Imagine you’re prepping a company to go public on Nasdaq. And as you move toward your IPO date, ‘fans’ of your company can watch the action, follow you on the road and buy shares online. That’s the premise of a new TV show called Going Public, set to air in mid-2021.
Jaime Schmidt, founder of Schmidt’s
‘The show offers massive brand exposure to millions of viewers, while providing customers and fans the opportunity to gain ownership in the companies they grow to love throughout the series,’ Jaime Schmidt, founder of Schmidt’s Naturals and a mentor on the show, tells IR Magazine.
‘Going Public [will] follow five diverse entrepreneurs as they strive to raise capital and go public on Nasdaq,’ she says, summing up the show. ‘Viewers around the world can buy shares in the companies through Regulation A+ IPOs using an associated online platform while they watch.’
Each listing will be in the Regulation A+ Tier II category, which allows companies to offer up to $50 mn in any one-year period.
The show, which will be hosted by Lauren Simmons, the youngest female trader in the NYSE's 225-year history as well as only the second African American female trader in its history, aims to give a view into the everyday realities of taking a company public, the obstacles faced by firms and a look behind the scenes of company operations – including investor roadshows.
‘We will follow the entrepreneurs as they go on investment roadshows aimed at winning over both institutional and retail investors,’ explains Schmidt. ‘Many of these will be smart and savvy investors, so they’ll really scrutinize these companies’ business models.’
The show will feature small-cap companies and Schmidt says it provides a ‘groundbreaking solution’ to some of the challenges that smaller market cap firms face by offering an out-of-the-box opportunity to build customer and investor interest.
She also says the unique approach of Going Public has the potential to open up alternatives to the traditional route to market. ‘Going Public aims to democratize the IPO process by increasing awareness and interest around the Regulation A+ IPOs, which are an emerging form of fundraising. With this awareness, brands and founders will demonstrate less dependence on the traditional routes of private equity, venture capital, and standard IPO, which have traditionally not served underrepresented entrepreneurs well.’
Shopping channel for shares
But what about the idea that viewers can buy shares in the companies they like as they follow the show? ‘All IPOs will be firm-commitment underwritten by ROTH Capital Partners, our banking partner, subject to ROTH’s customary due diligence and acceptance,’ Darren Marble, co-CEO of Crush Capital, the fintech company that has created Going Public, tells IR Magazine. ‘This means that viewers will be investing alongside institutional investors in any IPO, buying the same IPO shares at the same price.’
And he stresses that there will be no pressure to buy. ‘Viewers will have five to six weeks in which to make an investment decision in any deal. With episodes released weekly, viewers will get an inside look at the IPO roadshow, seeing how institutional investors are responding, as well as featured mentors.
‘The technology we’ve incorporated includes an offering subscription platform that makes it easy for viewers to buy IPO shares from their phone, laptop, or tablet device. Once companies complete their IPOs, viewers will be able to view their holdings, sell their securities, or transfer their securities to an existing retail brokerage account.’
Marble adds that as Regulation A+ Tier II offerings, investors will be able to review the details of each deal in the companies’ Form 1-A offering circular filed with the SEC. Each company will also be supported by CrowdCheck, a due diligence and disclosure consultancy specializing in Reg A+ listings. Its founder, Sara Hanks, has more than 30 years of experience in the corporate and securities field and was formerly chief of the office of international corporate finance with the SEC, explains Marble.
He also talks about Nasdaq as the exchange of choice for the show. Nasdaq ‘understands the importance and value of small-cap IPOs to the US economy,’ says Marble. ‘Amazon, for instance, raised just $54 mn in its 1997 Nasdaq IPO. Moreover, NASDAQ provides greater liquidity to investors than an alternative trading system (ATS).’
Marble stresses that Nasdaq is independent of Going Public: ‘Any companies we feature will need to meet its listing requirements in order to complete a Nasdaq IPO.’
All this of course begs the question: Where does IR come in? ‘IR is a critical element to both the IPO and aftermarket support process,’ says Marble. ‘We think there is a great opportunity to feature a leading IR company in the series.’
The show will be streamed online at Entrepreneur.com as well as being available through smart TVs and app-enabled devices via Facebook Watch, YouTube, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku. It will be produced by Emmy-nominated production studio INE Entertainment, founded by Eric Day and Mark Koops, whose credits include MasterChef, The Biggest Loser and Be Our Chef. ROTH Capital Partners will conduct due diligence, price and underwrite the deals. Casting is open now.
Main photo L-R: Co-creator Todd Goldberg, host Lauren Simmons and co-creator Darren Marble