The stock market may be deteriorating now, but if given the chance to go back in time, Vicarious Surgical cofounder and CEO Adam Sachs would take his medical robotics company public all over again.
“The timing has to be right,” Sachs told Steven Bertoni, VP & Senior Editor of the Forbes CEO Network, at the Under 30 Summit on Monday in Detroit.
In agreement, Neil Parikh, cofounder of mattress startup Casper, added that while businesspeople have ultimate control at the onset of the company, many more players have a hand in the outcome of the IPO.
“When you’re trying to catch the right timing, you forget that this thing is like a train. Once the train is on the tracks, it’s really hard to slow or change the orientation of it. Because when you go public, you’d have around 100 people working on the IPO between bankers, lawyers, all of the investors,” Parikh said. “So that was one of the big learnings: The environment you’re in matters.”
With Sachs, Parikh and Hyliion founder Thomas Healy, Bertoni explored the process that leads to entrepreneurs ringing the stock exchange bell. Here are some words of wisdom from each of our panelists:
Don’t let the market get you down
Sachs encouraged company leaders to not spend too much time looking at share prices after going public. “You just kind of never know how the market’s going to be,” Sachs said. “You know what you’re doing. Just focus internally, right? You have a real company or real technology, you have the capital to execute. So go execute, and the rest of it will work itself out.”
Be prepared for highs and lows
Healy, the billionaire behind electric vehicle company Hyliion, warned that although there can be a lot of excitement surrounding IPOs, negative effects—such as competitors dragging down your valuation—are also a possibility.
“There’s not a one size fits all type of situation here,” Healy said. “If you’re exploring this opportunity or this path of going public, just be aware that: one; there’s a lot a lot of overhead that needs to be brought into an organization to be able to be public, and two; there’s a lot of things that you don’t control as much anymore because those train tracks that [Parikh] mentioned can kind of set some of your destiny.”
In preparation for going public, “talk to people who’ve done it before,” Parikh said. “You’d be amazed at how many people that have gone through the process, including all of us, would be happy to talk to people that are in that process and learn the contours of it. There’s a lot of asymmetry in that you are going to do it once. And your bankers and advisors have done it hundreds of times.”
When asked for a final tip, Sachs passed along some words that were shared with him before Vicarious Surgical went public through a SPAC in September: “‘Buckle the f*** up’ was fantastic advice.”