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Capital markets are becoming an increasingly more popular option in the European technology funding landscape. For many companies, it could be indeed beneficial to choose a public floating over a VC funding round or combine the two, however, deep knowledge of public markets is still hard to come by.
In a continuous push to bring the IPO expertise to the interested tech companies, Euronext has opened applications for this year's TechShare programme. TechShare will take place from September to April in the countries where Euronext operates stock exchanges, namely Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Portugal but also since last year in four new European countries: Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain. Online applications will stay open on a dedicated platform until June 5, 2019.
The goal of the programme is to help technology entrepreneurs familiarise themselves with capital markets. Euronext has emphasised in a conversation with tech.eu that the organisation would never push technology startups towards an IPO. The actual aim is to “help the companies understand whether they are ready to go public and extend their network with other pre-IPO companies and partners,” said Camille Leca, COO Listing at Euronext.
From September till April, the companies chosen for the free-of-charge programme will try to achieve these goals by participating in three different types of knowledge sharing exercises: academic campuses, technical sessions, and individual coaching.
The academic campuses are the two cornerstone events of the programme that take place in Rotterdam in September and in Lisbon in March. These seminars are organised with prestigious European business schools to encourage networking between partners and participants as well as interaction through breakout sessions, plenary keynotes and discussions with entrepreneurs.
Interactive courses and technical sessions are held on a regular basis locally by different partners to educate the participants on capital markets. Topics include why to go public at all, the IPO process, the legal perspective, the valuation strategy, financial communication, how to attract investors, and life as a public company.
In addition to that, throughout the duration of the programme, all participants receive individual training and tailor-made mentoring with dedicated professionals: auditors, lawyers, and financial communication experts. These one-to-one coaching meetings with partners are a unique opportunity for companies to receive customised advice.
Who is it for?
Any European tech company can apply to participate in TechShare, as the programme is industry-agnostic and there are few formal requirements. Generally speaking, it makes sense to apply if you're likely to consider taking your startup public within the next 18 to 36 months.
Most of the successful applicants from previous years are companies with some 20 employees that had raised at least €5 million in venture funding. The actual participants of the programme are usually the CEO and CFO of a company, who may or may not double as co-founders.
The programme is completely free of charge and has no strings attached. The only commitment that the participants have to make is to attend the two academic campus events, several technical workshops hosted locally, and individual coaching sessions.
Launched in 2015, TechShare has a community of 280 alumni companies, 135 of which went through the last year's programme. Four of the alumni startups have already gone public, using the knowledge and network of partners they gained access to via TechShare.
As for the track record of Euronext itself, the pan-European stock exchange has facilitated more than 70 tech IPOs over the past three years and currently has a franchise of 423 tech companies listed that have reached an aggregated market capitalisation of €445 billion. More than €25 billion have been raised by tech companies on Euronext in the last three years, and over 1,500 institutional investors cover tech stocks, coming from Europe but also from the US.
“I had a few friends who did an IPO years ago,” said Marc Schillaci, founder and CEO of Oxatis, which went public in April 2018. “Speaking with them, I realised that there were a lot of parties involved in an IPO and you had to pick the right ones to succeed. TechShare was a great opportunity to understand each role and get to know a lot of them. The programme is very dense, professional, with a lot of content, and the agenda was appropriate for entrepreneurs with evening sessions and campus seminars.”
Thinking about an IPO? Want to learn more about how capital markets work? Apply for the TechShare programme in your country today and gain access to the treasure trove of first-hand knowledge and expertise of Euronext and its partners.