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The Westwicke Blog is designed to deliver information and insights into the ever-changing world of investor relations and the capital markets, with a specific focus on the healthcare industry.

Where Private Companies Fit in at J.P. Morgan

Posted on September 27th, 2017. Posted by

Where Private Companies Fit in at J.P. Morgan

Whether it’s your first J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference or your 36th, if you are involved in the healthcare sector in any way, you know J.P. Morgan is the super bowl of healthcare conferences and for four days, it becomes the epicenter of healthcare. The attendance is staggering with approximately 20,000 healthcare professionals ranging from institutional investors, private equity and venture capital investors, bankers, analysts, and company executives all gathering to see the next new thing in healthcare. It is the place to be for healthcare executives to start the year.

Unlike many of the public companies, whose main objectives are to see owners of their stock, as well as meet new potential holders, the way a private company approaches J.P. Morgan may be — and should be — a little different. Westwicke Partners works with a number of global private (and public) healthcare companies in all phases of their corporate lifecycles. Some of our private clients are pre-IPO companies beginning the process of getting to know Wall Street and the institutional investors, while others may be in the midst of some corporate action such as a cross-over financing, a license deal, or merger or acquisition. Which “track” a private company is on should change the way they approach J.P. Morgan.

Here are a few of the more common strategies private companies use to approach J.P. Morgan, along with some tactics you should think about to help make the J.P. Morgan conference a success.

Your strategy is to be ready to go public within a six to nine-month time frame or your goal is to complete a crossover round. Under this scenario you’ve probably selected, or are close to selecting bookrunners and you may have already begun the drafting process. Using the conference to raise your profile under this scenario is likely going to be focused on lining up investor meetings. Whether these are initial introductory meetings or a third or fourth meeting, take the rifle approach vs. the shotgun approach in determining your targets. Sacrifice numbers and make sure targets consist of the investors you know are active in deals, and those who will be “first page” holders when you price your IPO.

Your strategy is to prepare for a 2019 public offering. In this scenario, you have a bit more time and raising your profile will be more likely focused on making introductions and building relationships with investment bankers and meeting the analyst who you hope to invite back to your “bake-off” closer to the IPO date. But remember, you will be one of a 100 different companies that banker or analyst will meet at J.P. Morgan, so treat these interactions as merely intro meetings with what will ideally be a more focused follow-up meeting within the next few months. Don’t go into these meetings thinking you are going to have identified your syndicate. That decision-making process should be done in a much more “controlled” setting.

Your strategy is to strengthen your profile amongst other companies for partnering / M&A / licensing deals. Often, the successful completion of your IPO means getting a key licensing deal or partnership that provides the validation of a technology, a product, or a market opportunity, making your company more appealing to potential investors. Simply attending the J.P. Morgan conference allows you to see and interact with many of the companies and business development executives you have on your list. Another tactic to identifying potential interest is to attend one of the many other conferences being hosted around SF during the at the same time as J.P. Morgan. Biotech Showcase, OneMedForum, or RESI are all options.

Now that you understand where the conference will benefit your strategy, here’s how to ensure you pull off a successful conference.

Establish a home base. Establishing a “home base” to host your meetings allows you to avoid the alternative, which is a mad four-day dash around Union Square. J.P. Morgan is notorious for tight schedules, long travel times between meetings (because you will most certainly see ten people you will have to say hello to in between), delays, and no shows. An established home base makes it easier for everyone.

Tighten up the deck and make sure it is geared to meet your intended goals. Most companies come to J.P. Morgan with shiny, new, updated decks. Make sure the deck properly targets your audience. For new or repeat investor meetings, have a deck that highlights the investment opportunity and shows the success you’ve had against your recent goals. If your goal is to meet potential license partners, have a deck that provides the deep dive that group will want to see.

Give yourself adequate meeting time. Private companies should try to make all meetings a full 60 minutes. Avoid the 30-minute meeting trap which is so common at J.P. Morgan. Thirty-minutes is fine if it’s a quick “hello,” but for an investor you are courting for the first time or an investor you hope will be a big part of a crossover or IPO investment, allocate much longer. At this stage, it really needs to be about quality meetings and having the time to go through the investment rationale.

Set expectations. J.P. Morgan is a hectic four days and you have to understand that most of the investors are attending first to get updates on the stocks they own in their portfolio(s), second to network, and third to get new ideas. When you realize an analyst or PM can have responsibility for some 40-60 positions, you can quickly see that getting every meeting you want can be challenging.

For a deeper dive on the ins and outs of taking your company public, download our “Insider’s Guide to Going Public.” Need help preparing for your next conference? Westwicke Partners can help you get the maximum value out of your attendance. Get in touch.

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