Investor Relations (IR) app for iPhone, iPad and Android – theIRapp™

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Title III of the JOBS Act Is Now Underway

On May 16th, Title III of the Jumpstart Our Business Startup (JOBS) Act came into law, four years after officially being passed. According to Ryan Feit, CEO of equity crowdfunding platform Seedinvest, “[i]n a nutshell this means that early stage startups and small businesses will be able to raise up to $1 million through investments as low $100 per person.”

At theIRapp and APPrise Mobile, we view this as a positive step as it allows small businesses to equity crowdfund from non-accredited investors. Of course, when dealing with smaller businesses and non-accredited investors, both parties need to be aware of the risks associated with this type of investment.

This is where communications comes into play.  From the issuer’s perspective, transparency will undoubtedly differentiate the many companies that will now be out there trying to get moms and pops to write them checks.  The company that provides the most information has the ability to convince investors as to why their business is better than the next and has the potential to grow and generate significant returns on one’s equity investment.  From the investor’s perspective, having access to information not frequently provided by smaller, private companies (e.g. an investor presentation, fact sheet, accountant compiled or audited financial statements, etc.) will go a long way towards not only building confidence in a company’s management team, but also understanding the investment opportunity at hand.

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When Big News Can’t Wait Until Monday

It was Saturday, April 2nd and Edwards Lifesciences was presenting the positive results of its PARTNER II trial at the American College of Cardiology’s 65th Annual Scientific Session in Chicago. Prior to the presentation, a press release was issued and the news was simultaneously published online in The New England Journal of Medicine. On Sunday, April 3rd, additional positive results from the PARTNER II study were issued in a press release, presented at the conference and simultaneously published online in The Lancet, a UK-based medical journal.

What a great weekend for those investors in Edwards Lifesciences – and an even better weekend for those sitting in the audience or those who work 24/7 even over the weekend.  But what about those investors and others who typically wait until Mondays to learn what’s going on with their favorite stocks?

Edwards Stock Chart

Image courtesy of Yahoo! Finance

Well, for those who had downloaded the Edwards Lifesciences IR app, there was no issue and they didn’t have to wait until Monday to learn what had just been announced.  Over the weekend, they received several push notifications to the home screens of their iPhones, iPads and Android mobile devices. The first alerted them to the fact that Edwards had issued news and the second provided the details for a webcast that they could participate in either through the IR section of the Edwards corporate website or through the Edwards IR app itself.

Edwards did more than it needed to do in handling its disclosure obligations.  Indeed, Edwards is one of the pioneers in the use of native app technology to enhance and expand its investor communications.  Kudos to Edwards Lifesciences for the great work they are doing in science.  And Kudos to the company’s investors for investing in a company that really cares about making sure they are able to know what is taking place at their company 24/7.

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Berkshire Hathaway to Live Stream Upcoming Annual Shareholders Meeting

Just months after Yahoo! produced the first-ever live stream of an NFL football game, it is now turning its capabilities to the Investor Relations community. Last week Yahoo Finance announced that it is teaming up with Berkshire Hathaway to live stream their upcoming annual shareholders meeting. According to the press release, “approximately 40,000 Berkshire Hathaway shareholders from around the world are expected to attend the highly anticipated event, which until now, has been unavailable to the general public.”

The move by Berkshire Hathaway accomplishes two key things. First, it allows both shareholders and non-shareholders to gain additional insight into the Company and its strategic vision for the upcoming years. Second, by utilizing this innovative approach, Berkshire is expanding its overall communications strategy and increasing its transparency to shareholders and potentially new shareholders.

Kudos to Berkshire and Yahoo! Such a move undoubtedly enhances the company’s IR communications, not to mention takes advantage of 21st Century technologies and ways of doing business.

Obviously most companies are not a Berkshire Hathaway. However, there is an important takeaway for all companies regardless of their size or financial resources. The day of the traditional press release and annual report is history. There are innovative and more current ways (that can be reasonably priced) to get a company’s key messages out to the general public and to be as transparent as possible.

One other thing to consider – everyone, especially professional investors, has a mobile device. And, pretty much all of the new technological tools available for communicating can be broadcast or displayed on iPhones and Android devices. Whether it’s live streaming events (in the case of Berkshire Hathaway), providing on-demand video content, releasing a new investor deck or simply making press releases easily and instantaneously accessible, investors are coming to expect that they will be able to access this IR content from wherever they are.

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