Of IPOs, unicorns and global pandemics


Do you ever lie awake at night wondering what’s it like to list companies to public markets during uncertainty & market crash caused by a global pandemic? Knew it, you’ve come to the right place then.

When you think about banks, you likely imagine us working mostly with large clients, right? That is often the case – but not always. Sometimes small is powerful, as our client Nanoform likes to see it. Nanoform is a growth company who has developed a ground breaking technology to solve a huge systemic problem in the pharmaceutical industry, where despite enormous R&D efforts too few drugs actually enter the market. We were preparing the listing of the company last spring when things took a bit of a turn. When the market takes its biggest drop since the financial crisis and nobody knows what the next month holds, you tend to think it’s time to pull the brake. But sometimes you just need to weather the storm and see if you come to the other side alive. This is definitely easier when you have the faith and enthusiasm of a client who targets to be a future unicorn. (My favorite thing so far in working with clients – when they’re genuinely 100% excited by what they do.)

Like most of our projects, IPOs don’t happen in week or two. We’re often talking about 6+ months. This is a long enough time period to include its own unique ups and downs – in last spring those included a pandemic. But what we learnt was that when you have a great underlying story, even a pandemic can’t knock the investor interest down. And although zoom calls can’t fully replace the face-to-face communication, the new situation forced all organizations to realize how many things can actually be done more efficiently. You don’t have to fly around from country to country to create a connection and get your message across, while pdf documents then again fly to the other side of the world in a matter of seconds. These realizations both enabled a successful listing in early June and taught the whole financial industry a thing or two.

Diversity is such a trendy word nowadays, but it truly is a strength that definitely keeps you from getting bored. Diversity in projects takes you from working with growth companies, such as Nanoform and Varjo, to planning cross-border transactions with listed multibillion euro companies and in the middle of a discussion of the role of Finnish ownership. Diversity within a team then again – that challenges you and gives you new ideas.

Wanna bring your own unique diversity to our team, or simply got interested of the above? Feel free to add me on LinkedIn and check out our internship program – the application period is open for a few more days. 😉

Kanerva Koskinen
SEB Corporate Finance