Is This The World’s Bravest Technology Company?

By on December 2, 2013
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At a time when even UK companies are snubbing London’s stock exchanges for the likes of NASDAQ and NYSE, why did Silicon Valley-based WANdisco list on AIM?

‘I don’t get it,’ says David Richards, chief executive of software firm WANdisco. We’re sitting in the Halkin Hotel in Belgravia and I’ve just asked him why his company, based in Silicon Valley, decided to list in the UK; when even homegrown startups, such as games maker King, are eschewing LSE and AIM for the US stock exchanges.

‘I’m convinced they do it because of perceived cachet and because they feel they need to. But if you look at our investor list it’s almost the same as any investor list you would find on any decent exchange like NYSE or NASDAQ. Just because you’re listed in London doesn’t preclude US investors from buying your stock.’

‘In fairness, in the UK we do have a dearth of cutting edge tech companies, so it might be because they want to be near their peers – but I hope other companies consider London because if it’s just an argument about valuations it’s nonsense.’

Richards’ defence of the UK stock markets is a rare one, other entrepreneurs aren’t so quick to put their faith in the LSE and AIM – Dan Wagner told MT a few months ago there is no way he could see himself floating in London. But Richards has another reason for being listed on a UK exchange.

‘I like it because we do have that unique factor – we’re one of the very few high growth tech companies listed in London so it gives us a scarcity value too.’

WANdisco’s story certainly crosses borders. It was formed over in California, San Ramon to be exact, in 2005, when two would-be venture capitalists were introduced to computer scientist, Dr Yeturu Aahlad. David Richards, one of the two investors in question, is an English expat hailing from Sheffield. With development teams in the US and both Belfast and Sheffield, its technology is used to avoid outages and counts the likes of HP and IBM as clients. Having grown without any investment up until its 2012 IPO, the company raised £15m when it floated (with a market cap of £37m) and just last month, raised a further £19m from investors.

‘I don’t get it,’ says David Richards, chief executive of software firm WANdisco. We’re sitting in the Halkin Hotel in Belgravia and I’ve just asked him why his company, based in Silicon Valley, decided to list in the UK; when even homegrown startups, such as games maker King, are eschewing LSE and AIM for the US stock exchanges.

‘I’m convinced they do it because of perceived cachet and because they feel they need to. But if you look at our investor list it’s almost the same as any investor list you would find on any decent exchange like NYSE or NASDAQ. Just because you’re listed in London doesn’t preclude US investors from buying your stock.’

‘In fairness, in the UK we do have a dearth of cutting edge tech companies, so it might be because they want to be near their peers – but I hope other companies consider London because if it’s just an argument about valuations it’s nonsense.’

Richards’ defence of the UK stock markets is a rare one, other entrepreneurs aren’t so quick to put their faith in the LSE and AIM – Dan Wagner told MT a few months ago there is no way he could see himself floating in London. But Richards has another reason for being listed on a UK exchange.

‘I like it because we do have that unique factor – we’re one of the very few high growth tech companies listed in London so it gives us a scarcity value too.’

WANdisco’s story certainly crosses borders. It was formed over in California, San Ramon to be exact, in 2005, when two would-be venture capitalists were introduced to computer scientist, Dr Yeturu Aahlad. David Richards, one of the two investors in question, is an English expat hailing from Sheffield. With development teams in the US and both Belfast and Sheffield, its technology is used to avoid outages and counts the likes of HP and IBM as clients. Having grown without any investment up until its 2012 IPO, the company raised £15m when it floated (with a market cap of £37m) and just last month, raised a further £19m from investors.

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