Clean-Tech Startup Investor Communications
A best-in-class investor relations program for a privately held company raised its reputation among existing and prospective shareholders and contributed to the success of several subsequent funding rounds.
Time spent with investors meant time spent away from running the business.
The Founder/CEO of this Cambridge, Mass.-based clean-tech startup knew he needed help with investor relations. He had finished raising the A round and was now spending an inordinate amount of time answering investor inquiries. He believed that spending time running the business was a higher priority and yet he knew that having strong and mutually respectful relationships with investors was also critical. He also wasn’t sure he was doing the best possible job in terms of what and how he was communicating with investors.
Sharon Merrill Approach
Development of IR Infrastructure and Outreach
The team at Sharon Merrill took the time to get to know the business, its people and its technology. The team developed clear messaging, created new investor materials, and implemented a consistent cadence in investor communications. The efforts included:
- A new executive summary and corporate presentation with a compelling investment thesis as its foundation, which clearly communicated the problem the company was working to solve, the solution it was developing, its business model strength and market strategy.
- Messaging incorporated into brand materials and an updated website to provide a perception of a company with leading-edge technology and staying power.
- A Quarterly Report that communicated key items of interest to investors proved to be invaluable. As investors came to know their areas of interest would be addressed every three months, the need to reach out to the CEO was vastly reduced. The addition of photos and links to recent news made this communication more personal. Investors, in turn, became engaged company advocates.
- Establishment of an IRO (the Sharon Merrill account leader) as a point of contact for ongoing investor questions or needs provided rapid responses to investors and greatly increased the time the CEO was able to spend running the business.
- A predictable cadence of Web Meetings provided investors the ability to regularly ask questions directly of the CEO, and as important, hear his passion for the company’s mission.
- Coaching and real-time feedback between Sharon Merrill and the CEO became a means of continuous improvement for the CEO’s interactions with investors, his Board and the media.
- During funding rounds, the Sharon Merrill IRO was an integral partner with the CEO and the communications team. The process included weekly meetings to review the funding pipeline, identify prospects and update due diligence materials. As the acting IRO for the client, the Sharon Merrill leader was also integral to the roadshows/investor meetings as this provided the opportunity for on-point message refinement and real-time CEO coaching.
Loyal investors, successful financings and increased time for CEO to run the business.
As a result of the new investor relations program, the company communicated more effectively, management’s reputation was enhanced, and the company’s cost of capital was reduced through improved recognition of its prospects from investors.
- The CEO achieved a high level of respect from investors, and the time required of him for investor communication was vastly reduced. His time spent on IR went from approximately five hours per week to approximately five hours per quarter during non-fundraising periods, and investors consistently provided excellent feedback on the company’s communications.
- Subsequent funding rounds (seven following the A round) were extremely successful. They closed faster and were filled predominantly with existing investors who maintained a strong level of enthusiasm for the company’s story.
- Investors remained confident in the company’s prospects despite several major R&D and commercialization setbacks. With a strong investor relations partner, the company was able to communicate in a professional yet personal style with candor and a consistent cadence. This resulted in comfort to the investor base and a reliable source of funding and support for the company.
Learn more about how private company IR plans can bring consistent communications cadence and content to investors. Call us at 617-542-5300 or email us at info@InvestorRelations.com.