In this episode, we discuss the IPO of Exclusive Networks, a global distributor of cybersecurity solutions, with Jesper Trolle, its CEO since September 2020. Jesper was hired to join Exclusive in the middle of covid-19, and led the company to its successful IPO on Euronext Paris a year after joining.
Exclusive Networks was owned by Permira’s private equity fund before the IPO, and we discuss the process of listing a tech company backed by a PE sponsor, the choice of listing location, the impact of being listed on your relationships with your teams, and the interaction with public market investors.
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Per: In this episode, we will talk with Jesper Trolle, the CEO of Exclusive Networks, a global distributor of cybersecurity solutions. Jesper joined Exclusive in September 2020 and successfully led the company to its IPO on Euronext Paris one year later. Jesper and Gautier will discuss the process leading from being a private equity-owned company to becoming a public one, the benefits of being listed, and the changes it entails for the management and employees. Before we start, we would like to remind our listeners that our discussion is not an investment recommendation and that Amundsen Investment management and the participants on this podcast may have holdings in the companies being discussed.
Gautier: Jesper, thank you very much for joining us today. Very happy to have you here. You are the CEO of Exclusive Network, the company IPOed in September ’21, close to 18 months ago with a valuation of €1.8 billion at the time, it was a 20% free float, so the company raised some money and your pre-IPO investors also sold a bit of shares. Very happy to have you here. Maybe we should start, Jesper, by introducing yourself and telling us a bit more about Exclusive Networks.
Jesper Trolle: Thank you, Gautier. I appreciate you having me on your show today. As you say my name is Jesper Trolle. I’m 50 years old, married. I have two children, two teenagers, a girl and a boy. 17 and 15 years old. I’m born and raised in Denmark by a Swedish mother and a Danish father. I guess I’m almost as Nordic as you can be. I’ve spent about 30 years in the technology ecosystem. Half of my career I’ve been working internationally in Germany, in France, and in the US. Through those jobs, I’ve seen most parts of the world.
If we look at Exclusive, just to maybe present a little bit to your listeners who we are and what we do, Exclusive Networks was founded in 2003 by a French man called Olivier Breittmayer. It was based on a business idea of helping cybersecurity startups to grow and scale their operations internationally. If you fast forward from that time till today, so, 20 years, this year is a milestone for us because we are turning 20 years old. Today we are a global company. We operate with offices across 46 countries around the world. We are selling into 170 countries around the world, and we employ more than 2,500 employees.
Last year we were guiding for gross sales in the magnitude of €42 billion. This growth has come through strong exposure into the underlying cybersecurity market by having deep, meaningful relationships with some of the world’s leading cybersecurity companies, but also coupled with a strong focus on what we call value-generating M&A. We’ve done more than 19 acquisitions over the last 10 years, and so that’s a big part of our strategy as well. I like to say we are sitting at the intersection of really two ecosystems. On one hand, we are aggregating the solution and services from the most leading cybersecurity vendors in the world – we call this the supply side of the ecosystem.
Then on the other side, we have the broadest and most specialized routes to market, which consists of more than 25,000 partners around the world through which we are aggregating demand coming from more than 150,000 end-customers. These are companies of all sizes, public, private companies, public sector, private sector, et cetera. We sit in the middle of this, which is called the two-tier value chain, and we act as a service provider with a broad range of service offerings. Some of those are more traditional procurement services, financing, logistics, to more advanced services such as demand creation, solution design, Level 1, Level 2 support, technical enablement.
Also, more and more global deployment projects where we are assisting companies around the world to implement that cybersecurity infrastructure. That’s a little bit about Exclusive and about myself.
Gautier: Thank you very much. Can we maybe start with the IPO rationale? What were the motivations, initially, of the listing, back in September ’21?
Jesper: Yes, sure. We had a couple of objectives with the IPO. I would say, first off, this is a company that had gone through meaningfully larger and larger LBOs. One of the first rationales with the IPO was to delever the company to increase our strategic optionality. I would say at the time we didn’t necessarily know that, but in hindsight with the current environment, finding ourselves in, in terms of interest rates, this was actually a pretty good aim at the time. Secondly, we wanted to become more known as a company and for the value we are generating and creating within the cybersecurity market.
