Direct Investments

CEO Forum: IPO and Growth

Mercia’s CEO Forum event on the topic of IPO and growth was held at its Manchester office and was hosted by Dr Alistair Forbes, Investment Director and Head of Mercia’s Software and the Internet sector.

Speakers shared their extensive experience with a group of CEOs from Mercia’s investment portfolio in a lively and interactive session.

Mark Fahy, head of new business of Rickitt Mitchell and the former head of UK Primary markets for small and medium cap companies at the London Stock Exchange, gave a detailed insight into the characteristics of the AIM market, showing the trends in the market over time, the distribution of companies and industries represented in the market and the nature of the investors that are active with AIM-listed businesses. He also discussed the approach to follow-on funding in the years following the initial listing and ELITE, the LSE’s international business support and capital raising programme for ambitious and fast-growing companies.

Richard Moulson, chief financial officer of Evgen Pharma plc, described some of the challenges that can be experienced by small companies that have listed on AIM, stressing the importance of attracting a good representation of institutional investors on the share register and discussing the ‘nanocap trap’ in which smaller companies can find themselves. He also discussed his contrasting experience as CFO of a larger AIM-listed company and key learning points from the Evgen experience.

Anna Heyes, founder and managing director of Active Profile, shared growth marketing strategies and tactics that companies can use to generate business growth. She emphasised the importance of integrated campaigns to achieve both visibility and lead generation objectives, and the need for good metrics to track and optimise the effectiveness of growth marketing activities.

The discussions amongst the participants followed up on several themes that emerged from the presentations and provided a valuable opportunity for the CEOs of our portfolio companies to share experience, and to network with peers and the Mercia team.

You can view the presentations from the event here.