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.
In the 30-40 minutes that a typical investor meeting lasts, you need to accomplish several critically important goals. You must:
• Provide your audience with the investment merits of your company
• Answer their questions
• Inspire them to do more research into your market opportunity
If you fail to achieve these objectives, if the investor leaves the meeting without sufficient information and inspiration, then you’ve effectively wasted everyone’s time, including your own.
Some people are a little surprised to hear that a decent percentage of our clients at Westwicke are private, venture-backed healthcare companies. “Why,” they ask, “do private companies need investor relations?”
Having spent the majority of my professional career on the buy side at one of the first U.S.-based healthcare crossover firms, I typically respond by saying: “I often wonder why it takes private companies so long before they do reach out to the buy side!”
One of the more common things we hear from current and prospective clients is their desire to get more coverage from the sell side. This is particularly the case when the company is smaller in size, is a “restart,” or is an international company looking to list on one of the U.S. stock exchanges. Here are a few things to consider as you look to expand your sell-side coverage.
So you thought you were on the fast track to go public. You selected underwriters, increased investor outreach, prepared the organization, and probably attended a few conferences. But suddenly the markets turned, volatility came back, and the IPO window closed!
This is exactly the scenario that many companies have been facing this year. The NASDAQ Index is down 1.6% and the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index is down 20.8% year to date — not exactly ideal conditions to take your company public. However, sentiment has been improving recently, and the Volatility Index is at lower levels. The IPO window may indeed reopen soon, and if your goal is to go public when it does, we encourage you to use this time proactively.
Over the last five years the healthcare market has performed well, and we’ve seen a large number of IPOs. Recently, however, times have been a little tougher and many of these newly minted IPOs are beginning to experience what life as a public company is like in a more volatile market environment.
In times like these it is more important than ever to keep your head down, run your business, hit your targets, and deliver on the promises you have made to your investors. All of this should be complemented with a comprehensive investor relations strategy that enables you to understand how to take full advantage of the resources you have at your disposal now that you are a public company. One such resource is the sell-side analyst.
Investor targeting is a critical function for all companies looking to add new buyers and generate a broad and stable shareholder base. But management’s time and regulatory constraints get in the way. That’s why it’s crucial that you have an efficient and effective investor targeting strategy.
Having spent the better part of my career as an investor, and being the one targeted, I have been fascinated to learn the tricks of the trade to successfully target investors. Below I discuss a few strategies that will help get your company in front of the right investors.
Nobody likes being the bearer of bad news. I remember as a kid breaking a basement window playing hockey and “forgetting” to tell my parents what happened.
Well, after a few feet of new snow, a lot of which accumulated in our basement, my secret was out. I remember my parents being furious, not so much for the broken glass itself, but more because I didn’t take responsibility for what happened. They made me feel terrible by saying what I didn’t tell them violates a trust that is difficult to earn back.