We always been quite well known within our own small market that we serve, but outside had very few stakeholders and very few people who actually know what we are doing and the value we are creating. After the IPO, we obviously have been able to participate in tech capital markets events. We’ve done more and more increasingly number of interviews with leading media outlets like Reuters, Bloomberg, Sky News, BFM, and now we’re also on your show. I like to say if we hadn’t gone through this, I think we would not have been as interesting a company to talk to.
Thirdly, we also wanted to create a liquid instrument that we could use for things like M&A. As I mentioned before in the introduction, M&A, it’s not our strategy, but it’s a big part of the way we implement the strategy. Having now a liquid instrument, which is a stock that we can use in M&A, but also that we can use to attract and retain talent is critical, particularly at the time we are in where there is scarcity of talent, and particularly within cybersecurity, there is real scarcity of talent with more than 3.5 million open roles across the world. These were the three objectives, so, deleverage, creating a liquid instrument, and then also, frankly, branch out into a larger part of the market and reach more stakeholders to understand what Exclusive is doing.
Gautier: Yourself, you joined the company not long before the IPO, and actually, we discussed about that. You actually been hired on Zoom right in the middle of a pandemic. At the time, you knew or your mandate was to list the company, and in knowing again that you didn’t have previous experience in terms of listing a company?
Jesper: Yes. It’s true I was hired as another COVID employee right during Zoom and Teams and what have you. When I joined the company or when I was interviewing the company, the IPO was not a decision or decided. I always knew that, of course, when you are owned by a private equity sponsor, I like to say if they own you more than seven years, something is wrong. At a point in time, they want to exit. Of course, there are multiple opportunities for an exit. It doesn’t need to be an IPO, but obviously, this could be one of the routes. I didn’t join for that because, again, it was not something that was decided or was a goalpost in the future, but I knew that it could be one of the events.
Gautier: You didn’t feel that not having this previous public experience would have been basically hard on you to actually bring the company to the public market, right? You feel that you were equipped enough to list the company despite your previous IPO experience?
Jesper: I don’t know if you ever can feel you are equipped enough. The reality is that I left a big job in my old company, and I joined a company that was, in a way, smaller, but at a different position as the CEO. For me, that was part of the attraction. Yes, I haven’t done an IPO before. I think most CEOs have actually not tried it, and so for me, I decided to learn as much as I could from it. I didn’t pretend to know it all. Of course, I was still actually also fairly new in the business, so I had to manage that as well, but yes, I decided to surround ourself with the right people and advisors and learn from it, and do the best we could.
We also have a private equity sponsor that has done a couple of IPOs with some of their portfolio company. That helps as well to provide a bit of guidance and support. I feel fortunate that I’ve been given the opportunity to do it, and I learned a lot from it, quite frankly.
Gautier: Touching upon what has to be done to get the company ready for listing, when you came at Exclusive Network and that it became clear that the IPO would be a likely option for your shareholders, what were the biggest, not challenges, but I will say workstreams or changes to implement at the company level to get to this point of being ready to be public?
Jesper: Good question. I would say a couple of things. First, just for me, as I just alluded to, and for a couple of other of the senior leadership team that was new, was just getting up to speed on the process and on the business, et cetera, was critical. If you don’t really understand well what the company is doing, it’s difficult to explain it to other people, so that was one piece. I think the biggest and most daunting task was to prepare the financials to be ready for an IPO. There are a lot of workstreams in an IPO, but the financial one where, as a private company, you take longer to close your books, you take longer to get audited, you have management accounts. We didn’t necessarily have IFRS and the way we looked at our numbers.
To be able to be IPO ready, so to speak, you need all of that, but you need it for past history as well to be able to see trends and directions. Having gone through many, many LBOs, the company didn’t necessarily has its accounts ready to do that. There were a lot of work being done to close to half years, getting the financials audited and also converting from French camp into IFRS. That took a lot of time, a lot of work. You need to make sure with, in this case, the AMF, that your numbers and the structures are in line with what they require in terms of quality. There’s a lot of work and redo and more work and that was quite stressful, quite frankly, for the company.
