A former colleague is an exec in a company that he believes is ready for an IPO. He reached out to me and asked what he could do in his role to ensure that any IPO would be successful. We talked through the basics and in the process of going through that exercise, I remembered a great article in Fortune several years ago by Glenn Solomon, the highly successful VC at GGV Capital. The article is two years old, but still highly relevant today.
When it comes to helping a company navigate the go public process, Solomon can speak from experience. He has invested in or assisted with multiple GGV companies that have gone public, including Pandora (NYSE: P), Quinstreet (NASDAQ: QNST), Nimble Storage (NYSE: NMBL), and Zendesk (NYSE: ZEN).
To determine whether a company is ready to go public, most analysts throw out very broad and obvious questions such as, “does your company have a good track record” and “is management capable and committed” and are the company’s products or services “highly visible and of interest to its customers and the investing public.” Yes, answers to those general questions and others like them are part of the assessment process. Solomon, however, distills the inquiry down to three key attributes: (1) predictability and visability, (2) underlying growth potential, and (3) vulnerability assessment. In my opinion, Solomon provides valuable insight in all three attributes to get ready to go public. The article is worth re-reading for those thinking that it is time to get ready to go public.