What ValueStream Investment Means for Closir

Today we are delighted to announce a strategic investment and partnership with ValueStream Labs in New York. ValueStream is a venture capital firm specialising in financial technology and this is their first European investment.

This news is really exciting for us and the users of our platform. First and foremost, the partnership will will help to extend Closir’s network to the US institutional investor space, who represent the largest opportunity pool for Emerging Market issuers. Over the years, US investors have been steadily diversifying their portfolios and increasing their exposure toEmerging (and Frontier) Markets. The main beneficiary of this trend from the early 2000s has been the BRICs; slowly this has expanded to encompass the 23 counties within the MSCI EM index. The scope of US institutions investing in EmergingMarkets is also quite broad, from mutual, pension and hedge funds to endowments, separately managed accounts and awidening range of passive tools. These institutions are constantly on the lookout for better ways to learn about new opportunities and Investor Relations is at the heart of telling this story.

Developed Market Holdings in Emerging Market Equities, Source: IMF

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 12.51.49

While our initial focus is on issuers in Emerging Markets and institutional investors in the US and Europe, our goal is eventually to help any investor to learn about and access any global opportunity. We are convinced technology can deliver a better experience for this process.

ValueStream has experience supporting the growth of a number of successful technology ventures and we are proud to be part of their portfolio as we continue to develop our solution.

Michael Chojnacki

Chief Executive Officer

@mikechoj

Closir chosen to be founding member of Innovate Finance

Closir joins UK’s Top 50 to launch Innovate Finance, the City of London’s new financial tech industry body.

George-Osborne

Closir, the global investor relations platform, today joins Innovate Finance, an elite industry body backed by the U.K. government, as a founding member. Other founding members cover a range of global financial institution including HSBC, Barclays, Visa, Lloyds and Santander.

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne officially launched the initiative in London and highlighted the importance of Financial Technology as an industry in the U.K. He also outlined a number of government initiatives to support this rapidly growing sector.

Claire Cockerton, CEO and Director of Innovate Finance stated, “Closir aims to streamline and simplify company disclosure, by creating an efficient and dynamic platform for investors and companies to engage with each other. By leveraging the power of technology, Closir is building a tool with truly global potential.”

“We are excited to be joining Innovate Finance as a founding member. We feel it is an extremely timely initiative as global financial institutions are increasingly looking at technology to provide solutions for their clients” stated Michael Chojnacki, CEO of Closir. He continued, “As an innovator in the industry, joining Innovate Finance as a founding member is a natural step for us.”

According to FTI Consulting, 78% of investors believe there is increasing competition for capital across borders for companies. “Closir is a competitive advantage for companies looking for new sources of investment and investors searching for global opportunities” stated Mr. Chojnacki.

About Innovate Finance

Innovate Finance is an independent membership-based industry organisation that aims to advance the UK’s standing as a leader in financial technology (fintech) innovation – both domestically and abroad. Members range from the world’s leading global corporations to the UK’s most promising fintech start-ups and, through Innovate Finance, will receive a single point of access to policymakers, regulators, investors, customers, educators, talent and key commercial partners. Membership is open to all businesses that have a technology-centric approach to innovation in financial services and a presence in the UK. The organisation has a current roster of over 50 member companies, which are pioneering new digital products and services across the following sectors: insurance, retail and investment banking, payments, remittance, crowdfunding, cloud computing, big data, analytics and alternative finance. Innovate Finance is supported by the City of London Corporation, as lead sponsor, in addition to the Canary Wharf Group and membership fees. For a full list of members, member benefits, workshops and events please see http://www.innovatefinance.com and follow us @innfin.

For media enquiries about Innovate Finance, please contact:

Radha Ahlstrom-Vij
innovatefinance@lansons.com
+44 20 7294 3665

 

Innovate Finance and its relevance to Investor Relations

Yesterday marked the launch of Innovate Finance, a London based industry body promising to be the ‘voice of UK fintech’, with more than 50 founding members onboard and the backing of the government.

Innovate Finance aims to make the UK the centre of this rapidly growing market, bringing together diverse  FinTech scene; startups and big banks under one umbrella to promote the industry’s interests and foster collaboration.

Closir is proud to be a founding member of Innovate Finance and  we wanted share a few thoughts on what we think this initiative means for us as well as for companies and investors globally.

What is the role of the technology sector in today’s economy and what relevance does Investor Relations (IR) have?

While many think of technology as a niche industry in itself, we would argue that innovation stemming from the tech world is increasingly the foundation for competitiveness for most industries today. Therefore, we have a lot to gain by making our own companies more competitive in global markets by supporting young entrepreneurs and their ideas very early in the product cycle. We are seeing the evidence of this by watching the significant rise of “strategic investment” teams at most large financial institutions today. Bringing us all closer to each other, through initiatives such as Innovate Finance, can only be positive.