Gautier: Yes. I don’t know if it’s you actually, but I heard one CEO telling me that a successful IPO is actually when you don’t lose any employees on the way because, obviously, it takes a lot of time and resources, right, on the teams?
Jesper: It’s true. It takes a lot, but it’s also a rallying project in a way. It’s something that’s easy to gather people around. Yes, it’s a lot of hard work for sure, but you can actually rally people behind, and in most cases, and also in our case, we had to bring in a lot more people to be able to sustain the workload.
Gautier: If you reflect a bit on that period ahead of the IPO of preparation, any steps, any items, workstream you would have done differently, or done a different way?
Jesper: I don’t know if I would have done anything differently. Yes, I would have loved to have more time, but that’s not necessarily always the cards you’ve been dealt because, obviously, the market is also an important aspect when you think about the timing of an IPO. I would say the longer you have to prepare an IPO– I’m meeting companies now that are planning to do an IPO in two, three years, and I’m thinking, “Wow, how lucky they are for that.” We took six months, but on the other hand, we were actually fortunate because a lot of this work still happened in COVID period.
We didn’t really think about it at the time, but in hindsight, it made the process a lot more efficient because you don’t need to move around to the same extent, particularly at the end of the IPO, to go to road shows and investors, analyst meetings, etc. From that perspective, I think we were actually fortunate. Knowing what I know now, the two things that I think are important is, first, it is to surround yourself with people who have done the process before and that have the experience with the public markets. Sometimes you are not that fortunate by the way.
At the time, I felt like we had a good team, they were very dynamic, they worked hard. They had their hearts and minds in the right place, but I had to admit that I realized that, at some point, that not all of them would get us to where we needed to be, so I had to make the necessary changes on that. The second point I would say is there are a lot of workstreams in an IPO process, but, actually, when you start thinking about it, and you break it down, there are a lot of interdependencies between the workstreams. Some are dependent on others and some are not.
Having people around you that can help you to see the bigger picture in a way and not just, “Hey, today you need to work on the equity storage, tomorrow you need to work on the IFRS translation. On Thursday, you need to work on the bot build or whatever it might be.” Having someone who can help you to step back and look at the process as 1 rather than 50 different sub-processes is very useful because I think you can run a risk of jumping on things that are urgent but not important. Therefore you don’t get it done in time, and then you go off track on some of the other workstreams that may be a little bit further out. I think we’re going to talk about advisors, but this is definitely something I would recommend.
Gautier: Yes, we’ll get back obviously to the role and the selection of advisors, which I agree, and we heard the same. It’s very important to get the right team around you. Before moving to this question, just keen to get your views on the choice of listing location. Obviously, as a cybersecurity company, a lot of your clients and vendors are actually US, right? Your clients will be globally in Europe, but a lot of the vendors will be very ambiguous. Being a tech company, was the US an option for you in term of IPO location? Was it a debate with your shareholders before the IPO, and what were you thinking around that?
Jesper: For sure, the US. Any location was an option, but it was never really a debate on whether we should list– You’re right that a lot of tech companies are listed in the US. If you look at the flip side of that, you could argue there is scarcity of tech companies listed in Europe. Secondly, as a company, we have always consolidated everything in euros. If we were to list in the US, we would. The US is a fairly small business in the grand scheme of things, even though it’s growing well. For us to list in the US, we would have to redo a lot of our things to now suddenly consolidate our currencies back into US dollars.
It was never really a big debate on whether it should be Europe versus US. When it comes to Europe it’s all Euronext today I guess more or less, except Nasdaq in the Nordics at least. There was not a lot of debate either. We looked a bit at France or Paris, we looked at Amsterdam, Brussels. Actually, if you think about it once we have decided on Europe, given the French roots of Exclusive Networks, French founder, first country of operation, location of the headquarter, for us it was quite natural to list in Paris at Euronext.
There were not a lot of differences whether we were to list in another Euronext location in terms of what we had to comply with. It’s not like it would’ve been easier to do it in another market versus Paris. For us, we decided to go with Paris, and we’re happy with that choice.
Gautier: Some technical arguments put forward for US listing will be better liquidity. Another one will be especially within the broad tech universe, the better sophistication of US investors when it comes to tech and maybe especially cybersecurity. Now, you’ve been road-showing for around two years before the IPO and after the IPO. You’ve met a lot of those global investors; US, European. Do you actually see difference in sophistication or how a European versus a US investor will look at your company, your market, and the opportunity set?
