Organised as the last event of its kind in 2015 to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), on the 2nd December we were delighted to host the first AIM20 SUMMIT in Scotland, in partnership with TalentSpark (powered by Eden Scott) and The London Stock Exchange Group. Not only was it a chance to enjoy the beautifully festive surroundings of the Balmoral Hotel, it gave 45 of Scotland’s Technology, Life Sciences and Food & Drink companies the chance to learn more about a potential listing on AIM to decide if this was something they should be aiming for (sorry couldn’t resist!) or not.
For many in the room who may have felt a little out of their depth it soon became apparent that the road to listing actually starts now, long before the dizzying metrics most perhaps assumed you need to hit before it even becomes an option.
So why does it start now?
Well, it’s all in the preparation. Listing is a complex process and will really test your organizational skills when you’re juggling the myriad of paperwork whilst still trying to do the day job. If you get your ducks in a row now and embed good processes in the organization when it comes to the time of creating the doorstop of a diligence pack, you’ll be laughing. Ok, probably not laughing but you get the point.
Perhaps more importantly than the paperwork though is the ambition and desire you must possess to want to take this path. If you’re targeting peak revenues of a a few million for example, listing will probably not be for you. If you’re going for £10million or more then step right up.
So you have the ambition, and hopefully the management team to realize this goal, but imperative to listing is having the right advisors who understand and, importantly, share your desire for this route. If you don’t have this yet then now may be the time to make some changes.
The focus of the first session at the Summit was the support directly available through London Stock Exchange. For companies wanting to pursue listing, LSE offer the ELITE programme, an 18 month listing accelerator if you like. There was no hard sell from LSE and instead we were treated to the experiences and insights from Taragenyx and Money Dashboard, two Scottish based companies and participants of ELITE. While the programme isn’t free, even at £15k, the CEO and CFO from these two companies felt it was money well spent.
During the programme Taragenyx gained access to tier 1 investors that just wouldn’t have been possible without the validation and introduction that ELITE offered. If you think how much money you can burn on trips back and forth to London just meeting with investors, the numbers start to stack up. Likewise, Money Dashboard were able to secure two corporate customers that were not accessible prior to the programme so for them it was definitely money well spent.
In addition to these experiences, a core strength of the programme is sharing the journey with a cohort of entrepreneurs from different sectors and learning from their experiences.
There were so many great insights throughout the day on what it takes to become a listed company so to make things a little bit simpler we’ve compiled the top things to consider when listing in this handy slide share.
And what happens once you’ve listed? Well, you face more scrutiny, you may become obsessive over share prices, but ultimately the rewards are massive and well worth it.
We look forward to following the journey of more Scottish companies as they embark on this path.