In 2021, global IPO activity hit an all-time high. A total of 3,022 new listings were announced last year globally and raised $601.2 billion collectively.
Among them was payment processing company Marqeta which made its debut on the market in June.
“I sat down with our team and the board, about 18 months ahead of the IPO, which is the length of runway you really need to get it done properly. It was never a milestone I had in mind when founding the company and it was a personal decision I thought a lot about,” Marqeta Founder and CEO Jason Gardner says. “Ultimately, the goal is to build a generational company and an IPO is one event that helps get us there. An IPO provided us with financial flexibility and liquidity to attack a massive global opportunity in front of us.”
On August 17, 2022 Gardner hosted webinar and shared his founder’s journey with Founders Network members during our August keynote presentation. As part of the event, he provided the process, build up, and experience of going public.
Here’s a sneak peak of Marqeta’s IPO process.
In Good Company
Prior to going public, Gardner took the opportunity to learn from other startup founders who have gone through the IPO process. There have been 5,887 IPOs between 2000 and 2022 in the United States alone. So, founders looking for advice have a pool to turn to.
“Anyone else considering going through the IPO process should talk to a lot of other founders who have done the same thing,” Gardner says. “I got some great insight from this. I could see that we were all entrepreneurs. We love what we do. And we do it for the experience. This felt like another piece of the challenge of building a company, like climbing another mountain. I’m a disciplined person and I saw that if I could bring that to the process and engage with that challenge, I could draw a lot of energy from it. I ended up loving the roadshow so much, the process of talking to investors of all types who were really engaged with what you do, that it ended up as one of the most joyful times of my life.”
Making the Transition
Two months after Marqeta went public, the company issued its first earnings report as a public company. In the report, the company showed net revenue of $122 million, up 76 percent year-over-year, with 76 percent growth in total processing volume and a 70 percent increase in gross profit.
Since then, Marqeta has continued to grow. In June, the company announced Marqeta was being integrated into Western Union’s digital bank platform in Europe. And later that month, the company announced a significant expansion of its credit platform with a new, intuitive dashboard and over 40 new credit APIs that enable customers to design, test, and launch differentiated credit card experiences.
“You have to have intellectual curiosity in an entirely new process and different system of governance behind your company. It’s stressful, but I’ve found a lot of joy in it. You have a whole new constituency, your public investors, to serve,” Gardner says. “A lot of your job is the same though. I love our customers and I love building beautiful products. When you’ve finished the journey of going public, you also get to take a deep breath and refocus yourself on the core business, which is great.”
Focusing on People
While going through the IPO process has partly changed how Marqeta operates, it hasn’t changed Gardner’s core focus: People. Research shows that having highly engaged employees can lead to a 202 percent increase in performance.
“I think as the years have gone on, I’ve realized within the last five or so years that companies are really built with people. People need a lot of different things. And a lot of different people need a lot of different things,” Gardner says.
“There’s the idea of success and building this great business and great technology and having great customers. But you also have to be focused on people and what they need: the career goals that they’re going to want to hit, what they need to hear from you on a weekly and monthly basis. That’s a really important part which you can’t overlook. So, there’s building the business and the technology, but there’s also building a system to support the people and the human aspects of building a business. Today, I handle both in an equally important way. I’m a lot happier as a person in doing that, and I’ve seen a lot more success in focusing on both of those.”
In his keynote Gardner covered:
- Managing a company through the pandemic
- Dealing with the hyper-growth of digital payments in the last 2 years
- Adjusting the company culture and philosophy of work to a hybrid environment
- The adjustment of going from private company CEO to public company CEO
- Managing company morale during a market downturn