Jesper: I don’t know if I see different sophistication. I think US investors tend to be very well grounded in the US. Now, as you can imagine most of the people we meet from US investors are the people that are designated to invest outside of the US.
Gautier: With a global mandate, right?
Jesper: With a global mandate exactly. Of course, you have some massive names in the US when it comes to investment. They have an army of troops that they can bring in to analyze your company, and your fundamentals, et cetera. You could say there is a higher degree of knowledge and skill sets there. In general, I don’t feel a significant difference actually. I would love to have more US investors by the way. We have a good number, but we are still skewed more towards European investors right now.
Gautier: The challenge obviously in the US is to be visible. There are so many tech companies you’re going to compete against, right, to attract capital?
Jesper: That’s my point on scarcity. Yes, it’s a more maybe advanced scene, there are better understanding, etc. At the same time, there is a lot to choose from. You’re right that, in our case, a lot of our vendors or our upstream ecosystem of supply and solutions are to a large part listed in the US. Downstream on our partners, we have several that are listed in Europe. We also have a couple that are listed in the US but majority are listed in Europe. We’re in between the two if you want, and yes, it’s been working well so far.
Gautier: Moving on to the role of advisors. You touch upon that it’s very important to hire the right people and people with experience of those IPOs. Can you tell us, not necessarily which advisors actually, but what type of advisors you hired, and what were the functions they played, and the most important critical one that you valued during the IPO process?
Jesper: First off I would say that one of the first things you learn when you embark on an IPO project is that the world is full of advisors. I think there is almost an advisor for every possible question that you could face during the IPO process. In our case, of course, the first starting point with advisors is really to choose your global coordinators and your book runners. You bring in a lot of bankers to pitch you your company and the opportunity. Here we put emphasis on choosing the companies that we felt we would work the best with, where we had some chemistry with the individuals.
We put a lot of emphasis on the fact that the people that were pitching us were also the people we were going to work with, and so, a sort of chemistry between individuals. Then also an overall understanding of Exclusive Networks, our positioning, our business, and potential for the future. We did not put a lot of emphasis, out of the gate, on valuations because as we all know there are a lot of factors influencing the final valuation of an IPO. Of course, you can imagine that there were huge spread, but actually, whether you were at the top or the bottom or in the middle didn’t really pay a lot of attention to when we went to decide on who to work with.
Outside of the bankers and in terms of other advisors, we had advisors around project management. We had some who was, it’s no secret, Lazard, who was working with us on doing the overarching project management, I would say, of the entire project and its stakeholders. Then we had quite a few financial advisors that we brought in to help us on some of the financial workstream, in particular, as we discussed before around IFRS conversion, et cetera. We had presentation coaches for the leadership team to learn how to present the company and be more natural doing that. I spend my life in sale and marketing so I can talk about anything, but it’s not always for all people, something that’s supernatural.
Having someone in who can guide you a bit on the dos and don’ts and maybe think about saying it like this versus another way is actually important when you sit in front of an investor that has maybe, in the matter of an hour, to decide whether they want to invest or not. We also had advisors around communication. We worked with a couple of advisors around communication, making sure that we increased our reach, and that we were gearing up for the IPO and the right media outlets, whether that was written communication or whether that was more interview style, that we had legal advisors as you would imagine, to ensure that we comply with all of the different legalities of an IPO, making sure that we satisfy the right disclosures, et cetera.
Then finally we had recruitment companies we are working with as part of the board build and these types of barriers. I’m sure, by the way, there are probably 10 other advisors I’ve forgotten about, but I would say in the grand scheme of things, this was a big group of advisor. For this latter group in terms of choosing them, obviously, some were recommended by the bankers or by our private equity, or some we knew from the past in some shape or form. What I put a lot of emphasis on were, did they come with prior experience and work with other companies that’s been in a similar situation as where Exclusive were.
Because we were frankly seeking that experience to help us anticipate looking a bit around the corners to see what’s coming, what do we need to be aware of, and try and position ourselves to be the best prepared for the things to come? Then finally, obviously, as I said, we had some pre-existing relationships, which also were part of our decision tree.
