Emma Sinclair MBE on the pros and cons of an IPO


“Think of an IPO as a real option quite early on in your entrepreneurial journey.”

That’s the advice from ‎serial entrepreneur Emma Sinclair MBE, founder of Enterprise Jungle and the youngest person in the UK to take a company public – she did so aged 29.

Sinclair was participating in a Female Founders Forum roundtable hosted by The Entrepreneurs Network at the London Stock Exchange.

The purpose of the discussion was to look at what needs to be done to ensure that more female founders scale their businesses and in particular, exploring why they should consider listing their companies on the stock exchange as a viable option to raise funds.

Although she admitted that it was often rare for entrepreneurs to start considering an IPO quite early on, Sinclair encouraged them to do so.

Despite it seeming like quite an inaccessible option and one that comes with “onerous responsibilities”, Sinclair said she believed it was truly accessible to everyone.

“I know the stock exchange seems a bit like an Ivory Tower, but it’s not,” she added.

Preparation is key

Lucy Tarleton, director of capital markets at PwC, who works with companies that are looking to IPO, alluded to the current instability in the financial markets but noted that getting funded was still a possibility.

Getting ready to IPO, Tarleton added, is a challenging process and one that companies should be well-prepared for and entrepreneurs should not be afraid to ask questions. “The success is all in the preparation.”

“The markets are a little wobbly at the moment but there’s still money out there. If you are ready then you can take advantage of the opportunities as they arise,” she added.

A scary process

What is really stopping some entrepreneurs from taking their companies public?

Irina Pafomova, managing director and co-founder of Shopitize, said: “I think going public is a great option to consider but it’s a scary process.”

Emma Titmus, business development manager at London Stock Exchange Group, acknowledged the challenges posed by listing a business, but re-assured entrepreneurs that an IPO did not equate to giving up control of their venture.

“Losing control through an IPO is a bit of myth,” she claimed. Tarleton weighed in, saying that going public could also result in greater visibility, both with investors and the media.

Interested in finding out more about going public? Emily Spaven, our editor, explores exit strategies here.