For the purposes of this post, I am delineating the difference between a roadshow and investor conferences. In essence, they can be viewed as the same thing within the investor relations functions. A good investor relations team puts your company and its management in front of new perspective-potential investors. A Road Show traditionally is a series of trips to investor offices or places of business, while investor conferences connotate exactly what it sounds like, conferences geared towards presenting your company in front of investors.
Investor Road Shows
A good investor roadshow starts way before you leave your home base. It starts with scheduling meetings with potential investors. A professional investor relations firm will vet out and target the right potential investor based on their previous investments and there investing potential. It’s not just important to get you in front of a multi-million dollar fund, you have to be sure that the fund has the capital to invest at the right time and that the fund invests in your type of company. In the perfect world, you spend 30 to 60 days scheduling meetings and then the next 30 days or so visiting the potential targets. If done properly, you can schedule 40 to 65 or even 70 to 90 meetings (depending on how ambitious your team is..) in the 30 days. Raising money is a numbers game, the more potential investors you touch, the higher the likelihood that someone makes an investment in your company. But in reality, nothing ever works that perfectly. We recommend a 90 to 120-day investor relations campaign if you are looking to raise an initial amount of capital. We recommend a full-time investor relations program, running 365 days a year if the company has the means and understands that raising capital and being capitalized is a permanent function in their company. This allows a professional investor relations firm to schedule the appropriate meetings between investors and the company’s management.
Investor conferences and industry tradeshows are a great way to get in front of target investors and industry participants. Industry conferences give you the inside track to partner with potential industry allies that allows for efficient and strong growth to many companies. Investor conferences, as opposed to industry conferences, give you an inside look at participants in the investing space in your sector. While both conferences are recommended to bring awareness to your public company, for the purposes of this post, we will focus on investor conferences.
After being in the industry for over 10 years, I know one thing for sure, investor conferences are not cheap. Regardless if you are a micro-cap company looking to get into a micro-cap investor conference or an oil company looking to get into a specific oil investing/investor conference sponsored by a large investment bank like Bank of America or Merrill Lynch or Morgan Stanley ….. these conferences can run you between $5000 and $20,000 for a 25 minute to 1-hour slot to speak at. Some public companies can only get in to present if the investment bank or firm that is sponsoring the event is providing research or another investment banking related service to the public company. Some of these conferences are set up specifically for clients of large investment banks. But in my experience, they are well worth it if you are looking to raise capital. The people who attend these events are generally super specific to the industry’s financial sector and have relationships and the network to make just about any funding deal necessary. The key is in the follow-up. Many times a public company’s management will attend an investor conference and shake hands with the 50-100 participants they could get to, and there may have been 100 or more that they missed because they did not have the human resources at the conference to network optimally. Regardless, making sure to follow up with everybody you met at an investor conference is key to closing the right deal. I have seen many successful public companies funded on a simple strategy of attending 4 to 10 targeted investor conferences per year. Again this is not cheap, but if a strong follow-up and follow-through strategy are implemented, targeted investor conferences can be extremely effective in terms of raising capital and telling your story to investors and potential investors.
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