The IPO Playbook: An Insider’s Perspective on Taking Your Company Public and How to Do It Right

Steve Cakebread

Publisher: Silicon Valley Press Pages: 214 Price: (hardcover) $29.95 ISBN: 9781733959131 Reviewed: October, 2020 Author Website: Visit »

IPOs are hot again, and in this enormously thorough and helpful book, Steve Cakebread— a CFO who guided three companies (Pandora, Salesforce and Yext) through successful offerings— details the steps necessary for other companies to follow.

Cakebread’s book is not for novices: It addresses CFOs of growing companies that will achieve at least $100 million in revenue in the next two years. His book has no glossary, and the author assumes his readers will understand sentences laden with finance and business terms like “Usually, I look to get the Qs filed with the SEC by the Friday of earnings call week.” When hiring sales people, the author suggests learning “how many sales clubs they made during their time with previous employers.”

Cakebread reports that a company seeking an IPO will spend at least $4 million on the process, from rebuilding its finance team with accounting specialists who also have “interpersonal skills” to the “private jets and car services [that] are a must” for its pre-IPO roadshow. He writes that a well-structured IPO takes two years and, in the appendix, provides a timeline for the 94 steps required, from improving internal controls to setting up a whistleblower hotline.

The author also delivers colorful stories and information from his personal experiences. When warning CFOs against issuing credit cards in employees’ names, for example, Cakebread writes: “In one case a sales executive in Europe bought a Porsche on his company credit card and charged it to airfare.” And when providing guidance on opening day protocols when a company going public is invited to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, Cakebread advises CFOs to plan carefully, because the Exchange’s podium holds only 14 people.

According to the Wall Street Journal, 235 companies held IPOs in the first nine months of this year, more than any year since 2000. Any CFO hoping to join them would be wise to first read Cakebread’s highly-detailed and comprehensive book.

Also available in hardcover.

Author's Current Residence
New York, New York
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