One of the things that startups – and practically any business – need to do in order to gain funding is to actively look for investors. They are fortunate if it is the investors who will come knocking on their door, but in most other cases, there is a need to find them and get them to notice you. Once they do, the next step is to get them to give you more than a few minutes of their time to let you convince them why you are a good prospect for investment. There are several avenues to accomplish this, and one of them is through investor roadshows.

How to Plan an Investor Roadshow

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In this article, we provide 1) a short introduction to investor roadshows and 2) how to plan a successful investor roadshow.

THE INVESTOR ROADSHOW

The phrase “roadshow” immediately brings to mind going from one place to another, presenting something visual. It makes one think of a touring show of musicians, artists and performers, who make use of a series of different locations or venues.

That is not too far from the truth when it comes to an investor roadshow. The business will literally be putting on a “show” – a presentation – for potential investors. In this context, the presentation is the roadshow.

Think of a company that is issuing shares of stocks in order to raise capital for a major project. They will conduct a presentation to prospective buyers of these shares or securities. Thus, they will have to conduct an investor roadshow in order to convince investors.

We can classify an investor roadshow into two: a “deal roadshow” and a “non-deal roadshow”.

  • Deal Roadshow. The classic example is an IPO Roadshow. An investor roadshow is often conducted by a previously privately-held company that is going public and conducting an initial public offering (IPO). It is, in effect, their way of “advertising” the shares in the IPO.
  • Non-deal Roadshow. Investor roadshows may also be conducted even without the intention of selling or offering anything. Often, executives of a company will undertake a roadshow with their current investors, but also with the added motivation of being able to attract additional, new investors in the process.

Often, an investor roadshow is used synonymously with “financial roadshow”, where executives or members of top management conduct a series of meetings in different cities where the company has branches or satellite offices. While it is true that a financial roadshow is also conducted for IPO purposes, it has a much broader coverage, as it may also be conducted when a corporation that was previously government-owned will be privatized.

This is not to be confused with other types of roadshows that are also related to business. Marketing roadshows, for example, involve a group of people travelling to different places to advertise certain products or services.

More than private investors, the target audience of investor roadshows are the institutional investors, which range from investment banks to pension funds and other financial agencies or institutions that can help in generating buzz about the offering. Investor roadshows are not meant for potential investors alone, because they are also conducted for the benefit of fund managers, analysts, and practically anyone interested with the company. That means that potential partners and customers are also included.

On the other hand, the presentation is not left solely in the hands of top management of the company, as they may opt to send a representative that they deem could do an excellent job in making the presentations in their stead.

Purpose of an Investor Roadshow

In an investor roadshow, a representative of the company will travel to different cities or places in the country where their potential investors are, and make a presentation about an investment opportunity in the company or business that he represents. The purpose of an investor roadshow will largely depend on what type of an investor roadshow it is.

The main purpose of an IPO roadshow is to generate interest of potential investors in your company, or in what your company is offering. You want to build up their excitement so that, when the IPO date finally comes around, they will be right there to purchase your offering.

An investor roadshow, which is held prior to the actual offering or sale of securities or shares, is also instrumental in increasing the share price of the stocks as well as shareholder value. The higher the interest or excitement generated, the higher the share price is likely to be.

According to institutional investors, a large part of the success of IPOs depends on how well-planned and executed their roadshows are.

As for non-deal roadshows, these are also conducted in order to renew and strengthen the relationships of the company with its current investors. They are even seen as part of the reportorial responsibility of company’s management to its stakeholders.

What to include in an Investor Roadshow

You might be one of those who are wondering what is included in the presentation, or what the representative of the company will talk about. Essentially, what will be presented is the business plan of the company, which will be tackled in great detail. The key topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The background of the business;
  • The composition of the management team, including their qualifications and level of experience;
  • The products and services of the company, and their features;
  • The current state of the business, focusing on its strengths and achievements;
  • The competitive environment of the company, including an analysis of the overall competitive landscape that it operates in;
  • The expected results, with special focus on how these results will be to the benefit of the potential investors

How Investor Roadshows are Conducted

The events that are included in an investor roadshow may vary, depending on what the management deems to be the most effective way of reaching their potential investors and engaging their interest.

  • Small, private meetings are sometimes conducted by management with select groups of potential investors, often performed by batch.
  • Larger gatherings may also be held in bigger venues that are able to accommodate a larger number of potential investors.
  • Multimedia presentations are presented to the audience.
  • Question-and-answer sessions that resemble press conferences are also conducted, often with the presence of media.
  • Copies of presentations are also uploaded or posted online. Twitter, for example, posted a video presentation of its IPO roadshow on the website RetailRoadshow.com.

Feel free to watch Twitter’s investor roadshow presentation.

PLANNING AN INVESTOR ROADSHOW

Roadshows are not easy to put together. There are a lot of details regarding logistics that must be sorted out. Making travel arrangements alone already takes a lot of work, and engaging the involvement of different parties that will contribute or play even a minor role during the roadshow is not going to be a walk in the park.

They are not cheap, either. It costs money – a lot of it – to organize a roadshow. However, if you plan it well, and you execute it properly, the returns are likely to be more than the cost incurred in putting it into motion.

There is a need, therefore, to ensure that all the smallest details are taken care of from the beginning. Here we will take a look at the aspects of investor roadshow planning.

