We’re proud to say that by 2022, a.network will be a publicly traded company. A company comprising great teams, great businesses and great operators. Under my purview as chief financial officer, there are two requisites for this monumental goal: vision and collaboration.
As the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the physical workplace, so too did it shift our outlook on how we work with others. The metrics and the avenues through which we collaborate have become hybridized, and so far it seems to be working out well. Where it was once the case that merging or partnering companies required the sharing of physical space, there are now systems in place that eliminate that proximity requirement.
a.network embodies the next phase in the evolution of the workforce and workplace given all our operations are rooted in collaboration—whether that collaboration happens in the physical, hybridized or digital space, it really doesn’t matter. What truly matters is that in the last 18 months, we’ve learned what it truly means to collaborate. Now we’re ready to implement that knowledge into a workable solution for growth.
It’s more clear to me now than ever that guidance and collective intelligence is far more important to smaller agencies who’ve potentially been jolted by the effects of the global lockdown and its aftermath. What a.network can provide those companies is the opportunity to exist as a single or limited-discipline company while operating within our multidisciplinary network.
There’s strength in numbers. Those who were caught off guard or were not in the best position to service sustainably or even better during the pandemic, a.network is the opportunity to shed that inability, thus future-proofing itself against the possibility of another global fallout. Just look at the defining features of companies that were successful in the post-pandemic world: solid infrastructure, great talent and financial backing—three components, along with collaboration and diversity, that a.network can offer. This realization and our plan for implementing it as part of our road to an IPO is primarily exciting for like-minded companies for the three following reasons.
In order to have a successful and scalable company, the infrastructure must be conducive to sustainability and growth. a.network has been investing in and working on its IT, HR and financial infrastructure for the last 10 years or more, and really intensively for the last six years.
Companies interested in coming under the a.network umbrella are already successful, but they may just be starting out, they may be growing faster than they can keep up with and may need help with their infrastructure. Or they may not have the financial backing to invest hard dollars into infrastructure.
We’ve been fine-tuning our systems, not for the purpose of sustainability as we had when we first began, but for the purpose of scalability and adaptability. This means once the onboarding phase is complete, an incoming company will instantly be ready for take-off.
The second element of interest to incoming companies is the way a.network values businesses within our infrastructure. a.network provides the technology and the SAAS platform that network companies can bolt onto their name, thus increasing their valuation. Once they’re through the door, we provide them the technologies and data that will directly improve both their top and bottom line.
As an example, let’s say a service company is interested in joining a.network and their valuation is six times its earnings. Not a bad business to be in. But as soon as that company has the access and ability to add technology and scalable infrastructures into their business model, the multiplier by which they’re judged on Wall Street is taken to new heights.
That service company’s valuation may now be 10, 15 or 20 times its earnings.
In essence, by joining a.network, what was once a relatively successful service provider is now a very successful technology and brand accelerator, in addition to a service provider. How do we know this? Because we did it. a.network has evolved its business model over time from a pure advertising agency and consulting model to a technology and data-first digital marketing business.
Brick & Mortar
The last element is really two – revenue and operations. As a part of the network, we’d be able to service more revenue for incoming companies, and here’s a summation of how it works. The premise of our “Listen. Create. Share.” model is that no matter which door a company enters through, as a part of the network construct, we’re able to sell more in the other two doors. This is particularly intriguing to companies who’ve become successful for finding their niche market and sticking to it. Their particular discipline and how they operate within it is a part of their secret sauce.
a.network allows them to carry on with that vision while we offer the other two services, thus rounding out the network company and even insuring it against unforeseen disruptions to their business model. Needless to say, rounding out the services a particular company offers its clients will have a direct dollar impact on its revenue and growth.
The second portion of this is simple: operation. In financial terms, this translates into better profit margins. How am I able to make this kind of claim? Ayzenberg has been operating within a.network for the last 10 or so years. We’ve gone through the journey of building infrastructure, investing in technology, valuing technology, creating and implementing the SAAS platform and learning how to service more revenue for our businesses with a better bottom line. None of these feats came overnight. Our hope for a.network is that once a company comes on board, it won’t take them five, six, or 10 years to get to where we’re at today.
Once we really start approaching IPO, we’ll have an infinitely better story to tell because we’re valued at a completely different multiplier. And that’s one of the final elements that makes a.network appealing to companies. As a result, we anticipate an IPO launching within the next two to three years.
And we’re taking a.network participants with us. The forward-focused companies we partner with will receive a multiple-fold lift on their valuation—a result that would otherwise only be possible with an immense amount of time, investment and trial and error. What I know for sure, given that we’ve already gone through the process, is that those within the a.network will get to that greater valuation faster with us than without us.
The time has come for us to propel ourselves into the future together. We’re looking for great businesses and operators with a vision to get there faster with our help and together rather than on their own.