What You Need To Know From Square’s IPO Roadshow Video

November 9, 2015, 10:37 PM UTC
Twitter's Dorsey Vies With SoftBank's Son for Japan Shopkeepers
Fumiko Yajima, owner of vegetable store Suika, swipes a credit card through a Square Inc. card reader plugged into an Apple Inc. iPad at the store in this arranged photograph taken in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013. Consumers in Japan paid cash for about 56 percent of their 279 trillion yen of purchases last fiscal year, while 12 percent was paid with plastic, Tokyo-based card company Credit Saison Co. estimates. Photographer: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Yuriko Nakao — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Payments company Square has released a video for potential investors in its initial public offering as it prepares to pitch Wall Street to buy shares.

Companies publish so-called roadshow videos, typically narrated by key executives, to tell investors about their mission. Square’s is no different with CEO Jack Dorsey, his team of executives, and merchants that use its service featured throughout the 38 minute video.

It looks like a cross between a commercial and an employee recruitment film with occasional softball questions tossed in from off camera (“Why is it called Square?”) Not surprisingly, company executives think the business is great.

Square submitted its public documents for an IPO in October, after filing confidentially earlier this summer. It will list on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker symbol “SQ,” with Goldman Sachs serving as lead underwriter. The company is expected to formally list on the NYSE the week prior to Thanksgiving. The filing valued Square, a perennial money loser for the past few years, at $4 billion.

Here are the big takeways from Square’s video:

— It’s very different from Twitter’s roadshow video, released prior to the company’s IPO in 2013. Twitter’s roadshow presentation starts with two minutes of pure corporate marketing followed by a 30 minute financial presentation of slides narrated by former CEO Dick Costolo.

In contrast, Square’s roadshow video did away with slides. Instead, executives explain the company’s financial details with cheery enthusiasm in front of a white background and occasional graphics. Merchants extolling Square’s payments technology get a lot of airtime too. It’s essentially one long sales pitch peppered with numbers for Wall Street to chew on. In some ways, it’s very similar to Facebook’s IPO roadshow presentation and video, which included CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, and other executives.

— In addition to Dorsey and his co-founder Jim McKelvey, Square’s video features a number of other top executives. The decision to include them comes amid investor questions about how Dorsey operates two public companies at the same time (he’s also CEO at Twitter). The point of the video, it appears, is to show off Square’s deep bench including Sarah Friar, who worked previously at Salesforce and Goldman Sachs, and Françoise Brougher, a former Google executive who leads Square’s business and sales operations. The implicit message is that there’s plenty of adult supervision.

— Square’s video also features investors and board members. Former Goldman Sachs chief financial officer David Viniar, Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker, Basketball great Magic Johnson, Sequoia Capital partner Roelof Botha and investor Vinod Khosla (who just stepped down from Square’s board) all spoke in the video. None of them said anything particularly noteworthy, but they sure do think Square is great.

— You better like black if you want to be a Square executive. Every one of them wore black clothes — either a t-shirt or long sleeve shirt — like a uniform in the video. It’s no secret that Dorsey envisions himself as a next-generation Steve Jobs, who liked to wear black turtlenecks. We’ll just have to wait and see if fashion sense translates into a successful IPO.

For more on Square’s IPO, watch this video:

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