Entrepreneurial business development executive who brings ideas and people together for the delivery of new products and services to market. The start-ups that I helped found have produced a variety of innovative applications and new businesses with measurable results. They range from downloadable marketing and educational tools to custom digital signage to on-demand apparel manufacturing. Founding partner of Whimsy Rose, a print on demand apparel brand; which has produced and sold over $20 million worth of apparel through its in-house developed production system. - https://www.whimsyrose.com/ Founded AppWare’s, creators of Deskplayer, - a marketing application design company that produced apps generating over a million downloads for brands ranging from Sony Music to Budweiser, to Marvel. Developed, and delivered customized video delivery and educational communications tools for corporations such as Deloitte Worldwide, to the Pharmaceutical industry for the on-demand delivery of accredited professional development educational courses to Physicians. New Initiatives: A co-branded community-based photo-apparel label and an On-Demand consumer profiling/persona services company. (ProfileNINJA) by http://statanalytics.ca & http://www.didanalytics.com Specialties: • Strategy for Business Development • Maximizing Sales • Analysis & Forecasting • Enterprise Sales to Senior Executives • Program Planning & Implementation • Product & Market Identification • Communication & Negotiation
Jason Futko is co-founder and chief financial officer for KoreConX. Prior to KoreConX, Futko co-founded Crowdfunding Alliance of Canada. In addition he was managing director of an Exempt Market Dealer and Chairman of a public investment vehicle in the United Kingdom. Jason has vast experience in financing businesses globally. He has extensive knowledge of international know your client (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.
Peter Daneyko 00:18
We’re just waiting to start our next session, shareholder management, and effective communications. And I’m just waiting for my co host, Jason Futko? Am I here? Oh, you’re here. I’m here. Sorry. We’re loving technology when it’s working. We’re not liking it so much when it has a couple of glitches.
Jason Futko 00:59
So I’ve done lots of things with the other technology. But this is new for us. So getting used to it.
Peter Daneyko 01:04
Yeah, it’s a new platform for us. So forgiving to the audience that might be wondering what’s going on with some of the glitches but we think it’s a great platform. It’s just, hey, it’s technology and working remotely, these things can happen occasionally. So Jason, shareholder management, effective communications, what are we talking about?
Jason Futko 01:27
It’s a great topic, actually, one that probably doesn’t get enough attention. Because it’s outside of the need to do stuff. You know, when you’re doing a fund raise, and you’re managing your business, you’re always focused on what’s the next hurdle? Okay, I got to get my lawyers involved, I got to do a fundraise. So I knew what do I need to do to do a Reg A or Reg CF need to get my lawyers, need to get broker dealer, need to get an escrow agent, need to get that transfer agent, and you’re thinking about all the things that you have to do, but people tend to overlook the most basic of of activities that I would, I would say, are things that they should be looking at on an ongoing basis. And, you know, to incorporate into their current practices. And private companies typically don’t look at it because they think to themselves, Oh, the pigeon does investor relations and push it off into that’s a public company thing. With Reg A plus, and Reg CF, now, you’ve got large shareholder bases. So you’re starting to get a big need for companies to start communicating effectively, making sure they’re doing it within, you know, the regulatory framework. And, you know, you want it you want to do it in a way that, you know, kind of tilted to your advantage, too, right? I mean, you don’t want to just, okay, I have to the end of the quarter, it’s the end of the year, I’ve got to put out a release to my shareholders got to get them off my back. You know, they’re all hounding me for information. That’s kind of the opposite approach.
