Reminiscing the genesis of VirtualInvestorConferences.com

Next month, on December 1st, we’re hosting our 75th event at VirtualInvestorConferences.com. Without exaggeration, this is a celebration of hundreds of companies and tens of thousands of investors.

Launched in 2010, VirtualInvestorConferences.com is the brainchild of me (Bradley H. Smith) and John Viglotti, VP, Investor Relations Products and Services at PR Newswire.

John and I reminisced.

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BHS: So, our 75th. Should we buy each other gold watches or something?

JV: Uhhh… I have already baked you cupcakes.

BHS: Thanks, but I think sushi is more appropriate, considering VirtualInvestorConferences.com’s (VIC) genesis. It’s on video – do you remember that fateful meeting?

JV: You’re referring to our premiere on the Martha Stewart show. Can you embed a clip? That was a funny thing to have happen.It’s a real timestamp.

martha

Where the conference blossomed, too.

BHS: It was and I’ll try. (HERE) More to the point for the blog, do you remember WHY we founded VIC?

JV: We recognized that the current investor presentation sphere was almost exclusively physical conferences and moreover, the dates were set by the hosts, regardless of an individual company’s news.

BHS: That’s why we went monthly with ours. We got a lot of push-back at first. Holding a conference every thirty days is execution challenge. Many moving parts.

JV: No one had ever executed such a portal before. What do you call it?

BHS: Evergreen. We never close. Since I am transcribing this for my blog, take a moment to describe the events. Talk slowly so I can type.

JV: As you said, VIC consists of many parts to make the whole. First and foremost, the company is presenting a PPT presentation, in real-time. 80% of the time, it’s the CEO speaking directly to the audience. The experience for the CEO is much like an earnings call… speaking in a phone and advancing slides as they speak.

The virtual lobby where investors can meet and chat.

The virtual lobby where investors can meet and chat.

BHS: We had many present from hotel rooms.

JV: With the easy of presenting at VIC, we’ve had many presenters take a short break to introduce their story to our investors while at a physical conference or from the road. We just need a phone and a trustworthy web connection. One difference from an earnings call, however, is only the CEO is on the phone. All the investors are online watching and listening in a portal. If anyone has a question, they type it in.

BHS: Some companies get many questions. I’ve blogged on that.

JV: True. One frequent presenting biotech company gets over 75, but that is not the norm. I’d say 10-20 questions is average, anecdotally. Let’s mention that only the presenters see the questions during the formal presentation.

BHS: How much time does a company get to speak?

JV: 30 minutes, generally broken down to 20 for the slides and 10 for the Q&A.

BHS: Talk about the virtual trade booths.

JV: Beside the live PPT presentation in the “auditorium,” every company gets a virtual trade booth. It’s a clever little “landing page” that everyone watching the PPT presentation is automatically pushed into after the CEO is done speaking.

The virtual trade booth will play a corporate video, offer fact sheet and whitepaper PDFs, links to the IR website and, importantly, has a live chat function. The live chat has been very useful for companies and investors to continue talking in real-time. It’s an incredible demonstration of transparency.

BHS: At first, several CEOs were leery of it.

JV: Right, but we proved otherwise. Out of the hundreds of chats, I can only recall once that we had to block an inappropriate audience member. That was a few years ago.

An actual public chat. Organovo's CEO is very dedicated to transparency.

An actual public chat. Organovo’s CEO is very dedicated to transparency.

BHS: What type of investors attend VIC?

JV: When we launched the monthly conference series our focus was exclusively on attracting a critical mass of individual investors.  Our partnership with Better Investing, who has been educating individual investor since 1951, was key in building a member base of passionate and long term investors.

Over the past several years we’ve broaden our outreach and members to include several thousand institutional investors and wealth management professionals. The attendance for a recent conference was 68% individuals and 25% institutional investors and advisors and 7% media/other.

BHS: October was a great month. Over 2,000 presentation views.

JV: All of 2016 has been strong, in large part to the third-party hosts we worked with, Deutsche Bank’s DR group, OTC Markets and Rose & Company. They’re all committed to connecting their issuers with investors.

BHS: Deutsche Bank brings in international companies. No travel needed.

JV: We have hosted CEOs from 20 different countries including Finland, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Portugal, Brazil, France, Australia and Chile. One conference was 100% Chinese issuers. Deutsche Bank’s DR has a two-day event later in November.

BHS: Oh, Aflac is presenting again next week. They missed the 75th celebration by a month.

JV: They presented at our inaugural conference in 2010 and have been a regular presenter ever since. They value the ease and opportunity to reach current and prospective individual investors equally with institutional investors.

BHS: They deserve a VirtualInvestorConferences.com cupcake!

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Companies can schedule their 2017 now. Click here.

2017 Schedule:

  • January – No event
  • February 2, 2017
  • March 15, 2017: OTCQX Banks:
  • March 22 & 23, 2017: Deutsche Bank DR Event
  • April 6, 2017
  • May 11, 2017: OTCQX International
  • June 1, 2017
  • July 13, 2017
  • August 3, 2017
  • September 7, 2017
  • October 5, 2017
  • November 2, 2017
  • December 7, 2017

One response to “Reminiscing the genesis of VirtualInvestorConferences.com

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