In terms of Investor Relations, we believe that investors, whether those invested in private or public companies will continue embarking on the current trend of researching and investing in companies outside their home market and on a global basis. This means hugely increased opportunity pool for both. For instance, for a company listed on the Moscow Stock Exchange, the the number of potential institutional investors with ‘Emerging Market’ mandates are now in tens of thousands, rather than in thousands five years ago or hundreds ten years ago. With limited resources, how will companies be able to capitalise on this opportunity? How will London’s Venture Capital investors research and engage with interesting opportunities in, foe example, south of Turkey? We feel strongly that Investor Relations tools based on technology will be part of the answer.

Engagement aside, rapidly moving developments in trading, fund raising, distribution landscapes will surely provide interesting perspectives and opportunities relevant to mainstream Investor Relations.

In terms of IR, is there anything private companies and startups can learn from the their counterparts listed on global stock exchanges ?

Absolutely. We would  argue that the increasingly strategic role that IR plays within our world of public companies is already paramount in the world of start- ups… perhaps without it being immediately apparent. Many of the elements that make up a sound IR strategy for public companies, such as formulating an appealing investment proposition, creating an honest and consistent two-way channel of communication, and managing expectations, require skills that we in the IR profession have been perfecting for the last 15 years or so. This is also where we believe we have a lot to offer our more junior counterparts who deal not with institutional investors or sell-side analysts, but with angel, venture capital or private equity investors – all of whom demand the very same level of excellence in IR. In addition to that, there is a great deal to be learnt by public companies  too. When was the last time an IR Officer of a FTSE 100 company had to do a 90 second ‘elevator pitch’ for a prospective investor?

Where do you see London fitting in global tech scene?

With many of the team having lived and travelled extensively in the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the US, we believe that London possesses many of the characteristics required for success as a start-up hub: with some of the top universities, it has been successful in attracting talent from across Europe and beyond; from an infrastructure perspective, it is well connected to other major cities across the world and operates in a convenient time zone. It also has a clear competitive advantage in certain sectors, notably in banking in finance, which I believe can go a long way to benefit the young and growing community of FinTech entrepreneurs. To put it into context, within the five miles that span the west edges of the City and Canary Wharf, we have the largest concentration of banks, investors, and brokers anywhere in the world. This has to be positive for small companies with innovative ideas to bring into the marketplace, especially during the time of profound change for the industry. The development of entrepreneurial communities around relatively new initiatives such as Innovate Finance can only accelerate London’s ambitions to become a global technology hub. This also backs the UK and EU economies and helps existing companies become more competitive globally.

We look forward to playing our part in supporting the movement.

3 steps to make the most of your digital IR Strategy

There were many trends and topics covered during this year’s annual conference of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) in June 2014 in Las Vegas. From social media to corporate access, there was significant interest from IROs on how to navigate the changing world of IR and the potential role that technology can play.

As the number of institutional investors with global mandates continues to expand, IR teams are presented with new opportunities to engage with new investors around the world.  However, the traditional means of discovering, accessing and engaging with thousands of new investors will not be sufficient to address this rapidly growing opportunity.

So how can IR teams use today’s digital tools to manage their workflow and ensure they are accessible to the increasingly growing investment community? We present 3 steps for you to consider.

1) The first step is to maintain a best practice digital presence of your company to investors. This process starts with understanding available tools and creating a digital IR toolkit, which may consist of a combination of the IR website, email distribution list, social media channels and potentially a mobile app. The digital strategy should also encompass monitoring your company’s presence on data platforms such as Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg or Yahoo! and Google Finance. The following six questions need to be considered;

  • Have I considered my target audience and clearly set out the objectives behind the digital strategy and respective metrics of success?
  • Have I identified the appropriate digital channels for my IR strategy?
  • Have I considered the resource implications involved with each digital tool?
  • Is the information on my corporate profile correct and up-to-date on key financial data platforms?
  • Am I leveraging digital media to stay up to date with institutional investor views? Am I keeping track of thought leadership material and comments published by important  investors?
  • How is my IR team staying ahead of developments in technology? Do we have a process to evaluate new digital platforms?

2) The second step is to understand, in as much depth as possible, the dynamics behind the company’s digital activity. This means understanding the profile of investors viewing the various components of your equity story through respective tools. It is also important to be aware how the patterns are changing over time in order to draw meaningful conclusions which may impact the overall IR strategy.

  • Do I understand the activity behind my IR page (ex. total number of investor views per month, profile of the investor, breakdown of unique versus returning, geographical profile, average time spent on page, most frequently visited sections)?
  • How closely am I monitoring engagement via social media channels?
  • Do I know what is the most (and least) frequently viewed or downloaded material?
  • Can I easily quantify the return on investment of my digital media strategy? How often do I review this?

3) Finally, after analysis of underlying analytics over a period of time, it is important to draw meaningful conclusions and seek alignment with broader IR strategy.

  • Do the results from my digital media plan fit into my broader IR goals? How often do I assess this and what metrics do I use to reach conclusions?
  • Are my resources focused on digital media allocated efficiently?
  • How often do I review my digital media plan and make necessary adjustments?