Gautier: You said it’s, you have as many advisors as you have questions and topics. Is there anything where maybe you will have liked to receive a different piece of advice or better piece of advice looking, again, back to the IPO process? Anything you would have liked to known at the time?
Jesper: I think the reality is when you go into something like this, and as you said in the beginning, most CEOs have never tried it before, and so you go into something like this and you don’t know what to expect. What I would have liked to know at the time is that when you bring in an advisor on a topic, that’s what they care about. They don’t necessarily care about the other topics that are related to their workstream. Advisors that can step back and give a little bit more of this 360 view, that you are not just into help on preparing the presentation or the communication.
Also, you understand some of the other workstreams because you’ve done it before and you see the interdependencies, is critical. Ask of these advisors, it would be not only advising on their own particular field, but also at the same time try to make you understand how these things actually are dependent. One of the things we did, which actually was a recommendation from our private equity sponsor, was to bring in a quite small company, but as an advisor to the management team on project management. Not like a Lazard that has all of the external engagement with all of the different constituents in an IPO project, but a small company that worked alongside the management team.
We had twice-a-week updates on, here’s the overall timeline. Here are the key points, this one moved two days. It means this one down here is going to move another two days, so we need to catch up on this one because then we can get back and still go at the listing time, which we were all shooting for. In hindsight, I would say that investment, which was not compared to a lot of other advisors was not necessarily very significant, has paid big dividends because, for me, particularly and for the leadership team, it was a way for me to make sure that someone who understands this world, who understand the inter dynamics, every morning wakes up and check that everything is at the same place and that we haven’t fallen off for too much of the overall timeline.
Gautier: That’s very good to hear actually, because that’s always something we think about as well when we meet companies in an IPO process. We always feel the management is obviously under pressure. They have a lot of different fronts where they have to engage. Obviously, they have to keep the business going, talking to customers, but now talking to investors, advisors, and we feel sometime that, obviously, given they lack the experience by definition of listing a business, that they’re at risk of being put in a corner here, and all on the shoulders and really feel that having specific team of advisors working with them through the process, is probably the right thing to do.
It’s good to hear that actually your private equity sponsors put forward that idea, because, back to your comment that every advisors might think about their own little perimeter. The reality is some of those private equity owners have the experience of IPOs because they’ve done a few of them with their portfolio companies. I believe they’re in the right position to actually give the best advice to the managements going through an IPO process about how to execute that IPO process at best. You sponsors played a key role here?
Jesper: Yes, they did, indirectly. Of course, they have their own interests, but indirectly they played a key role by suggesting that. Then, obviously, for us tapping into that experience that they’ve had from other quite successful listings is a big help to a leadership team that’s trying to IPO a company. There’s no doubt about it.
Gautier: Is the relationship before and after the IPO changing with your sponsors and to what extent if that happens, or the relationship is the same?
Jesper: Not really. The relationship is the same, I have to say that. I didn’t say that in the introduction, but part of the reason for me joining was to get closer to this world of private equity. I didn’t necessarily know the company that was a sponsor before, but we engage quite a lot with them. We have a very open, a very transparent relationship. They’re obviously in our board, and we keep having a very strong relationship. They have a big tech focus, which is very helpful for me when we think about the value we can deliver and where we should be going, and so we are fortunate that we have a great relationship with them. Also, as I said before, that due to their successful past history with IPOs, they would give us great inputs and guidance on certain topics.
Gautier: As a CEO, when you talk to public investors, do you feel that there are different appreciation in term of– The fact that you not founder lead anymore, you’re not necessarily management led in term of ownership, but you’re more private equity led, do you think that that creates a different perception of your company equity story vis-à-vis, the public investors who might have a preference for non private equity assets or that’s not at all the case?
Jesper: I don’t so far. It’s still early on. We are only a year and a half in from the listing, so we’ve been very open since Day 1 basically, that, who were the selling shareholders, what would be their position after the IPO? I think what the market, and that’s your remit, you know this better than anyone I guess, what the market don’t like is surprises. When you are open on something and you say, “This is how it is,” and it is like that, then I think the market reacts or investors reacts differently than when you maybe don’t say it.
