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What is an IPO Roadshow and Why Does it Matter


An IPO Roadshow is a pivotal step for companies aiming to go public. It's a series of presentations that companies make to potential investors before their shares go live on the stock market.

In this guide, we'll break down what it entails, highlight its importance in the context of public offerings, and shed light on its impact on investor decisions. Let's get started.


What is a roadshow for an IPO?

A roadshow is a pivotal phase in the process of a company going public. It consists of a series of presentations held in various locations, culminating in an initial public offering (IPO).

These presentations are more than just informative sessions; they serve as a robust sales pitch orchestrated by the underwriting firm and the company's management team, all geared toward potential investors.

The primary aim of these roadshows is to generate interest in the upcoming IPO. They're typically organized in major cities, strategically targeting a broad audience of potential investors.

During these presentations, the company introduces its history, and vision, and introduces the audience to its key personnel.

Roadshows act as a bridge connecting a company to its potential investors. By laying out its story, vision, and strengths, a company not only promotes its upcoming IPO but also instils confidence in its potential stakeholders.


How does the roadshow work?

The Roadshow is a critical step for companies planning to go public, aiming to generate excitement and interest among potential investors. Its primary goal is to captivate the investor community, turning their curiosity into a genuine desire to invest in your company.

This engagement is not just a formality; it has significant implications for the company's IPO journey. Successfully leveraging this opportunity can influence the overall success of the IPO.

The ability to effectively communicate and resonate with investors can shape their perception and willingness to participate in the IPO.

In IPOs, the impact of a roadshow cannot be overstated. The buzz it generates often correlates with investor participation. A compelling and memorable roadshow tends to result in high investor engagement, whereas a lacklustre presentation might lead to reduced interest. Simply put, the outcome of your roadshow can set the tone for your IPO's success.

IPO roadshow explained: What's included?


What is an IPO Roadshow and Why Does it Matter


Roadshows prioritize setting aside dedicated time for the company and its leadership to introduce themselves to potential investors. It is crucial as it establishes the foundational relationship between the investing parties and the company's executives.

Additionally, the company's journey, from its inception to its current standing, is presented to showcase its past performance. Equally important is highlighting the competitive landscape of the industry to offer a holistic view of the company's position and strength within its sector.

The company's vision for the future is articulated clearly during these presentations, ensuring investors understand the direction the organization intends to take post-IPO. Alongside this, specifics of the IPO offer are laid out, ensuring transparency and clarity for all attending parties.

Traditionally, these presentations occurred in person, providing a tactile feel to the proceedings. However, with health and safety becoming a focal point since 2020, online roadshow events have seen a rise in popularity, offering a blend of convenience and wide-reaching access.

A question-and-answer session offers potential investors a chance to directly communicate with the company's executives. It fosters deeper understanding and allows investors to clarify any concerns or queries they might have regarding the company's operations, future plans, or any other pertinent business matter.


Example of IPO roadshow

Understanding the intricacies of Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) often leads us to the pivotal concept of a "roadshow."

To truly grasp its significance, examining a real-world example is essential.

Here I highlight the behind-the-scenes efforts companies undertake to attract potential investors during their IPO journey.


In 2014, Alibaba Group, the renowned e-commerce player from China, marked its place in history by orchestrating the most substantial IPO, raising a whopping $25 billion.

The underwriters reaped a significant portion of the pie, earning $300 million. This IPO caught fire, with its stock price skyrocketing by 38% on its first day. However, the buzz started even before the shares hit the market.

An integral part of the roadshow was a video capturing the company's journey, with co-founder and Chair Jack Ma at the helm of narration.

Such was the impact of the roadshow that it played a pivotal role in the company revising its IPO price bracket. Initially set at $60 to $66, it was pushed up to the $66 to $68 range.

While this hike might seem marginal, one can't overlook the fact that Alibaba offloaded more than 300 million shares during its IPO.


