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Jun 08, 2018

15 questions with Atlassian

Based in San Francisco, Ian Lee is vice president of investor relations at Nasdaq-listed Australian tech firm Atlassian

1. How long have you been in IR?

It’s coming up on 10 years now.

2. What did you do before IR?

I spent a few years in financial communications in Asia after college. I’d always had an interest in finance, so I moved to the US to get an MBA. Once I graduated, I moved to New York and spent several years in investment banking. After the financial crisis, in 2009, I transitioned into the world of IR.

3. What are your qualifications?

A bachelor’s degree in communications from a university in New Zealand, and an MBA in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

4. How is your team set up?

When Atlassian went public at the end of 2015, I was running IR on my own. As the firm has grown and the level of investor interest in our company has increased, I felt it made sense to add another person to our team. Over the past year, one of the stars in our accounting team joined me in IR, so we have a two-person team now.

5. How many roadshows and investor conferences do you take part in each year?

We average two to three conferences per quarter and a handful of roadshows a year.

6. Do you hold investor days?

Yes, we held our first investor day last year, about a year and a half after our IPO.

We held it alongside Atlassian’s largest user conference in the US, so it provided a good opportunity for investors to attend our investor day and – at the same time – meet with customers and learn about our products at the user conference.

7. Do you use social media as part of your IR program?

We don’t focus our IR efforts around social media, but our PR and customer marketing teams have active social media campaigns.

8. Do you receive support from any external IR firms?

I have a small level of support from an external IR company, mostly to share and discuss ideas.

9. What is the most popular question from analysts and investors right now?

How pricing plays into our long-term growth strategy, as we have a high-value, low-price model that is fairly unique in the enterprise software space.

10. What are the particularities of doing IR based in California for an Australian company listed on Nasdaq?  

Other than working with a higher-than-average number of people with Australian accents, there aren’t too many peculiarities. We’re a truly global company with offices around the world. Our two co-founders and co-CEOs still live in Sydney but are in the US frequently, and the rest of our executive team is based in the Bay Area.

11. What’s been the biggest challenge of your IR career?

Helping prepare for – and then execute – our IPO was an immense amount of work but ultimately very rewarding. As anyone who’s ever worked on a listing can tell you, there are so many moving parts with an IPO, and you are beholden to the health of the capital markets.

12. What’s your favorite thing about doing investor relations?

Getting to spar over ideas and concepts with super-smart and thoughtful people, both in the investment community and within our management team.

13. And your least favorite?

The constant travel.

14. What do you enjoy doing outside work?

Spending time with my two beautiful young daughters. I’m a proud Kiwi so I follow the All Blacks and the New Zealand cricket team closely. I’m also an avid fan of the Golden State Warriors in the NBA.

15. If you could pass on one IR lesson, what would it be?

Companies can go in and out of favor, and stock prices can go up and down, but maintaining your integrity throughout is critical. It’s very hard to rebuild a tarnished reputation simply by jumping to a different company, especially in a place like Silicon Valley where everyone seems to know everyone else. 

Candice de Monts-Petit

Candice de Monts-Petit

Candice de Monts-Petit joined IR Magazine as a senior editor in 2012. Prior to this, she worked in investor relations, first as an IRO for oil and gas firms in Paris and Moscow and subsequently as an IR consultant in London. She graduated in business...