Peter Daneyko 03:01
Yeah, and it should never be like that. I mean, we look at issuers that are going on, you’re not raising, this is an investment journey. Most companies, they’re not raising capital once or twice, haven’t been an entrepreneur, havent raised capital, haven’t realized you never raised enough, like things happen. I mean, all the all the businesses that said, raise capital for COVID, what are you going to do with all with all of those employees, when you have to shut the door because you have nothing coming in, you still need the capital, you don’t want them to leave. But at the same time, though, those employees you’re going to be paying from you don’t know what you don’t know, when it ends, or things happening in, you know, in a variety of different spaces and the franchise conversations that were going on today. And I learned a lot there was things that, oh, if I’m going to do a large construction project, that’s going to take a certain amount of time, which just got but that time might be affected by things like weather might be affected by supply chain can be affected by a lot of variables. At the end of the day. It’s not one raise at a time. It’s multiple raises. And I think shareholder communications needs to touch at pre raise. What’s that? What’s you know, when we heard earlier in the day, how are you communicating with that potential investor and the marketing and the rules and the guidelines and the laws associated with it. While they’re not overly complex, you need to be aware of them to be effective. We’re seeing companies out there raising significant amount of capital especially with plus, or Reg A. Sara, we keep bouncing on Reg A, Reg A plus, but it’s $75 million. And we’ve seen companies raising you know, those kinds of dollars amounts today. But in doing so, it’s not just raise the money and and stop the communication. So from a PR standpoint, Jason, what are your thoughts? Or what are some of the experiences that you’ve seen.
Jason Futko 05:07
And I’m going to jump back just a little bit, Peter, because we jump this on Jason Futko, the co founder of KoreConX just to give a little intro, I spent over a dozen years doing corporate finance and investment banking, helping private companies raise capital, prior to this role at KoreConX. And I know Peter, you know, you’ve got a capital raising on your, on your picture here, but you’re also a pretty experienced salesperson. So that, you know, I want to explain how that ties into minute as well. But in terms of the shareholder communications, or shareholder management, which incorporates just shareholder communication, but everything to do with that shareholder management. So that’s communications, that’s what has traditionally been broken down into investor relations, public relations, you know, shareholder meetings, or corporate secretarial services. It kind of gets mixed together a little bit in the private world, because you probably don’t have the same definition of roles anyways, in a company. So you’ve got a lot more that gets sort of pinned on to this role. And if you can find a good person that can manage all that stuff, and connect with and prep, do the prep work and coordinate with the other groups of the organization. Such as marketing, sales, finance, because obviously, these things play a role in what you’re communicating, it’s very important. But back to your question, the pre raise, if you’re breaking it down into pre during and post a fundraise of those general management as a continuous function, you can almost say it’s pre, during, post, and then repeat, right? So in the pre, you’re going to be conscious of making sure that when you pick your partners and your fundraising efforts, that you’re picking ones that you can work with. Want to make sure, particularly from the shareholder management perspective, you want to pick your investor acquisition firm, marketing firms, those sorts of people, and you want to deal with them directly. You want to be able to make sure that the messaging that they put out and that they’re going with in that direction, is consistent with the messaging that you’re going to be putting out in the shareholder management and communication role. So you know, from a preparatory role, you want to make sure that you’re involved in that activity. And of course, you’re going to want to make sure that the messaging is key. And that you’re starting to reach out to not just your existing shareholders, but any potential shareholders and most private companies. Now they’ve been talking to people, probably, since they started or before you had the idea about investing in their company. So those people that they’ve been sort of keeping warm from on the back burner in terms of, yeah, we want to, you know, go and do a fundraise, but we’re not there yet. We want a good list of those people to go and to approach. And messaging to those people should be, you know, hey, we’re going to be doing a fundraising, we’d like your support, because the more support you get prior to the fund raise, and every crowdfunding platform broker-dealer and, and alike will tell you, the more momentum you bring into your fundraise, you’ve been talking to in the past, whether they’re potential partners, customers, or potential investors, helps you get through that crowdfunding raise quicker and with more success. So if you’re taking that leading role, and discussing those key things and highlighting the fundraise to these people, prior to you doing an active fundraise. You’re going to bring that momentum to the to the table as well.
Peter Daneyko 08:53
So what I’m hearing and what we’ve seen with lots of discussions with, with clients and those raising through crowdfunding, in general, you have different types of investors. I mean, right out of the gate, you got 285 million people that are potential investors, but you need to narrow that down and do that discovery early on. Are those are the customers of yours? Are they colleagues of yours? If you’re whatever industry you may be, or the impact investors, those are all different core constituents.
