Road to the North - part 9: The Finish Line Looms
This is part nine of a blog series following the journey of Witted Megacorp as it explores the possibility of listing on the NASDAQ First North market. The story is told from the perspective of CEO Harri Sieppi. Other parts of the series can be found on the Witted blog.
By the time you read this post, we will have already started the stock subscriptions offering, and ended it. Now I feel relieved. The finish line of the IPO journey is looming and the hardest and most uncertain parts are over.
One of the most exciting parts was the institutional investors' round. Institutional round seeks anchor investors who commit to subscribe to shares in the IPO under certain conditions to ensure the success of the offering. I was expecting some exciting twists and turns, but I was still surprised.
The institutional investors' meetings
The day before the first investor meeting, I was hit by a norovirus. If before I had been nervous about how the meeting would go, now I was nervous about whether I would get to the meeting at all. The fever kept climbing and my body started rejecting all food and fluids. All my strength was gone. It's not quite in the forefront of my mind to wonder how the institutional investors will see our company when I have to wonder if I can even get up from my seat. I hope that no one in the world will ever get norovirus again. And certainly not right before something this important.
A painful and sweaty 24 hours later, I was back in the realm of the living. By morning, the fever had broken. I felt sick because I hadn't eaten for a day – and I didn't dare to. Quick shower and brushed my teeth, we'll get to the meeting yet. The show must go on!
In the end the meetings went well, although the first ones also had some extra tension caused by my own body. Of course, it was an unusual experience, as we have never done an investor round before. Some of the encounters were relaxed - some felt like going on the Lion's Den to talk about your business. Many investors had done their homework properly and asked really good questions. Judging by the results, the answers were pleasing.
Now, as you can read in our ITF press release, we are proud to announce that we have received the number of anchor investors we wanted, who have committed a total of around €4.6 million under certain conditions.
Intention to Float
Once the anchor investors were in place and the more bureaucratic side of the project was coming to a close, we were ready to go out into the world with our intentions. In the industry we don't say it so casually, instead it's said that an Intention to Float notice is put out.
On Thursday, April seventh, Nasdaq put out a press release announcing that a new IPO candidate is coming to the First North Growth Market. There was speculation and questions on the Inderes forums as to whether it was Witted. Because there's a bit of a funny choreography to all this, I couldn't confirm or deny. Throughout the project we have been open about our IPO intentions, so of course people guessed. It could not be confirmed, so as not to spoil the surprise for Nasdaq.
The next day we put out a press release. The media highlighted our unconventional strategy. The reception was even more positive than we expected. Even on the always critical and difficult Inderes forum, the feedback was enthusiastic.
At this point, it feels like the finish line is close for this marathon. All the difficult parts are behind us and now the public will see the runner for the first time. From here on, you can even roll on by with somersaults and still make it.
In the spotlight
After the ITF, sitting at your own desk and writing documents and requests for information will be replaced by being in front of the cameras. The Nasdaq press conference sounded dramatic. In reality, it was just a pretty casual presentation in a Teams meeting from the corner of our office.
I also visited Inderes for a Toast video interview with Verneri Pulkkinen. My colleagues said it went well, and I didn't seem nervous. That's not true. It may have looked like it to the outside, but inside I was frothing. The beginning was reshot because I was so tense that I squeezed my hands so hard that Verner asked me if I was praying. That loosened things up a bit and we started all over again. You can check the Inderes channel to see if you can see the nervousness.
On Friday 29th of April, we published the prospectus and terms of subscription. As I agonised over in previous parts of this blog, the prospectus was a long and painstaking process. It was an incredible feeling when you realised you didn't have to do it anymore.
Subscription began after Labor Day on Monday May 2nd. I sat at home in front of my laptop, counting down the minutes until the issuing starts. When the time came, there was a mad frenzy of emotions. Now it was real. People were able to subscribe our shares. No longer was this theoretical or an intention or a plan, now the IPO is underway. Real people were able to put real money into the share subscription. A moment later, a strange feeling came over me. It's time to celebrate, but I'm home alone and it's quiet here. This is all so amazing, and at the same time so weird.
The finish line is close. We're in the final stretch now. In the next part, I hope that I can already share what it feels like to ring the bell to signal the start of trading.
The story continues in two weeks again. Follow Witted on LinkedIn, on Facebook or Twitter, and we'll tip you off when new parts come in. This story is also told (in Finnish) as Witted: Matka pohjoiseen - a podcast you can find on podcast services such as Spotify Or Apple Podcasts.