Amid IPO fever, columnist Maynard Webb gives advice on pricing an offe


Editor’s Observe: Every week Maynard Webb, former CEO of LiveOps and the previous COO of eBay, will provide candid, sensible, and typically stunning advice to entrepreneurs and founders. To submit a query, write to Webb at [email protected]m.

Q. Our firm is planning an IPO. Do you may have advice on how we should always do our pricing? We expect we will get a great worth however on the identical time, there’s lots of uncertainty on the earth, and we’re nonetheless a younger, fast-growing firm.

-Founding father of a breakout soon-to-be public firm


Pricey Founder,

Your Preliminary Public Providing is a superb day. However I additionally wish to say it ought to be your organization’s worst day—you need every thing to be up and to the proper from there. In fact, it’s often not straight up; it’s up and down, and when it’s down, it’s a tricky factor to handle. However general, your organization ought to proceed to get greater, make extra of an influence, and develop extra worthwhile on daily basis from right here on!

This query about pricing is an intriguing subject, and one which’s obtained lots of consideration with a number of the current IPOs that opened a lot greater than they had been priced. As a founder, you may have been working for years to get the worth you will get. But when the market is bullish and overheated, the value might go above what you might be asking, and people who have been buyers in your organization for a day get lots of upside—versus the staff and buyers who’ve been constructing the corporate for years. 

It’s a fragile scenario to navigate since you need to seize as a lot worth for the corporate as you’ll be able to, however you need to accomplish that in a sustainable method so that you just don’t have disappointment out there. On the flip facet, you don’t need to be so conservative that you just give probably the most upside to new buyers who purchased into the vary and get the pop. 

The excellent news: Skilled bankers can information you thru the method. Proper now, lots of firms go public with twin lessons of inventory, which gives extra safety to the individuals who constructed the corporate. Not all buyers like that, however will probably be very a lot to your profit.

Keep in mind, buyers need to have a lot transparency and perception into every bit of your online business, as they need to make knowledgeable choices. However your online business is probably not mature sufficient to report with that degree of granularity. Watch out with what you share as a result of no matter info you give them will then all the time be anticipated to be given. You should have an opportunity to undergo the highway present and reply all questions. Stick with that very same roadmap for the primary 12 months or two. Much less is extra to start with. 


The most important factor you are able to do to construct momentum is ship. Do what you say and say what you do. That’s what will assist your inventory carry out the very best each out of the gate and for the long run.