Jason Futko 09:29
Yeah, of course, these are all questions you’re going to ask and when you’re trying to assess your target market, and you’ll go through this with your investor acquisition firm. There’s going to be a target market that you’re approaching with this with your potential offering. Of course, customers are always a good source and and if you flip that on its head you know, existing shareholders are essentially your best customers, right? And you know this and I’ll let you get into a little bit of this brand ambassador stuff I mean, as a salesperson, who better to promote your product than people who have bought into you and your company, and, and so forth, so, so that really there’s a lot of momentum, right?
Peter Daneyko 10:12
Yeah, 100% I think we miss. I mean, if we, if we look at the history of capital raises, hey, the qualifiers where you have money. You may not care about me, you may have no vested interest is what I do. You just you might like the idea. And at the end of the day, are you going to get a return on your investment with the crowdfunding perspective is we as companies try to identify their audience. They have to think that and recognize that probably the best example was put, I had the luxury of sitting in at a med-tech summit last week. And it was amazing, it was truly amazing. Here, you’ve got a whole bunch of serial entrepreneurs and doctors and scientists and biomedical people, and physicians. And then this goes to any industry, by the way, but I mentioned it just because what the salient point was, these doctors were going, I’ve got this idea, and they’re pitching it, and they’ve got traditional financiers there and institutional investors and banks there. And and I said, Well, do you know much about this crowdfunding? And the response was, yeah, I’m learning really more about it. And once they engage, and they learn about it, they go, you know, what. All of my nurses for 10 years have been asking, how do I invest in the things that you do? How do I invest in your companies. And so these are key constituents that they want to invest. And now that now the entrepreneur, not only can they control their company, but they all had, so I have the ability, from a communications perspective, to talk to these individuals. And those individuals talk to other individuals, when you look at what we’re talking about whether it’s said, a brand ambassador, that’s going to tell your story, because they happen to like the franchise that you’re with, with, but there’s also impact investors in the crowdfunding space. And those impact investors are individuals that say, you know, that touched my heart, somewhere, I’m investing with my heart as much as I’m investing with my wallet. And it might have affected their lives, a lot of those investments are really we talked about the franchise space where you might be building a building, and it might be two to three years to, from start to finish, and get everything off the ground, from the financing to the outreach, etc. But when you’re dealing in some sectors, it’s going to take you 10 years before you get a product, even market to market. So you’re going to be doing multiple, multiple raises. So all of this is about, you know, whether you’re putting a shovel in the ground is communicating with those investors. And, and if you’re competing with those investors, today, you better be communicating with them, you know, along with along that journey, because they’re going to reinvest. And after that, after the close of that investment, that’s where, you know, the small piece of this is the historical public markets where he said, Oh, the IR firm, that’s what they do. This is a different scenario here. This all I want to be talking to my investors at all different stages. And I will also want to communicate with them good and the bad news. Because all of us if, if we get some bad news, occasionally, we have, I want to know, the worst scenario is I don’t know what’s going on with the company, I don’t know what’s going on, you know, specifically to the news around it. So we have the technology today, I mean, the internet opened up the doors completely, completely for that. So we can reach out to you know, a wide, wider audience, and we have to do it pre we have to do it during, you know, during and we have to do it post and it’s that constant communication. It’s an it’s anything can be done. So cost effectively day because of the communication tools that exist. When you’re doing things like on a platform people, you know, we talked about things like cap tables in the earlier session where where the issuer is going to look into the cap table. And one of the questions here was, you know, how do you bring stakeholders together? Well, the stakeholder is the issuer. And the issuer is looking at the cap table, see what’s going on with his shareholders. But he also wants to he or she also wants to reach out to the shareholders. So some platforms help facilitate already, right?