1. Deciding on Scope of Responsibility and Budget

This pertains to how the roadshow will be carried out. Companies generally have two options:

  • Organize the roadshows in-house. This is ideal for companies that have enough manpower or staff on board to devote their time to organizing the details and logistics of investor roadshows. It gives the company full control of how the roadshows will be conducted.
  • Hire an agency or service provider specializing in investor roadshows. There are such firms whose main service is to plan and organize roadshows. This easily takes away much of the burden of planning from the company itself, but it is also quite expensive. This is the reason why this option is seen to be used only by the very large businesses.

On the matter of cost, expect to spend money on an investor roadshow. You can work on the budget as you go along the planning of the roadshow. After all, there are many things to consider, such as the cost of travel, the cost of hotel accommodations for the members of the management team, the cost of reserving the chosen venues in every city, the meals and even the materials that will be distributed to the audience.

2. Roadshow Scheduling

  • Duration: There is no fixed duration for a roadshow. It could be as short as 2 to 3 days or longer up to 2 to 3 weeks. It will take even longer if you are going to take the roadshow across the country, because you have to take into account the travel time it requires to move from one place to another. Scheduling will coincide with the determination of your stops of the roadshow.
  • Roadshow Dates: Now, when will you bring the show on the road? There is such a thing called “roadshow season”. These are the months in the year when companies often go on the road to connect with their current or potential investors. Obviously, if you are conducting an IPO, the roadshow must be conducted before the actual date of the IPO.

When scheduling your investor roadshow, make sure that it does not adversely affect the normal operations of the business. Your operations should still go unhindered even when key members of management are on the road working hard to attract more investors.

3. Dealing with the Logistics

There is one rule of thumb when deciding on the places to conduct your roadshow in: go where the investors are. If you are eyeing institutions in New York City as potential investors, then include that city in your stops. If you want to renew your relationship with your investors in Florida, then that should be on your list of destinations as well.

Of course, you should never leave out your company’s base or “home market”. It will not make sense if you focus all your marketing efforts in other cities but ignore your own backyard altogether.

You may have come across large companies choosing five-star hotels and prestigious venues for their investor roadshows. It is not a given that the more expensive the venue is, the more successful the roadshow will become. There is no guarantee of that. Sometimes, smaller and more humble venues may be the much better options for your company to connect with your potential investors.

Reservations must be made in advance. It is a fact that there may be last-minute changes due to unforeseen events. Make the arrangements in view of the possibility of these things happening.

Details regarding the transportation and travel of the company’s participants to the investor roadshow must be hammered out clearly.

4. Crafting and Delivery of the Presentation

The presentation refers to two things: the conduct of the presentation, and its content.

In the conduct of the roadshow, you would consider the way that the roadshow will be carried out. Typically, those that are conducted in the middle of the day, will start with a short period for casual chats over cocktails. This could last for 20 to 30 minutes. After that, everyone will go for lunch. When lunch is over, it is time for the management or the representatives to make their presentation, which will then be followed by a question-and-answer (Q&A) session.

Next, we will look into the content. We have already mentioned the typical topics that must be contained in the presentation of the company, which is essentially its business plan.

  • Create a standardized presentation which will be given to the potential investors. This will also be a good source material for the practice of the presenters later on.
  • Highlight the benefits of the company, both the qualitative and the quantitative. Do not stick to just presenting the facts and figures. While it is true that most investors look at the bottom-line and care about numbers, many of them will still want to know the qualitative benefits that they can expect from investing in the company.
  • Talk about the corporate culture of the business, particularly the value of its employees and management. A lot can be said about a company when you look at its story, and investors will naturally want to know who they are investing in.

5. Choosing the Right Person(s) to Represent the Business

Who will make the presentation?

Take note that these roadshows mean that management will be reaching out to investors, whether current or prospective. That means that members of the management must be present. After all, they are the ones who are most knowledgeable about the contents of the presentation. When the audience ask questions, they are also the ones who are most qualified to provide the answers.

Investors put a lot of stock on the person making the presentation. In the case of IPOs, potential investors prefer seeing the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). It has been said that it is only during these roadshows that investors get to meet the top honchos of the company.

6. Coaching and Practice for the Presenters

You can say that the roadshow is a storytelling session, and the presenters are the storytellers. Even storytellers need preparation and practice in order to deliver the story with the right nuance.

No matter how knowledgeable or qualified the presenters are, a little coaching and lots of practice will not hurt. This will help them prepare better, as they will be able to anticipate questions that will be thrown their way, and simulation of the roadshow will make them even more confident when the real thing actually happens.

It’s not just the operational and other managers who will benefit from coaching and practice, because even CEOs and CFOs will find that these will arm them better when the actual roadshow takes place.

7. Knowing your audience

The biggest reason for getting to know your audience is so you can better differentiate your company in their minds. Investors have different perspectives when looking at potential investments, and if you do not know these perspectives, you will not be able to create and present your presentations in a way that will engage their attention and hold their interest.

8. Other tips for Roadshow Planning

Plan well ahead of time. In large companies with established departments dedicated solely for investor roadshows, they start planning well in advance, and they plan the roadshows that they will conduct over the course of the next 6 or 12 months.

Economize, but do not skimp. You might think that you will be saving money if your CEO and CFO travel in economy. Consider the reality that they might be uncomfortable during a long flight, and will not be able to be in the best condition once they arrive at their destination. There are also benefits to letting your team stay in a more expensive hotel; they will be well-rested for when they face the investors the next day. There is nothing wrong with trying to keep your costs low during the investor roadshow, but consider the long-term effects of your decisions. You may get better results even if you spend more.

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