Do investors care if your startup has a “big name” shareholder?

  • By philip alexander
  • 07 Mar, 2017
Finding a big name investor might be considered an integral part of any startup’s corporate strategy. Here are some of the reasons a big name investor can help boost your startup’s profile and, in turn, your capital raising prospects.

Every one of us is probably guilty of name dropping at some point.

If executed well, the positive associations that derive from name dropping can lift the perceptions of one’s position in the social hierarchy. In the corporate arena, these are the same positive associations that drive organisations to pay top dollar for highly regarded brand ambassadors.

In the world of startups where funds are somewhat tighter, this effect is often achieved by bringing on a “big name” investor. As an example, telco and advertising startup Unlockd recently achieved some positive attention around its  “high-profile investors”  (Lachlan Murdoch and Greg Roebuck). The backers behind  fintech startup SocietyOne  (Westpac, Lachlan Murdoch, and Packer) are regularly mentioned in media stories flouting its success.

In fact, finding a big name investor might even be considered an integral part of any startup’s corporate strategy. Here are some of the reasons a big name investor can help boost your startup’s profile and, in turn, your capital raising prospects.

1. NOBODY LIKES BEING FIRST TO THE PARTY

It’s human nature to be cautious about being the “first mover”. A classic example is café display cakes, which usually have a slice cut out, even if no one has purchased a piece yet, to reduce the anxiety of being the first customer to cut into the cake.

Where money is at stake, investors are always looking for external validation that their financial risk in a transaction will not outweigh their potential return. One high-profile investor on board will give other potential investors confidence that the firm has a solid business model and is ready for capital appreciation.

2. EVEN INVESTORS GET FOMO

Not all investment decisions are driven solely by logic.

FOMO, or “fear of missing out” is a well-documented motivator for investing in a company. In fact it’s often the main reason for investing, according to Silicon Valley’s Shark Tank pioneer Mark Cuban. By promoting that a big name investor is interested in your company, you’ll be communicating that you’re a Really Big Deal that can’t be missed.

3. LEAD INVESTORS CAN STREAMLINE YOUR EFFORTS

In most early stage capital raising rounds – if there are multiple investors – usually one of the investors takes the lead role. The lead investor might negotiate the term sheet, carry out the due diligence, talk to customers and staff, and negotiate the shareholder agreement on behalf of all the investors coming into the capital raising round. This early investor can help streamline the administrative process of bringing on future investors.

4. BIG NAMES CAN BUILD MUCH-NEEDED MEDIA HYPE

In today’s booming Australian startup market, standing out from the crowd can be challenging. What you’re looking for is a large media outlet to pick up the story, detail your funding success, and – most importantly – detail the product you’re bringing to market. If you have a big name on board, you are far more likely to achieve the headlines you’re looking for.

5. THE BOTTOM LINE

A well-known investor or board member is highly likely to help you to attract capital, staff, and customers. With this said, however, it’s important not to focus on high profile investors to the detriment of your operation.

No high profile investor in the world can compensate for a poorly run business. Focus on the fundamentals of your business and product offering, and the big names will follow.

This article first appeared in StartUpSmart in March 2017
By philip alexander 22 Mar, 2017
There were 30 tech IPOs in 2016 on the ASX and 10 mining IPOs. Mining performed more strongly than technology IPOs. Wisetech Global was the standout tech IPO of 2016. At this stage in 2017, there are 3x more mining IPOs in the ASX pipeline than tech IPOs. A strong reversal of 2016 numbers.
By philip alexander 15 Mar, 2017

ASX Tech IPOs had mixed results in 2016. Top 10 tips for assessing Tech IPOs in 2017.

By philip alexander 07 Mar, 2017
Finding a big name investor might be considered an integral part of any startup’s corporate strategy. Here are some of the reasons a big name investor can help boost your startup’s profile and, in turn, your capital raising prospects.
By philip alexander 02 Mar, 2017

Jacanda Capital said it expects investors may be tempted “back to mining IPOs” in 2017 due to the performance of tech listings in 2016.

“Tech IPOs generated a 45 per cent return overall for investors throughout 2016, compared to just 25 per cent for mining IPOs,” the company said.

“However, this figure drops from 45 per cent to just 8 per cent if the 1,380 per cent return generated by tech IPO outlier, Aurora Labs, is excluded from these returns.”

Jacanda Capital executive director Philip Alexander said investors were also “far less certain” on how to judge a tech IPO as they are “still somewhat of an unknown quantity to many Australian investors”.

Recent changes by the ASX to tighten its listing rules however means many riskier, lower revenue tech companies have been removed from the IPO pipeline, the company said, as well as improve the quality of tech listings.

“Recent measures taken by the ASX to restrict risky early-stage companies from reaching IPO stage should act to restore some faith in this potentially positive sector, and make way for stronger tech companies with greater revenues than we’ve been seeing in recent years,” Mr Alexander said.

“It’s our belief that there are still returns to be made in the listed technology sector, as long as investors seek out companies that demonstrate strong growth, recurring revenue, scalability and a strong Asian or global growth story.”

This Blog was first published as an article by InvestorDaily in March 2017.


By philip alexander 02 Mar, 2017
Jacanda Capital sees about 200 business pitches each year. We work with about 10 of them. Here are our observations...
By philip alexander 07 Feb, 2017
Australia's WiseTech Global jumped on its debut on the Australian Securities Exchange, sending its market value cracking past the 1 billion Australian dollar ($750 million) mark. WiseTech, which provides technology to logistics companies raised approximately A$168 million, with over 50 million shares offered and suggesting an initial market value of around A$974 million. The solid debut came despite investors turning cautious about new floats. Philip Alexander noted that investors "have either been stung or they have seen other retail investors get stung." He told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that WiseTech is a clear standout because it's profitable, global and very large.
By philip alexander 07 Feb, 2017
In July 2016, Australian online retailer Kogan listed via an IPO on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). The IPO offer document put a $140 million enterprise value on the retailer, which would represent 20-times forecast earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the 2017 financial year of $7 million.

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