InvestorEye adds social dimension to investor communications
For many companies, managing investor relations means unilateral communications, which may turn into a strategic pitfall. On the other hand, small-scale investors often find it difficult to locate easily understandable investment information on companies. Investoreye offers a tool that solves both of these problems.
Different-sized companies are faced with different challenges when it comes to investor communications. Not nearly all major listed companies gain media visibility, which means that there are many companies on the Helsinki stock exchange whose shares are hardly traded at all. Startup companies are not faced with the issue of investor communications until they are in desperate need of money.
“The companies then frantically visit all sorts of events, selling their idea. Investor communications should be much longer term and ongoing: basically, companies should never stop pitching to keep investors’ interest alive. In the end, it’s about marketing; only, rather than a product, the item marketed is ownership in the company,” says Laura Kuittinen.
Kuittinen knows exactly what she is talking about. She is the CEO of a FinTech startup named InvestorEye. The service developed by InvestorEye is targeted at bringing together companies and small-scale investors.
“InvestorEye is a tool that allows companies to target investment information at private investors,” Kuittinen explains. “As far as listed companies go, small-scale investors are in a fairly unfavourable position when it comes to receiving information and reacting to it. We want to improve the situation for the average consumer.”
Investor communications through social media
InvestorEye is a browser or mobile based app that investors can use free of charge when searching for information on companies as investees. The service encompasses both listed companies and growth companies, for example. The service allows companies to handle their investor communications proactively and quickly, for example, by answering the direct questions of investors.
The companies joining the service are charged a small fee which is determined by the number of investors that they reach with their message. If no one listens, there is no need to pay.
Real-timeness and socialness are two of InvestorEye’s important attributes. Despite the fact that social media has gained popularity in almost all of the other areas of corporate communications, its opportunities are still largely underutilised in investor communications. That is why InvestorEye’s goal is to add a social dimension also to investor relations.
The tool, launched in 2015, is unique in the world, according to Kuittinen. Of course, there are services that assist institutional investors in making investments. However, these services are a far cry from the reality of small-scale investors and offer little help to small-sized listed companies.
“Those listed companies that do not gain visibility are also unattractive to large-scale investors, who find them to be too small as investees,” Kuittinen explains.
Towards market leadership
The service has already attracted users – both companies and investors. According to the market survey conducted by InvestorEye, 65 per cent of Nordic companies welcome this type of service with open arms. Some would be ready to jump in right away, while others prefer to wait and see what happens to those who were the first to join.
Investoreye has never perceived Finland as a single market; it has had its sights set on the Nordic countries from the get-go. This spring, the company is heading for Central Europe.
Kuittinen has a background in the banking sector. Currently she works full-time at InvestorEye.
“I worked for 13 years in a bank, largely dealing with matters that had already been prepared by others and using processes that had been specified in great detail. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of being an entrepreneur has been the freedom of choice – quite often you have to make decisions based on incomplete information and common sense. On the other and, freedom is also the best aspect of entrepreneurship,” Kuittinen says.
Evidently, she has made the right choices. Headquartered in the small town of Riihimäki in Southern Finland, InvestorEye today employs six people full time. The company’s future is planned out:
“We want to be the world’s number one in investor relations communications tools. We do see that there is also room for other players on the markets, but we intend to be the market leader and the top-of-mind company in this sector,” Kuittinen says.
Text: Anna Korvenoja