On 17 October 2013, Green Man Gaming was named as one of fifty hottest high-growth technology companies that the government wants to support to IPO, as part of Tech City’s Future Fifty programme.
As we near the six-month midpoint of the programme, I can see that, although Green Man Gaming was following a very defined path, being a member of the Future Fifty has helped us move with greater speed and ease towards our destination than if we’d gone it alone.
The immediate impact that the announcement had on Green Man Gaming was that it put us in great company. Being recognised and promoted as belonging to a select group of innovative, ambitious, rapidly growing, exciting tech UK companies helped to raise our profile and stature not only within the gaming industry. It drew attention to us from investors, created networking opportunities with other CEOs, introduced us to corporate finance merchant bankers, and saw our name hit the press on a global scale.
There are a number of key elements that are important in order to successfully navigate the complex path to IPO. Whilst some factors are totally within the control of the executives, some are driven by external factors which a management team cannot control (such as market sentiment).
As with many things in life, preparation and information increase the probability of success. Along the way to IPO, the opportunity to gain unbiased advice and expertise through professional workshops organised by Tech City has been second to none with regard to taking a company to market, and will be invaluable on our journey.
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Elsewhere, it has been of huge benefit to have access to government departments and staff. Tech City leaders assigned to the Home Office have introduced us to open resource research & development tax claims as well as suggested how we could bring in specialist resources and talent from overseas, while the Foreign and Commonwealth Office gave advice on how to pave the way into new markets.
The highlight of this unique relationship came in December when I was invited to join the China trade delegation trip with the prime minister, Lord Livingston, Steve Varley (chairman of EY), Allan Cook (chairman of Atkins), a host of other cabinet ministers and key industry leaders. Not only did we gain tremendous insight into the Chinese market but also a solid contact base for going forward.
As I look ahead to the next six months of the Future Fifty programme, the road to IPO might still seem arduous and potentially perilous in places. Looking back on our point of departure and how far we’ve come since then, it’s clear that the programme has helped up stride ahead and will support us in the challenges we face on the continued journey.