Seriously, sometimes I have to step back and laugh when I see company owners trying to pre-qualify consulting firms to take them public. I just stand there and scratch my head in disbelief when they think they are asking all the ‘right’ questions when all they are doing is setting themselves up for failure.
I recently had a company who claimed to have investors who wanted to invest in pre ipo deals. For a few weeks these guys called with a million questions and demands, most of which were contrary to basic SEC regulations and compliance. I tried to set them straight but they just didn’t get it. These guys who called themselves consultants really had no clue as to what they were doing and the questions they were asking me about my firm in order to qualify our firm were completely off base and were actually laughable. It was irritating at the time, now I just sit back and laugh as I chalk it up as another lesson learned and another relationship that fortunately did not come to fruition.
Here are some realities to consider when talking to a consulting firm to take your company public. First, no consulting group acts alone, instead they play quarterback or orchestrator to facilitate a smooth, stress free process. Most consulting firms that take companies public on the OTCBB will have securities attorneys on staff for the s1 filing, third party SEC approved auditors for the SEC audit, multiple market makers to choose from for the filing of the 15c211 and scores of Investor Relations contacts for post public market creation.
When doing due diligence on an Edgar link for S1’s in process you’ll only see the attorney information and the auditor. The Consultant has to be content to stand in the background making the entire process function and succeed with virtually no public claim or credit. If you’re doing due diligence on a consulting firm it’s more important to find out how vast their network is as opposed to being the predictable intellectual midget who will look up the consultants previous stock symbols and call the company and expect to miraculously get on the phone with a person who knows the consultant first hand. The mere thought is so ridiculous it’s redundant to even bring it up but this is something that uninformed people actually do as part of what they consider ‘due diligence’.
All you need to do is this: Talk to the senior partner at the consulting firm. Establish whether or not they are full service. Gain an understanding for how long it takes them to get you from S1 to trading symbol. If you want to do some real due diligence, find out about their post public investor relations strategy so your company not only goes public but can stay public and profitable.
Consulting firms who take companies public on the OTCBB are a small part of the whole but without them, the transaction couldn’t happen. They are the 24/7 worker bees doing the impossible for the ungrateful….until the symbol is achieved and the stock is trading properly, they you get a pat on the back and, “hey thank you so much for your hard work…what was your name again?” And I always respond, “you can call me whatever you want but on my Share Certificates you can put Princeton Corporate Solutions”.
OK, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, of course they are going to remember my name but the reality is, solid due diligence by a company wanting to go public starts with a general evaluation of the consulting firm, some basic technical questions and then getting to the root and depth of their contact base to make sure your going public efforts are fast and smooth.
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