When Uber, the ride-sharing behemoth, prepared to go public in 2019, it embarked on an extensive roadshow to woo potential investors. Beginning their journey from the tech hubs of the West Coast, the team made their way to the financial epicentres of the East Coast, presenting to institutional investors, hedge funds, and other key stakeholders.

During these presentations, Uber's top executives highlighted the company's vast global footprint, its diversification into areas like food delivery with Uber Eats, and its vision for the future, which includes innovations in autonomous vehicles.

The financial team, on the other hand, addressed concerns about the company's profitability, providing data and projections to assure investors about the company's long-term growth strategy.

The digital aspect wasn't left out either. Given the tech-savvy nature of its service, Uber also utilized online platforms to conduct virtual presentations, ensuring they reached global investors who might not have been present at the physical locations.

While the IPO had mixed reactions from the market, the roadshow played a crucial role in setting the stage for one of the most anticipated public listings of the year.


Spotify, the renowned music streaming platform, took an unconventional approach when it decided on a direct listing in 2018. Instead of the traditional IPO process, they allowed existing shares to be traded publicly without issuing new shares.

To familiarize potential investors with this unique method, Spotify conducted an "Investor Day" which was essentially their version of a roadshow.

They live-streamed a presentation where the CEO, Daniel Ek, and other top executives detailed the company's financial health, subscriber growth, and future ambitions.

This digital-first approach resonated with their brand identity and allowed a wider audience to engage, proving that even without the traditional roadshow format, companies can still generate buzz and interest.

Snap Inc.

When Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, was gearing up for its IPO in 2017, it embarked on a multi-city roadshow to attract investors. Starting from the tech corridors of Silicon Valley, the team travelled to major cities like New York, Boston, and London.

During these sessions, Snap's leadership presented their vision of Snapchat not just as a social media app, but as a camera company revolutionizing the way people communicate.

They showcased their daily active users, and engagement metrics, and introduced Spectacles, their foray into hardware. They also addressed competition, mainly from platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

By the end of the roadshow, Snap Inc. had set the stage for a high-profile debut, with their shares popping significantly on the first day of trading.

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The importance of the roadshow in an IPO journey

Acting as a precursor to the success of an IPO, the roadshow's significance is paramount. Here are five reasons why roadshows are indispensable in ensuring a prosperous IPO:

  1. Setting the stage for IPO success: The success of an IPO often hinges on an impactful roadshow. A well-executed roadshow fosters strong demand from investors, setting the stage for increased interest in the company's shares.
  2. Driving favourable share pricing: The spike in interest cultivated by an effective roadshow can result in favourable pricing of shares, paving the way for a triumphant listing on the stock exchange.
  3. Embracing the digital shift: With the rise of technology, the traditional roadshow model has been enhanced. Virtual roadshows, accelerated by challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, have grown in significance. These digital versions offer companies the ability to reach broader audiences without the limitations of travel.
  4. Ensuring effective communication through technology: Leveraging video conferencing tools and digital platforms, companies can conduct in-depth presentations and interactive meetings from anywhere in the world. This ensures that potential investors receive a seamless flow of information, regardless of physical barriers.
  5. Simplifying document sharing and access: The infusion of technology into roadshows means essential documents can be shared more efficiently. Investors can instantly access electronic documents from any location, equipping them with all the information they need to make educated decisions.


Bottom line

The IPO Roadshow stands as a pivotal event in a company's journey to going public. It's not just about presenting financial numbers but about crafting a compelling narrative that resonates with potential investors.

From understanding the intricacies of what an IPO roadshow entails, to how it functions, and the immense value it adds to the IPO process, it's clear that its importance cannot be understated.

Successful roadshows, as seen from various examples, have the power to boost investor confidence and pave the way for a thriving stock market debut.

Happy investing!


“When considering initial public offering (IPO) for trading and price predictions, remember that trading CFDs involves a significant degree of risk and could result in capital loss. Past performance is not indicative of any future results. This information is provided for informative purposes only and should not be construed to be investment advice.”

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