20VC: Behind The Scenes of a $Bn IPO Process, What Startups Can Learn From Teddy Roosevelt’s “Five Minute Meetings” and What John Lennon Teaches Founders About Storytelling with Howard Lerman, Founder & CEO @ Yext
Posted on 14th September 2018 by hstebbings1
Howard Lerman is the Founder & CEO @ Yext, the company that allows you to control your brand experience across the digital universe. Due in part to Howard’s incredible leadership of the firm, Yext went public in April 2017 with an opening price of $11 a share, today the stock price sits at $26.85 and a market cap of $2.65Bn. Prior to the IPO, Yext raised over $117m in VC funding from Insight Venture Partners, IVP, SV Angel and CrunchFund to name a few. As for Howard, Yext is his 4th company and he is also Co-Founder and Chairman of Confide, a leading off-the-record messaging service.
1.) How Howard made his way into the world of startups and came to Partner with is co-founders to start the now public company that is Yext?
2.) Why must every founder know about Teddy Roosevelt and his “Five Minute Meetings”? Literally, what is the right way to structure these meetings? What one question is the right question to ask? How can a leader look to retain that startup culture and ethos with scale? Why does Howard believe running a global company is like running a country?
3.) What have Howard’s biggest takeaways been from studying “John Lennon’s Storytelling Trick”? How can founders use this trick both to inspire their team more effectively internally and then to present a better vision for the company, externally?
4.) Howard has said before “fundraising is not an end in itself”. Does Howard believe that company financing should be celebrated? How was the IPO process for Howard? From a literal standpoint, how does the process run? How did Howard choose which banks to work with? How did the 10-day roadshow shape up? How did the pricing decision-making process look the night before IPO?
5.) Why does Howard believe it is fundamentally better being a public company? What does “public” status allow you? How does being public introduce a challenge never before seen to founders? Why must founders always examine the motives of the VC behind whether they are pushing them to remain private or go public?