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

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A Tale of Two Conferences

Having just returned from two communications conferences – the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) World Conference in New Orleans and the National Investor Relations Institute’s (NIRI) Annual Conference in San Diego – I realized how large and interesting the communications industry is.  I attended the conferences in two capacities.  First, as a practitioner who has spent almost 20 years working in the public and investor relations industry.  Second, as an exhibitor showcasing our mobile communications products – theEMPLOYEEapp at IABC and theIRapp at NIRI.

While both conferences were made up of professionals from the same industry, it was amazing to see how different the personalities of the two conferences were.

At IABC, the level of interest from those who attended and their excitement in exploring the new paradigm in technology (i.e. mobile) was incredible.  They realized that an opportunity exists to connect, engage and distribute important information and content directly into the hands of their most important audience, their employees.  It was reassuring to hear the word “mobile” spoken in the same breath as “email” and “intranet.”  When you think about it, email and corporate intranets have been the main delivery mechanisms that companies have had for almost three decades to communicate with their employees.  Now there is something new – the mobile device – that allow communicators to reach their targeted audiences in an even more convenient and personal way.  The corporate communicators at IABC got it.

NIRI was a bit different.  This was our 5th NIRI conference as an exhibitor (we actually launched our company at the conference in Seattle in June 2012).  With 100 great companies as customers of theIRapp, we were no longer the new kid on the block.  Indeed, none of the exhibitors were new kids on the block.  What I witnessed was that there are those professionals who are pioneers and who are interested in incorporating new ways of communicating into their work; they get excited by doing things differently and making sure that they use all means possible to get information into the hands of their investors.   Then there are those who are reticent to try new tools; they aren’t interested in implementing new communications strategies unless their investors ask for it or they are forced to by regulation.

My overall takeaway from attending two very different communications industry conferences back-to-back?  APPrise Mobile is truly serving the needs of the broader corporate communications industry.  We have developed a solution that comes not from thinking we know the challenges they face, but having lived it ourselves.  It was great to have quality conversations about these challenges and to discuss the opportunity that now exists to more efficiently and effectively do our work.

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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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