Road to IPO

Road to IPO There is no typical IPO candidate

One of the main reasons for a company to go public is to raise growth financing. The total capital raised initially from an IPO is significantly higher than the amount made possible through financing rounds with venture capitalists in Europe. Going public makes it possible to access capital not previously available before an IPO. This comes from several sources, such as institutional investors, equity capital from investors, family offices, asset managers and retail investors. Investors that are directly associated with Deutsche Börse represent 35% of the world’s institutional capital. For example, Delivery Hero’s IPO raised € 989 million for the company, independent of financing through banks. This expands the entrepreneurial scope for growth, internationalisation, innovation, research, and development as well as acquisitions.

Plus: Listed companies have the option to conduct recurring capital increases. This helps raise the capital that companies need as they grow and which the dynamic markets of the digital industry require. Therefore, an IPO offers long-term access to capital, insuring competitiveness.

More reasons for a start-up to go public


  • Strengthens equity base and improves credit worthiness – this in turn facilitates the procurement of debt capital.
  • Offers current investors, like business angels and VCs, an attractive exit option – they can sell their shares during the IPO.
  • Increases the awareness of a company and its products. Going public is a high publicity event that goes hand in hand with broad media coverage, which gives a company a lot of visibility on both the German and European markets.
  • Increases trust among customers, business partners and banks. The company valuation on the capital market takes place in real time and the company will be included on leading German, European, and global benchmark indices followed by investors, such as STOXX and DAX.
  • Increases attractiveness as an employer, not only through its heightened reputation, but also because employees themselves can invest in the company.
  • Offers interesting opportunities to meet other businesses through Deutsche Börse’s network of contacts.

Reasons to go public at a glance


  • Access to capital
  • Strengthening of equity base
  • Financial independence
  • Working capital
  • Creation of an acquisition currency
  • Ensuring growth, especially in sales, human capital and innovation


  • Ability for asset diversification and partial exit of existing shareholders
  • Participation in the future growth of a company
  • Securing business succession

Human Resources

  • Involvement of management and employees in company success
  • Help attract new talent to management positions


  • Expansion of market positon
  • Organic and acquisition-based growth
  • Increase in brand-awareness
  • Consolidation of fragmented market (M&A)
  • Internationalisation
  • Assurance of competitiveness

What are my options? Listing possibilities beyond an IPO

The traditional IPO is the listing of a company's shares on an organized capital market. Shares from the portfolios of existing shareholders will be offered in connection with a capital increase. This is also referred to as an initial placement. While the IPO is the most famous way to raise financing on the capital market, there are additional listing trends:

Direct listing: In a Direct Listing process, existing shares (founder, employee and investor shares) will be listed without raising capital. You can find more information on this in our podcast.

SPAC: A SPAC or acquisition purpose company with no own business operations. Its sole objective is to raise capital through a listing, the proceeds of which are subsequently used to acquire a non-listed company within a limited period of time and to indirectly list it on the stock exchange.

IPO-Bonds: IPO candidates may use convertible bonds or bonds with stock options, combined with a direct listing of the created shares on the IPO exercise date.
If you would like to learn more about the options of going public: We offer dedicated workshops for investors as well as growth companies to address all of your questions.

Checklist: Is my start-up ready to go public?

An IPO can be a realistic goal for a start-up. The following checklist shows that the steps one needs to take are not too difficult.

These are the main criteria a company needs to fulfil to become an attractive IPO candidate:

✓ Attractive equity story
✓ Competitive products/technologies
✓ Attractive market position with a sustainable, unique selling proposition
✓ Promising future prospects
✓ Efficient accounting/controlling
✓ Experienced management team
✓ Acknowledgement that internal proceedings will be viewed and discussed by the public

Essential preparations to go public

  • Creation of a time plan
  • Fact book as a comprehensive base of information of the company
  • IPO team consisting of a bank, lawyer, auditor, and investor relations manager
  • Revised company structure to include an executive board, supervisory board, financial reporting, investor relations and compliance
  • IPO concept
  • Due diligence
  • Preparation of consolidated financial statements
  • Creation of a stock prospectus
  • Presentation material for analysts, press sources and investors with a persuasive equity story

You are not left to figure this all out on your own!
Deutsche Börse and their capital market partners, are there to help you.


Step by step to an IPO: going public within one year

During the careful preparation for an IPO, companies will receive competent support from the Capital Markets Teams team of Deutsche Börse as well as from banks and advisors from the Deutsche Börse Capital Market Partners network. With this support, a Listing oder Going public in Frankfurt is possible in less than 12 months.

The four phases of an IPO

From the very first contact, Deutsche Börse supports companies on their way to an IPO. The most important steps are the following:

1. Planning and preparation

In an initial meeting with Deutsche Börse all questions of the future issuer will be answered. Companies learn how Deutsche Börse and its Capital Market Partners support them on their way to the stock exchange, e.g. with inclusion requirements, roadshows or Pre-IPO workshops. This is followed by the so-called beauty contest, which facilitates the selection of the appropriate syndicate bank(s). Depending on the desired listing segment, the company creates the necessary structures to meet the legal requirements (e.g. accounting and controlling).

2. Structuring

A detailed project plan brings together the corporate and financing strategy, followed by the issue concept and the equity story, which summarises the success factors and other details of the company. The due diligence is important in determining the value of the company. It provides information, which is incorporated into the central offer document, the prospectus.

3. Realisation and marketing

After the prospectus has been published, the issuing company advertises its IPO at analyst meetings, roadshows and investor presentations. The price range is determined. Then the shares are placed with institutional investors and via DirectPlace. The company and the bank jointly apply for the admission of the securities to the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FWB®). During the subscription phase, investors decide whether and at what price they would like to invest. The issuer and the bank use the offers to determine the issuing price. Now the allocation of the shares to investors takes place.

4. Pricing and secondary market

The price for the shares on the stock exchange is formed. During the IPO event on the trading floor of the FWB, the price for the first price is determined. The continuous trading on Deutsche Börse begins.


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Are you considering going public?

Benefit from our expertise and specific formats to gain in-depth know-how early on. Building a strong foundation will allow you to make informed decisions when choosing a capital market financing option to best suit your organisation. Find out if an IPO is a real option for your company in the next one to three years. We’ll be happy to answer all of your questions during a first consultation.

We support you on your way to the capital market – let’s discuss your journey today!

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