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Entrepreneurs looking to raise capital have a wide choice of financing options, between private equity, venture capital, or public listing. Only the IPO route, however, arguably enables them to achieve several important goals at once: accelerate their growth, raise visibility, and enable investors to exit. One indicator of the growing popularity of this route in Europe is this year's TechShare programme by Euronext, which has attracted 119 participants from 10 countries.
Euronext, the largest equity listing venue for tech companies in Europe, has held the yearly pre-IPO programme since its first edition in 2015. The main idea of TechShare is to provide all sorts of hands-on knowledge and information about going public for scale-ups that consider floating their shares within the next couple of years. By familiarising the companies with capital markets, the programme provides a framework of sorts on how to approach their future public listing.
“We acclimatise and prepare the participating companies for a capital raise by offering them training from academics, banking and law specialist as well as Euronext experts on essential subjects such as governance, strategy, communication,” said Stéphane Boujnah, CEO and Chairman of the Managing Board of Euronext.
Beyond the trading floor
The TechShare programme is structured around a series of events held from January to June, structured around several main complementary modules. This year’s events have been transformed into local digital workshops in the context of the ongoing pandemic, while Euronext managed to preserve its interactivity and networking, the main qualities of the programme.
Each of the eight countries the programme covers will hold six events: one kick off workshop, four workshop sessions with expert partners with a focus on the IPO process, the legal perspective, IPO valuation, equity story, financial communication, corporate governance and post-listing life; and one summer event with all participants to close the programme.
In addition to that, the participating scale-ups will be able to schedule “extensive individual coaching” sessions with Euronext's local partners, including audit firms, lawyers, communications specialists and investor relations specialists. It's not just the IPO procedures, though, that the TechShare participants learn. Another big part of the workshop schedule covers more general topics of entrepreneurial mindset, leading growth, scaling beyond borders, attracting talent, and managing ownership. The programme boasts a total of 76 expert partners who will contribute to local sessions and workshops.
More international, more mature
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and local lockdowns across Europe, this year again gathers more than 110 companies, with participants from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland. Of 119 participants, 73 represent the tech, media, and telecom (TMT) industry, 33 are life science companies, and the rest work in the field of cleantech.
This year's participant list also shows a trend of the companies applying for the programme becoming more mature. On average, the scale-ups in the current cohort have turnover of €16 million (compared to €11 million in 2015—2016) and employ 67 people (54 in 2015—2016). Two-thirds of the companies have been backed by private investors, having raised an average of €15 million in funding (up from just €6 million five years ago).
After the 119 companies graduate from the programme in July, they will join a community of more than 400 alumni, including those that have already gone public using the network and knowledge gained through TechShare. The latest examples include two Belgian TMT scale-ups: the 2020 alum Nyxoah that raised €85 million during its IPO, and the 2017 graduate Unifiedpost with €252 million to its name.
In total, 516 tech companies are listed on Euronext’s markets as of November 2020, a number that’s been growing steadily. Capital markets keep attracting tech companies, and this year’s TechShare certainly illustrates the interest and willingness of some of the most promising players in the industry to start preparing for an IPO early on.
To learn more about TechShare, go to https://www.euronext.com/en/raise-capital/tech/techshare.