What Is an IPO Roadshow?

By Rebecca Lake · September 11, 2023 · 6 minute read

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What Is an IPO Roadshow?

Before a company can sell its shares on an exchange, it first needs to go through the Initial Public Offering (IPO) process. One of the most critical steps in this process is the IPO roadshow, in which the company pitches itself to potential investors.

A roadshow presentation can take place in-person, with meetings in cities across the country, or the company can offer an online event instead. Either way, the goal is the same: to generate interest in the company that will encourage investors to buy in.

Key Points

•   An IPO roadshow is a series of meetings or presentations in which key members of a private company pitch the initial public offering to prospective investors.

•   Digital roadshows have become increasingly popular and offer an advantage of increased efficiency compared to traditional roadshows.

•   The purpose of an IPO roadshow is to generate interest in a company among prospective investors in order to raise capital.

•   Virtual IPO roadshow presentations have the potential to reach a broader audience, rather than being limited to a handful of cities.

•   Buying IPO stock can help diversify an investment portfolio, but is typically high risk and requires due diligence.

What Is a Roadshow?

In general, a roadshow is a series of meetings or presentations in which key members of a private company, usually executives, pitch the initial public offering, or IPO, to prospective investors. Effectively, the company is taking its branding message on the road to meet with investors in different cities, hence the name.

The IPO roadshow presentation is an important part of the IPO process in which a company sells new shares to the public for the first time. Whether a company’s IPO succeeds or not can hinge on interest generated among investors before the stock makes its debut on an exchange.

There are also some cases where company executives will embark on a road show to meet with investors to talk about their company, even if they’re not planning an IPO.

💡 Quick Tip: IPO stocks can get a lot of media hype. But savvy investors know that where there’s buzz there can also be higher-than-warranted valuations. IPO shares might spike or plunge (or both), so investing in IPOs may not be suitable for investors with short time horizons.

How Roadshows Work

Typically, the roadshow is the third step in the IPO process, following the selection of an underwriter to oversee the process and the completion of due diligence. At this point, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reviews all of the documents submitted in connection with the IPO, while the company and the underwriting team get ready for the roadshow.

The underwriters and executives taking part in the IPO roadshow work together to decide which cities to visit, which investors to target, and which information to include in the roadshow presentation.

A typical IPO roadshow presentation highlights the most important information the company wants investors to know, including:

•   The company’s history and its plans regarding the IPO

•   Details about the top executives

•   The current vision and mission statement

•   Financial performance and earnings history

•   Future sales projections and anticipated growth

•   IPO goals

A roadshow IPO presentation may include digital media, such as videos or a slideshow. Investors have a chance to ask questions during a Q&A session following the presentation.

The roadshow tour for an IPO can last anywhere for two to four weeks, depending on how many stops the company makes along the way.

New Digital Roadshows

Virtual roadshows have become an increasingly popular alternative to the traditional IPO roadshow. The pandemic forced companies to rethink the way they meet with investors, resulting in a growing number of roadshows taking place online only.

Digital roadshows mean companies forgo a chance to meet with prospective investors face-to-face, but they offer an advantage in terms of increased efficiency. Company executives and underwriters save money and time, since they’re not traveling. Virtual IPO roadshow presentations also have the potential to reach a broader audience, rather than being limited to just a handful of cities.

If a company schedules multiple presentations in a single day, using a virtual format, they can complete the roadshow move through the IPO process more quickly. This could make it easier to determine the price of an IPO if there’s less opportunity for pricing to be affected by volatility. Pricing the IPO typically happens at the conclusion of the road show.


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Importance of Roadshows

The IPO roadshow presentation is an opportunity for a company to convince investors that buying stock in their company is a good investment opportunity. The main purpose of an IPO is generally to raise capital and companies can’t do that without interest from investors.

IPO stocks are considered high-risk investments, and while some companies may present an opportunity for growth, there are no guarantees. Like investing in any other type of stock, it’s essential for investors to do their due diligence. While individual investors aren’t included in the IPO roadshow process, they can follow the coverage, to understand new details that might emerge about the company.

Pros and Cons of a Roadshow

If the company goes public and no one buys its shares, then the IPO ends up being a flop, which can affect the company’s success in the near and long term. If the company experiences an IPO pop, in which its price goes much higher than its initial offering price, it could be a sign that underwriters mispriced the stock.

A roadshow is also important for helping determine how to price the company’s stock when the IPO launches. If the roadshow ends up being a smashing success, for example, that can cause the underwriters to adjust their expectations for the stock’s IPO price.

On the other hand, if the roadshow doesn’t seem to be generating much buzz around the company at all, that could cause the price to be adjusted downward.

In a worst-case scenario, the company may decide to pull the plug on the IPO altogether or to go a different route, such as a private IPO placement.

The Takeaway

The IPO roadshow presents an opportunity for a new company to convince investors to invest in their organization. The main purpose of an IPO is to raise capital and companies can’t do that without interest from investors.

The underwriters and executives taking part in the IPO roadshow work together to decide which cities to visit, which investors to target, and which information to include in the roadshow presentation.

While individual investors typically don’t have access to roadshows, eligible investors may still participate in IPO trading. Buying IPO stock can help you to diversify your investment portfolio, and may present growth opportunities — but IPO shares are typically high risk. The key is doing your research to find the right companies to invest in as they go public.

Whether you’re curious about exploring IPOs, or interested in traditional stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), you can get started by opening an account on the SoFi Invest® brokerage platform. On SoFi Invest, eligible SoFi members have the opportunity to trade IPO shares, and there are no account minimums for those with an Active Investing account. As with any investment, it's wise to consider your overall portfolio goals in order to assess whether IPO investing is right for you, given the risks of volatility and loss.

Invest with as little as $5 with a SoFi Active Investing account.

FAQ

What is the purpose of a roadshow?

The purpose of an IPO roadshow is to generate interest in a company among prospective investors. The company executives and underwriting can meet with investors in-person or virtually to share details about the IPO, the company’s financials and its goals.

How long after the roadshow is the IPO?

The IPO can take place as little as two weeks after the roadshow is completed. The actual timing depends on a number of factors, including whether the underwriters determine that a price adjustment is needed or if any snags come up involving the filing of key documents.

Are IPO roadshows public?

The IPO roadshow process typically focuses on institutional investors, rather than retail investors. So the roadshow presentations have traditionally been private affairs. But with more companies opting to host virtual roadshows, there’s potential for the general public to be able to view IPO presentations online.


Photo credit: iStock/FreshSplash

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Investing in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) involves substantial risk, including the risk of loss. Further, there are a variety of risk factors to consider when investing in an IPO, including but not limited to, unproven management, significant debt, and lack of operating history. For a comprehensive discussion of these risks please refer to SoFi Securities’ IPO Risk Disclosure Statement. IPOs offered through SoFi Securities are not a recommendation and investors should carefully read the offering prospectus to determine whether an offering is consistent with their investment objectives, risk tolerance, and financial situation.

New offerings generally have high demand and there are a limited number of shares available for distribution to participants. Many customers may not be allocated shares and share allocations may be significantly smaller than the shares requested in the customer’s initial offer (Indication of Interest). For SoFi’s allocation procedures please refer to IPO Allocation Procedures.


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