Attending a Shareholders Meeting

Attending a Shareholders Meeting

The season of meeting with shareholders is finally upon us. Today’s main goals are 1) to approve the major agendas of the companies we are invested in and 2) to see whether or not we can successfully exit(withdraw) our initial investments.

From time to time, we do get worrisome updates from our startups, such as the dismissal of certain core members of the executive team. I'm crossing my fingers hoping that today's meeting is smooth sailing.

The first company I visited is a fintech company that was established seven years ago. When I arrived at their new office, the staff greeted me very kindly and led me to the CEO's office.

When I entered the room, my eyes immediately went to the plethora of certificates and awards proudly displayed on the wall. Looking at these, I recalled the initial meeting I had with the founder when they came in to make their investment pitch. This company is currently still focused on solidifying the development process for their technologies and has yet to decide on a business model.

Thankfully, at today's meeting, there were 7 attendees in total, and the CEO shared some good news with us. He calmly yet confidently expressed that he has become a business partner with a large global company headquartered here in South Korea.

I was very pleased to see that not only were all presentation materials printed and professionally bound, but the presentation was conducted in a very even-keeled manner. Through this meeting, I was able to get a solid understanding of where the company currently stood, as well as what their plans for the future looked like.

The meeting minutes were passed and there were no vetoes or disagreements. Both parties were able to amicably end the meeting with the understanding that we would soon be able to exit our investment funds.

One of the attendees at this meeting was a major initial shareholder who invested in this fintech company six years ago. His investment decision reminds me of the saying that "‘70% of investing hinges on the moment that you can finally withdraw your investment.’

I moved on to my second meeting of the day. This biotech company was bigger than the fintech company I visited earlier in the day, and in total there were 13 attendees.

We had a vibrant discussion and covered a variety of topics. First on the docket was about whether or not stock options should be issued to employees.

Traditionally, investors aren't a fan of issuing stock, but for tech companies, it's a necessary tradeoff so as to retain highly educated and technically proficient staff.

We also received an update from the COO, who shared about the company's current status, including that they recently were successful in attracting investment from biotech companies based in the U.S.

The shareholders who attended the meeting seemed to have a lot of experience investing in biotech startups, and were able to share sincere advice and insight based on their experience. They also pointed out some potential blind spots in existing plans, so as to help minimize risk.

It's a misconception that startups can do it all on their own, especially in today's hyper-competitive space. It takes a village to truly be successful, and without the lived experiences and hard to come by insight from business partners and investors, the reality is that many startups end up failing.

Startup CEOs and investors alike deserve a heartfelt round of applause for continuing to work through the innumerable hurdles that will inevitably continue to come their way.

And that's a wrap to a day in my life at a startup accelerator.