Agony Lance: IPO like a rockstar

Agony Lance:  IPO like a rockstar
How the heck did GeoOp raise $10 million and IPO - and how do we do the same?

We are an early stage SaaS company with revenues much higher than that of GeoOp. How the heck did they raise $10 million and IPO – and how do we do the same? – Professional jealousy, Wellington

GeoOp was a good company, but not close to being clear leader in the rather crowded remote workforce management space when it was injected with enthusiasm and money from Leanne Graham.

Over the course of this year the company has taken on several rounds of finance, cumulating in a vast private offer to nearly 300 eligible investors. Meanwhile they expanded the team from a handful (perhaps part-time) through to over 30, and played with pricing.

The pricing change is very telling, as my calculations show they increased the average price per user from $2 to $20 a couple of months ago. I don’t know whether this will work or not, but it’s certainly a gutsy move by Leanne, Mark Weldon and the investors, and well done.

What the staff, cash and model changes have done is to give GeoOp a fighting chance to being a winner in the marketplace. 

For me it was a do or die moment and looking from outside at the transactions it appears the founders have been treated fairly. But make no mistake, if this works then the founders’ hard work will be less important than the energy and capital.

If you are considering doing this, be sure of three things. Firstly, the person who wants to take over needs to be someone not only can do the job and has the money, but who will work full-time in the business.

Secondly they need to show that they, or a partner, have the ability and connections (it’s all about connections) to raise successive rounds of financing cumulating in the IPO. Finally, while you will agree on a plan of attack before the first deal is signed, it’s not longer your company to drive, and you’ll need to be able to let go and hang on as the new investor/CEO takes the reins.

And yes, New Zealand could do with a lot more Leanne Grahams and with the explosion in value of Xero stock and Rod Drury as the obvious role model I expect to see a few more emerge. 

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