Then suddenly it comes out, or you say something and the world shows up . We’ve been very open on the fact that we floated 20% of the company. It would come from a mix of the private equity sponsor, the founder, and the former CEO, and a little bit from the selling employees. That’s how it went down, and it hasn’t been a surprise. Now it’s changing a little bit. Now you can imagine some investors are asking when will they sell again. As I always like to say, frankly, it’s not my decision. I’m not the shareholder here. I’m my own shareholder, and I’m not going to sell, but I can’t talk for them. It’s up to their decision on when and at which price they want to do it. I don’t really want to be in that discussion, to be honest.
Gautier: Yes, makes sense. I’d like to move on to the topic of life as a public company after the IPO is done, great success. Now you have a share price, which trades up and down every day. I try to remember, but obviously, I think already in ’21, you did beat your IPO guidance for the full year ’21. Then last year you actually raised, through the year, your ’22 gross guidance, so you’ve done really well.
Jesper: Thank you.
Gautier: None of the less, shares have been volatile. They’re still a bit below the IPO price, but so do the market, and actually you did relatively well compared to all IPOs last year, really well. How did you leave with this volatility? You serve as a management, but also touching upon the employees, how they perceiving this volatility, and is it really difficult and challenging to manage now your public and every day you can look at your share price.
Jesper: I have a saying, which I like to use internally, which is, we should focus [what we control as a company], and that’s how we execute the implementation of the strategy. If we do this well, and we have a bit of luck, as the saying goes, the more you train, the more luck you get, then I believe the stock market will take notice, and frankly, the price and everything will take care of itself. What you also know is, and this is what I’m trying to educate our people internally, is, you are never alone. You are in a market where you’re just one of the companies out there in a stock market.
What I mean with, you’re not alone, is we are in a situation where, let’s say from post-COVID till today, the valuations multiples of tech companies, in particularly, have slid quite substantially. That goes with all tech companies, us included, by the way. That’s an impact, so when I say we are never alone, it’s not like the valuation of Exclusive has gone completely down. It’s the sector as a whole. That’s one example of never being alone. If the whole market is down because of, these days, it’s so volatile. Whether there is good or bad news coming out of the ECB, or the Fed or Davos, or whatever it might be, the whole market is moving.
It’s very rare that one stock moves in a sector. Sometimes it happens, but in general, I would say it’s more sector-specific than company-specific unless there is something really going on with an individual company, good or bad. I like this idea to illustrate that you are never alone because, actually, it’s not necessarily because we are doing a bad job that the price is down, or it’s not because necessarily we are doing a great job that the price is up. It’s really market dependent. I think one of the things that’s really changing, and to be honest with you, this was an area I did not have a lot of expertise with because I came from a public traded company, not as a CEO, but still a public traded, was that you have a lot of employees that, at the time, had some shares from management packages, that, in a way, were a non-liquid asset.
Every time there is an event, you can maybe sell a little bit, but mostly you roll it into something else. The IPO created a liquidity event for them where now they could start to think about potentially selling a little bit of their holdings or all if they wanted, by the way, and maybe defer their investments into other areas to drive a little bit of mixed portfolio rather than having everything tied up in Exclusive. Of course, when you are private, you can talk about the value of the company in a whole other way versus being public where, to your point, every day you can see what is today the value of the company according to investors who either want to buy or sell.
That’s something that you’ve got to manage. The way we are trying to get around it is I like to think about stakeholders and different stakeholders. I try and treat the internal employees as a different group of stakeholders. Of course, I can’t disclose information to them that I don’t disclose to the market, but as I’ve just done now, I can give them a bit of perspective of, actually, we are doing well, and it’s not because we are not doing well that the company right now is trading below its IPO price. There are some other dynamics that are more market-driven, that are more sector-driven.
Then there are some dynamics, in our case, that are company driven, which is, there’s never a meeting without talking about lack of liquidity, so let’s just get it out there. We have a lack of liquidity, it’s getting better, and it’s moved quite a bit after the expiry of the lock-up of the former employee shareholders or the employee shareholders, but considering the market cap of the company, considering the size, we should have more liquidity. That is definitely having an impact on the price. It has nothing to do with the value of the company in a way, and what we do, and the value we generate, but it has an impact on the price.
