On the morning of Wednesday 16 November, 30 leading entrepreneurs, investors and advisors met the Rosewood Hotel London for the finnCap AIM High Breakfast Briefing.
Attendees heard from Sam Smith, finnCap’s CEO about the state of the market and the opportunities that there are for companies looking to float on AIM. Followed by an interview with Steve Flavell, co-Founder of LoopUp, the first tech company to float post referendum.
The interview, focused on what it takes for a company to IPO, the impact of the referendum on the company and how the LoopUp business model is helping the company innovate.
Highlights from the interview are below.
What influenced the decision to float post referendum?
SF: People may have looked at us and thought ‘idiots to do this after Brexit’ in the middle of August, but it all boils down to the fact that people still need to meet at least as much as they did before. The fundamentals of our business haven’t changed at all.
Did the European Union referendum vote effect your decision to float?
SF: We did step back and at least take some pause for thought. I think we needed just to feel comfortable that the people we had got to know over the prior couple of years weren’t going to feel any differently. And if they were happy to continue with it then we certainly were and that’s when we decided to press on.
Why did you choose the Alternate Investment Market over other options?
SF: We talked to a lot of Silicon Valley VCs, we talked to a lot of equity firms, we talked to a number of NOMADS and over time we thought it was the best route for us; that control, the reputational effect, the lack of structure in the investment.
Does it make a difference between being a publically traded company?
SF: It definitely makes a difference to the team. We were very open about the process and sticking with it. We took great pains to explain to them that this was in no way an exit, this was growth equity and the result was met by a lot of excitement in the company, a number of them invested and it was great.
LoopUP has a unique business model – why does it largely employ graduates?
SF: As the business grew we were not always in the position to risk employing expensive sales people. Investing in graduates ensured we employed smart people and could develop and grow our own team.
These are bright, hungry, career minded people who are very good communicators they are generalists, they’re not formally sales people, they’re not from any particular academic background. They’re just smart, hungry, communicative people and they still want what they wanted last year which is a good career path. The IPO is going to help that which they like and they give themselves to the growth of the business because of it.
What advice would you give to companies looking to float:
SF: I would emphasise the importance of starting early before you press the button, that doesn’t mean just getting to know investors but the advisors and the bank. Ensure people know you and you know what to expect – eliminate any surprises.
Be prepared, all the work is actually very manageable, there’s nothing that’s super difficult about it but the volume is significant. I’m a big fan of starting it early, way before you want to actually sign the engagement letters, leave time to get to know the important stakeholders, it will be invaluable to have their support during the process.