Hind­sight

RE­FLEC­TIONS ON HALO­GEN’S SUC­CESS­FUL IPO

Ottawa Business Journal - Techopia - - Contents - BY MATHEW KLIECRIBB

It is an hon­our few can boast – push­ing the but­ton that starts the mar­kets at the Toronto Stock Ex­change. For the Halo­gen Soft­ware lead­ers who did just that on May 17, it marked the com­pany’s first day of open trad­ing on the TSX af­ter com­plet­ing its ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing.

The IPO was seen as wildly suc­cess­ful, break­ing a long drought for the Cana­dian high-tech sec­tor and rais­ing $50 mil­lion for the com­pany, which sells au­to­mated em­ployee- eval­u­a­tion soft­ware.

With the pub­lic of­fer­ing com­pleted, CEO Paul Loucks re­flected on what it took to get the com­pany to this stage, key ac­tions along the way that helped make it a suc­cess, and what go­ing pub­lic means for the com­pany’s fu­ture.

LEARN­ING FROM IN­VESTORS:

“We did the road show, where you’re go­ing out to meet in­sti­tu­tional in­vestors, in late April, early May. That was a 13- day road show. We did Lon­don for two days, we did Toronto for a day. We did Mon­treal, Bos­ton, New York, Chicago, Salt Lake City, San Fran­cisco, Van­cou­ver, Win­nipeg and then back to Toronto for a cou­ple of days. We met a lot of very smart peo­ple through the process. They asked great ques­tions.”

LEARN­ING THE COM­PANY’S TRUE VALUE:

“This is re­ally the first time you know what your shares are worth. I mean, as a pri­vately held com­pany, it’s not nearly as ob­vi­ous. There isn’t a marker ev­ery day out there that tells you what the shares are worth. This was kind of, for the ex­ec­u­tive team, many of whom have been around for five, seven, or 10 years, they were fi­nally able to say, ‘OK, I’ve put in all that hard work and I own th­ese shares and this is now what it’s worth.’ ”

PER­FECT PRIC­ING:

“From a pric­ing per­spec­tive we are very happy. We priced at $11.50, and it traded up some­what. It didn’t trade up as­tro­nom­i­cally. I think that if you had to write a script, I think you would want our script. If the com­pany dou­bles on open­ing day, I think the com­pany didn’t price the shares at a level that made sure the com­pany was get­ting great re­turn for the is­suance of the shares.”

THE ROLE OF LUCK:

“When you think about all those com­pa­nies out there that are star­tups that are try­ing to get to be a suc­cess­ful com­pany, and how few of them turn into a com­mer­cially vi­able com­pany to start off with, to get to a level where you can do an IPO, I think it’s an in­cred­i­ble suc­cess. We’re grate­ful to be able to par­tic­i­pate in that and very for­tu­nate, and clearly you don’t get to do that with­out an amount of luck along the way.”

REC­OG­NIZ­ING AC­COM­PLISH­MENT:

“It was an im­por­tant time for us to rec­og­nize the ac­com­plish­ment of our em­ployee group to­wards help­ing us get to this, and mak­ing sure we were reaf­firm­ing to our cus­tomers our com­mit­ment to them.”

THE IPO’S PLACE IN THE COM­PANY’S HIS­TORY:

“We re­ally view it as a step along the way. So I mean it was a great cap­i­tal raise for the com­pany. We now have great bal­ance sheet strength. We have the re­sources that we need in or­der to be­come in­cred­i­bly suc­cess­ful. Our ob­jec­tive is to be­come that Cana­dian pow­er­house. And you know, re­ally, this is just an­other step along the way.”

Paul Loucks

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