Jason Futko 14:27
Yeah, they’re already connected on the platform to their shareholders. Why not manage it the same way? Right. So you’re right there, there is a way of doing it. Technology’s there. You mentioned brand ambassadors and just so everybody understands when he says brand ambassador. You know, we’re talking about investors and powering your investors. We are at a point now where if you provide enough communication these are investors who believe in you that believe in your story. Enough to buy into your company, hence, they believe in your product. So they’re probably recommending it to other people, they probably can help you open doors that you probably didn’t even know existed from a perspective of partnerships or other things like that. So always keep in mind that empowering your investors to help you and your business sense is great. And of course, back to Peter’s point, good news, bad news doesn’t matter. Tell them, you know, the worst thing you can do is go through a hard time, you know, we just went through COVID, for example. I mean, there’s a lot of businesses that struggled and some that didn’t make it. And so unfortunate, but at the same time, the more you communicate with your investors and let them know the situation you’re in, the more they’re able to help. I mean, a lot of these people have extra money to invest because they’ve been successful. And in one thing or another, and maybe that is something that can draw, that you can draw on moving forward. And whether it’s, you know, accessing somebody that’s in charge of financing at a bank, whether it’s in charge of, sorry, accessing other investors, because they’ve got a high net worth investment club, you know. Frequent or whatever the case is empowering those people to help you and your business is critical at all stages, that’s pre, during, and post. But, you know, obviously, you’re going to have more investors each time you fundraise. So the post is going to be the juicy part of each fundraise, because you’re going to have that new new allocation of investors that you have to manage and communicate with, and keep on top of. So when you do that, obviously, again, when it flips back into pre your next round, you’ve got that big, larger shareholder base that you can start prepping for that next round of finance as well.
Peter Daneyko 16:44
There was th a note, a comment, just being made, talking about small investors, we’re talking about large investors, we’re talking about all kinds of investors in the community. But in the franchise space, for example, those investors may be inventing, you know, they’re vetting the offering of that, that new franchise, and that franchisor, that vetting itself may open the doors for that investor to go, hey, the crowd really is loving this deal. I want to actually buy a franchise, not just invest in someone else’s franchise. So it comes from multiple investors as well.
Jason Futko 17:20
So when searching, first of all, think about the nature of the type of investor that you’re reaching out to hearing crowdfunding, right? A crowdfunding investors not not a typical accredited investor. Credited investors have been seeing private deals for years, you’re talking about accredited investor, you’re talking about people who traditionally haven’t had access to these quality types of deals at this stage. It’s something they’ve been excited about. And that’s why the Jobs Act sort of has given them the access, but they’ve never had it. So their mentality is okay, what can I invest in, I can invest in real estate, or I can go into, you know, my bank, they’ve got a bunch of products, I can go to stock exchange, and I can invest in McDonald’s, or whatever it is. And they know the brand, they recognize the brand, they invest in that brand, they can buy in and out. So you gotta remember that mentality when you’re talking about crowdfunding investors, they’re not the traditional buy and hold long term investors even seeing in the accredited space. So you got to think about these things when you’re when you’re trying to talk to them. And of course franchise makes perfect sense. You’re right. If you’ve got a handful of franchises, people are already identifying with a brand. And they may not be buying the corporate, maybe they’re buying a franchise package. But but the point is, they still identify with the brand. So you know it, it provides you some great leverage that you wouldn’t have had. It’s the same thing when you get into people who are in media or telecom, they already have a huge they already have a huge social media following. And those social media followings really helped them drive to their crowdfunding campaigns. So whatever you can do in the planning and running of your crowdfunding campaign, to drive that traffic, whether it’s utilizing your brands that you’re associated with, utilizing your partners that you lean on, because they’ve got great experience, you know, a lot of people like dimension contracts, I got a great Costco contract and you know, we just need to ramp up to get to it, whatever it is, whatever it is you’re using as your means of getting to the financing. Those are the things you’re gonna lean on.
