prior to founding Square 1 Bank, Susan was President of the Technology & Life Science Division of Comerica Bank. She joined Comerica after the bank acquired Imperial Bank in 2001, where she was Chief Credit Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the Emerging Growth Division.
Along with her continued commitment to Square 1 Financial, Susan also sits on the Board of Julien Farel Products International and is CEO of Casey Ventures, a provider of financial consulting services.
Ken is CFO of Yahoo!, an American multinational internet corporation known globally for its web portal, search engine, social media aspects, video sharing and related services. In this leadership role, Ken is responsible for Yahoo!’s global finance functions, including financial planning and analysis, controllership, tax, treasury and investor relations.
Ken has more than 30 years of experience in financial, operational and business management, and he was named among “America’s 15 Most Connected Capitalists” for 2010 by Forbes magazine and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Yahoo! Japan and several private companies. He was formerly a member of the Board of Trustees of Cornell University and was appointed a Cornell Trustee Emeritus and Presidential Counselor in 2013. He was also a member of Treasury Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession and previously served on the FASB’s primary advisory group, the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and his MBA from Harvard Business School.