​Marcum MicroCap Conference 2016 Showcases the Capital Markets’ Growth Community

Henry Truc  |

For small and emerging growth companies in the $500 million and under market cap space, the capital markets can tend to be some tough waters to navigate. In recent years, a combination of regulatory and market dynamics has squeezed some much-needed resources of out this segment of the economy, leaving companies—which make up the majority of the public markets—in the lurch. Because of this, accounting firm Marcum LLP decided to launch an annual conference about five years ago to provide companies with a platform to communicate their value proposition to the investment community.

Since then, the event has thrived, and that’s evidenced by the 2016 Marcum MicroCap Conference, which is expecting yet another record level of attendees and participants. The conference has expanded to two full days, jam-packed with public and private company presentations, thought-provoking educational panels, and impressive keynote speakers in former Securities and Exchange Chair Harvey Pitt and political heavyweight Newt Gingrich.

Equities.com had the opportunity to catch up with David Bukzin, Partner-in-Charge of Marcum’s SEC Services Practice Group and New York Office, on this year’s event and what the over-2,000 attendees and participants can expect.

EQ: The Marcum MicroCap Conference continues to grow each year. What can we expect for the upcoming 2016 event?

Bukzin: It’s our fifth year and it will be our biggest conference ever. Last year, we expanded the conference to a day and a half, and this year, we’ve expanded it two full days.

Also, we had former Lehman Bros. CEO Dick Fuld as our keynote at the conference last year, which was his first major appearance since the collapse of Lehman Bros., and we were thrilled to have him as our speaker. This year, I think we’ve really outdone ourselves. We have Harvey Pitt, former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and someone who is really knowledgeable about all the challenges that entrepreneurial companies are facing. We’ve also got one of the greatest geopolitical analysts in the world in Newt Gingrich, who will give us some insight as to what he sees going on in the country and around the world right now, and how that’s going to really impact the economy. Of course, he’s promised to give us the view as an analyst and not as a potential vice presidential candidate.

EQ: When the conference first launched in 2012, it was a response to the dearth of awareness and networking resources for the microcap space. Many companies with $500 million or below in market cap were not getting any attention on Wall Street. What kind of issuers will be presenting this year?

Bukzin: I would say the types of companies are relatively consistent with previous years. I’m happy to say that there are some companies that have been presenting at all four, going on all five, years since the conference started. It will be a mix that reflects all the things that we’re seeing in the market: biotech, technology, retail and distribution, industrials, etc. So it’s a good blend of everything. There will also be some private companies that are in the process of or are considering Reg A+ offerings. We’re thrilled that this will be an outlet for some of these management teams.

EQ: Reg A+ is a relatively new segment of the market, but in many ways, it’s an extension of the kinds of companies that the conference has historically featured. How does this bring a new dimension to the event and the market?

Bukzin: Well, with the IPO market significantly down the last couple of years when compared to historical norms, and the negativity towards alternative public offerings (APO) or reverse mergers, these young entrepreneurial companies needed a way to access the public markets without having all the burden of a public reporting company. Some people refer to Reg A+ as almost like a mini-IPO or public company light. I think it’s a great way for companies to get themselves seasoned before they move on to a national exchange, which most of them have somewhere in their minds. I think these companies, having the ability to utilize the new testing the waters and general solicitation rules before they move forward with the whole SEC process, is just another way that allows these young entrepreneurial companies to have a shot at broader access to capital.

EQ: One of the key components of the Marcum MicroCap Conference each year is the stellar panels, which feature experts and pertinent topics for investors and issuers alike. Why has this always been a key emphasis for Marcum?

Bukzin: We essentially divide the panels into two types, and half are geared primarily to the interests of issuers or potential issuers, and the other half to the interests of investors. We do that for the obvious reasons of really wanting to create a broad base of panel topics that allow the industry experts that come to speak to really educate the entire attendee group. In terms of the design for the issuers and potential issuers, when these fragile, young companies decide to go public, their focus immediately goes from one business to two: the business of whatever they’re in, and then the business of being a public company. Once that occurs, you really have to have equal focus on both to have a success as a publicly traded enterprise. We really are trying to educate potential issuers on the process itself, and to emphasize some of these key factors that will lead to the success of the companies that decide to access the public markets for capital.

EQ: There is significant importance for these companies to understand all the requirements and best practices that go into being a public company. For the investors, the conference also features panels discussing ways to look at the market and opportunities, particularly certain sectors. How were these chosen?

Bukzin: In terms of just some back-of-the-envelope math, I would say about 30-40% of these companies are in the life sciences and biotech space. So we created a panel for the investment community to help them understand the more promising opportunities in the sector, what the markers are, and how to identify them. So we’ve got some leading industry experts, but we’ve also got some CEOs from some public biotech companies on the panel. We think it’s going to be a large panel, and we think it’s going to be highly informative.

We also have a cannabis panel because of almost all the industries that are out there, none have piqued the interest of the microcap community more than the cannabis industry. People are talking about it as the next multi-billion-dollar industry. But there are also the legal and regulatory limitations, which create certain restrictions. So we wanted to discuss that and the outlook. It’s an industry that has huge upside and opportunity but it also has some challenges as to whether these companies will ever be able to be fully fledged and federally legitimized businesses.

EQ: Do you have any final takeaways for our readers attending or considering attending the 2016 conference?

Bukzin: We’re accountants. We’re not bankers or investor relations people. We really wanted the event to reflect almost that of a symposium with really high level discussions and themes, not just have attendees running around jumping from presentation to presentation. It’s about really making this not only a great outlet for presenting companies to tell their stories to the investment community, but also to provide high-end keynote speakers and educational panels. We really wanted it to be something that showcases all the promise of the microcap and growth community. So we take it very seriously. We try to do it as high end as possible to provide as much value to the attendees as possible, and we think it kind of mirrors the way we’ve built our own business here at Marcum. We look forward to doing more of the same in the future.

For more information on the Marcum MicroCap Conference, visit http://marcumllp.com/MicroCap/

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

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