Gautier: Do you feel public investors are quite impatient and a bit too short-term and put pressure on you as a management to communicate more than what you want or push you on saying things you don’t want or not at all actually?
Jesper: So far, frankly, we’ve been fortunate. We have been doing what we said we would do, and we’ve done it a little bit better. In general, most investors are quite happy and we can see that there is more and more appetite. I don’t feel a lot of push. Of course, investors want to ideally try and find something that no one else have seen, and so they can make a good return on a potential investment. It’s a tough job. They sit in front of me, my CFO, or maybe a couple of other people, and they are trying to basically learn a company very quickly, and in my case, learn a company with a management and a CO that’s is new to the company as well.
No, I don’t feel pressure. Of course, they would always like to know more, and they’re trying, but of course, investors are a group of stakeholders, and a lot of them thinks the same way, and so they ask the same questions. This is a bit of an anecdote for yourselves. Sometimes you have investors that ask different questions that no one else have asked before. I give you an example because you and I had a meeting a long time ago before the early look, and you actually raised a question which no one else had raised at the time, which was, how do I think the culture of Exclusive is going to change when we go from a private to a public company?
I thought that was quite interesting because it has changed a bit. It has attracted different kind of people, and some people have left because they don’t like the stress, the focus, some of the tension. There is more tension because you say, “I’m going to do X, and you need to ideally deliver on that, and otherwise be able to explain Y.” There is some tension, but it attracts other people who likes to come in and be part of a public company and can see some opportunities to maybe make some money. In general, investors asked a lot of the same questions, but sometimes, like in your case, you get questions that actually no one else is really asking.
Gautier: That’s good to hear. Jesper, I think I had just two final question for you to close up, is just trying to get some fun facts from the IPO roadshow. If there’s anything you can share during that process, which our listeners who be keen to listen to.
Jesper: I have a few, but I don’t know if it’s a fun fact or if it’s a scary fact. I’ll let you decide. I have my assistant tally up the number of meetings and hours I spend on the IPO, so not from IT. I’ve done 185 meetings with bankers and advisors, which is a total of 202 hours. 46 early look presentations, 21 company analyst deep dives, 40 roadshow meetings.
You think about all of this, and you think about this is then at the same time where we had to manage the day-to-day business and seeing customers, vendors, or taking care of employees, et cetera.
I think it’s numbers. For someone like me who have a pretty full calendar every day, I put these numbers in perspective. I would say it’s a project that requires a lot of resource. Quite frankly, a lot of luck as well, and a lot of hard work. A company needs to be ready for that because, otherwise, I think it can go wrong.
Gautier: Those are impressive numbers actually if you add that up. How many investors eventually participate in the IPO, the institutional book, if you remember?
Jesper: I don’t have the number. I think we are close to 100 actually. I only really see the bigger tickets, but it’s not bad actually. It’s not bad. One of the things I learned, which was super frustrating to me, I never really realized is that, except for bigger chunks of ownership, you don’t really know who own your stock. It’s very strange in a way. You can ask, and now I ask when I meet investors, but you don’t really know who owns your stock outside of the big– I think the threshold we put is 1% or 2%, but it’s very strange.
Gautier: We have the same questions as well with shareholders and sometime management is surprised when actually shareholders, they don’t necessarily see us, but that the nature of the public markets. Another just last question. How many times per day you looking at your share price?
Jesper: Now with the new iOS, you can put it on your home screen, so I can look at it every day. I check it when the market opens, I check it when the market close. I get each Euronext emails after market is closed. Frankly, in the first week, I probably looked at it six hours a day. Again, I like it when it goes up, but it doesn’t change my behavior or mood when it goes the other way. Because, again, coming back to you’re never alone in the market. If everything goes up and we go down, I might interpret it differently, but if we are moving with the market, then I’m okay.
Gautier: Yes, obviously. Don’t look at it too much I think. Just spend time with your customers and your employees, and I think the share price will follow.
Jesper: I agree.
Gautier: Listen, Jesper, thank you very much for your time. Highly appreciate. It was very instructive.
Jesper: Thank you.