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Fabian Gerber & Jan Luescher, Swisspreneur Podcast

EP #361 - Fabian Gerber & Jan Luescher: From Startup to IPO

Fabian Gerber & Jan Luescher

December 7, 2023

4:22 - Why do an IPO/direct listing?

9:15 - When should you pursue an IPO/direct listing?

15:39 - Where should you list your company? 

20:37 - The Sparks IPO Academy

26:44 - Direct listing mistakes 

About Fabian Gerber & Jan Luescher:

⁠Jan Luescher⁠ is the CEO at ⁠ASMALLWORLD⁠, an exclusive travel & lifestyle community. He previously worked as a Principal at Bain & Company and holds a MA in Strategy and International Management from HSG. ⁠Fabian Gerber⁠ is a Senior Relationship Manager at ⁠SIX Swiss Exchange⁠, with a focus on IPOs. He holds a masters in Corporate Finance from HSLU and previously worked for Zürcher Kantonalbank and Credit Suisse. 

ASMALLWORLD did a direct listing on the Swiss Stock Exchange in 2018, registering shares at a price of CHF 9.75 per share. During his conversation with Silvan, Jan shared his insights on the process of going public, and Fabian added his perspective as someone with inside knowledge.

So why do companies go public?

  • They need more capital, and have perhaps grown past the company size that is easiest for VCs to invest in;
  • They have stakeholders who want to sell their stakes in the company.

Where should you list your company?

  • Swiss listings are considerably cheaper than in the US, if for no other reason than because going public in the US also requires getting American legal and tax advisors, an American investment bank, etc…
  • Swiss listings take 4 weeks to get approved, which helps you take advantage of your IPO window and derisk your project. In the US, however, you have to file with the SCC, handle the IRS, etc…

What are the requirements for going public in Switzerland?

  • At least CHF 2.5M in net equity;
  • A free float of 20%, and it has to be at least CHF 25M in market cap.

But wait! Not all that shimmers is gold. What are the disadvantages of going public?

  • You have to report twice a year on the state of your company;
  • You spend something like CHF 700K on the going public process itself;
  • You spend around 200-300K per year just for being listed: legal expenses, paying banks…

Of course, going public did indeed help ASMALLWORLD in acquiring more capital and gaining trust with potential partners, and the effort required to report publicly twice a year is something which Jan says helps you run your business better overall.

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