There are a lot of moving pieces when it comes to raising capital. But, the internet has made the process easier and more efficient. By utilizing the right web-based applications, issuers and intermediaries of a private capital raise can save both time and money, improve investor relations, and have confidence that confidential information is protected. However, a new set of considerations around data integrity, secure communication, and cyber security have brought with them a fresh set of challenges. As a broker dealer with a technology-forward solution to help issuers manage their capital raise, WealthForge relies on a number of web-based tools to help modernize our service offerings and maintain data security. Here are four tools that could be useful for your next capital raise:
Signing paper subscription documents is rapidly becoming a thing of the past—not just because it takes more time, but because it’s a much less investor-friendly process. Combing through a twenty-page subscription document that could include many sections that may be irrelevant to a particular investor can be time consuming and cause confusion. There are countless opportunities to make an error whether it be spelling or mathematical mistakes, or simply checking off the wrong box that doesn’t apply. Web-based investor workflows capture relevant investor information and auto-populate the correct fields on an electronic subscription document. Because investors are only presented with relevant sections, there are fewer opportunities for errors and it becomes easier to navigate to the appropriate signature boxes. There are a number of e-signature software providers that map subscription documents for electronic execution and routing. These solutions may also integrate into the technology stack of workflow applications and provide a relatively low-cost way to streamline order entry and execution.
Website Visitor / User Playback
Issuers that have offering material published on a website and / or have the ability for a prospective investor to transact online, should consider subscribing to website playback services. For any e-commerce business, having a website that is not user friendly can translate into lost business. Similarly, issuers that publish material about their offering on a website to attract potential investors can lose out on valuable subscriptions because of a poor website experience. Online tools that record every visitor’s experience allow you to replay what they click on and how much time is spent (or is not spent) on certain features. For example, if an investor is having trouble with the subscription process, you can pull up a video recording of their investment and see where the process went off the rails. With that information, you can help the investor past the hurdle and, if appropriate, make changes to the workflow to help avoid such challenges in the future. This information can be invaluable for an issuer looking to expand their online presence.
Transfer Agent & Capitalization Table Management Software
If you are an issuer managing multiple investment vehicles with dozens (if not hundreds or even thousands) of investors, managing capitalization tables via a spreadsheet can take a lot of time. Fortunately, a subscription to cap table management software can help streamline the process through intuitive dashboards and transparent reporting capabilities. Having the software provider by your Transfer Agent is an added bonus since securities can be issued and maintained compliantly through the same application. One interesting feature of a service like this is the exit waterfall analysis that models the allocation of value to security holders at varying liquidation values. Knowing that your cap tables and securities are secure, accurate, accessible, and organized, can help your capital raising process go smoothly.
Secure File Sharing and Document Storage
All too often we have witnessed files containing sensitive information or even personally identifiable information like social security numbers sent via email. Most of the issuers we work with have investor specific communications and documents that need to be shared periodically. This could be a K-1 tax form, a capital call notice, or investor update. For obvious reasons, sending these documents through email is not recommended. For relatively little expense, issuers can license a cloud-based file sharing software that allows for unlimited external users. Investors and potential investors can be invited to access files through a secure folder with restricted access. Secure file-sharing and data encryption are must-have services for an issuer utilizing online means of communication with its investor base.
By utilizing all or a combination of the aforementioned services, issuers can introduce time and money saving efficiencies to their capital raise management process. At the same time investors may be impressed by a more investor-friendly experience.
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