Peter Daneyko 19:37
Well, that that comes back down to we talk about brand evangelists, they love your brand, they love your story. They’re going to share it they’re sitting over coffee, Hey, I just invested in in particular company. That influencer in the influencer communication, I’m just looking at a note here their comment and the are influencers. And one of the things from a communications perspective, and this goes a little bit on the marketing, I mean, we’re talking a little bit about communication in general. And some of us were thinking about posts, but the communication that’s facilitated by Reg A and Reg CF. impart is the ability to incentivize your investors. It’s unheard of the some of the most successful raises that we’re seeing are raises that are doing multiple multiple raises, they’re incentivizing the investors then bring in the investor on that journey and saying, Hey, my shares at this raise was $5, a share their next raises at $15 a share. It’s like an IPO, they’re buying the story. And the story is real, because who’s to say that this isn’t the next. What next big thing? ISara says, don’t ask me to tell you what, what the winners and losers are going to be. We’ve seen some monster billion-dollar companies that did it through the crowd, and no and no accredited investor, no VC was we’re going to touch him after they’re successful, the institutions want to want to get in. But it’s because of how they communicated with with their with their investors, their customers, their audiences, it’s telling the story, you’re not selling the stock, you’re telling the story. So it is like you’re buying pre IPOs with a Reg A with a Reg A offering, the ability to trade those shares in the future is part of the communication there, you still need a market, you still need a buyer and seller. So we’re not going to, hey, who’s going to buy my shares today. The fact of the matter is, the vehicle in the in the exemptions are set up for that the regulation is set up for that. So you have some liquidity, we won’t get into that too much right now, because there’s a lot of different directions. But at the end of the day, it allows those shareholders to get in and out at a point that was really, really difficult with pre regulations. Again, I’ve got the share certificates in my drawer as I look back down there. And I don’t even know where these companies are. So that was enclosed. maybe who knows, your shareholders can help you drive to the net, you know, going through a tough time, they may be your backers and support you because you’re an inch away from success. It’s all about the communication.
Jason Futko 22:20
I think we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention quickly, the compliance side, obviously, you know. Shareholder management is key, and you want to be able to communicate. Particularly in the franchise space where, you know, as mentioned in the legal panels, etc. You have to be a little bit careful in terms of what you can release and what you can’t release based on your franchise contracts. So, again, like any business, but particularly franchise, you want to just be careful what you say how you say it. How you put it out there, you know, don’t tell people it’s gonna be a multi-million multi billion-dollar company. You know, don’t make a lender caims. And just make sure that you are on site from a compliance standpoint, when you’re going through this, there are external people that do this role. You know, it is a beneficial, talk to them if you have no idea how to do this yourself. And there are other components of it. You know, running your AGM. Ask your transfer agent, they understand running AGM, and how important it is every year to make sure your shareholders vote if they have voting shares, and finding ways to enable that, you know, in an efficient way, there are easy voting platforms, etc. So those are the kinds of things you’re gonna want to be careful of, as well, I, you know, I don’t want to put a damper on the discussion.
Peter Daneyko 23:43
No, but I think I think you can be as enthusiastic as passionate, you can tell your message using you know, multimedia tools. And you can be complaining at the same time. But one closing note on caution. Just because you saw it on the web, and you saw somebody else doing it, doesn’t mean it was right. Doesn’t mean it was it follow the rules and the guidelines and compliance, we see it a lot. I wouldn’t say a lot, but we see it enough that just do it right. The rules and regulations were they’re meant there to to provide you know, to really democratize capital, and you can do it right. And, and if you’re doing it wrong, you’re just gonna, you know, you’re gonna hurt everybody else in this space. I mean, at the end of the day, but again, so yeah, it takes a team. You know, in the earlier sessions, you got to talk to your lawyers, you got to talk to the broker-dealers. You got to talk to, you know, talk to the platform providers, talk to companies that have done it, you know, successfully and look at cases that didn’t work out because it’s a journey. But I firmly believe this isn’t. This isn’t getting smaller, this is getting much, much bigger. So we’re all advocates of the regulations, the rules, compliance Doing it right, using the right partners, and moving forward, and the investors are out there, the markets out there, they want to do this. So it’s fun. I mean, hearing the stories and providing the opportunities for some of these entrepreneurs. It’s amazing. It’s the best part of the job, by far, by far.
Jason Futko 25:19
Certainly. I think I think we’re at a time here.
Peter Daneyko 25:22
I think we’re at a time and on that note, I think we all want to we want to thank all the people that put this together from from, from this session anyway. And yeah, it was a great, great event that I think that the franchising team put it together. We’re just a small part of our jumping in here and talking about what we do, so I want to thank you. Thank you, everybody for that. Thanks so much.