May 31, 2013

Best of the Best

Best of the Best

Yesterday was the 2nd Annual Marcum MicroCap Conference, which was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. Since last year’s inaugural conference was such a resounding success for all involved, we decided to do it again.

The conference was the brainchild of David Bukzin, Partner-in-Charge of Marcum’s SEC Practice Group, which he started for the Firm in 1998. Under David’s leadership, our SEC practice has grown to become one of the top ten auditors of SEC registrants in the country. The MicroCap Conference was part of the natural evolutionary development of our SEC practice and highlights the entrepreneurial qualities of Marcum at its best.

David approached me early in 2012 with the idea of creating a conference at which microcap companies could be introduced to potential investors. While many investment banks run their own conferences, no one in the accounting world was meeting this need. During a ten minute conversation, David sketched out a rough budget on the back of a napkin, and we were off and running. In that short time frame, we were able to quantify the financial risk, and in the spirit of “build it and they will come,” we knew it wasn’t going to be a total flop. So we made the leap, and it paid off.

The 2012 inaugural conference attracted 62 presenting companies and 800 attendees. It was held at the Roosevelt Hotel, which was close to Grand Central Station and could accommodate our needs at that time. From the beginning, we believed in our idea and anticipated success, but the outcome exceeded even our most optimistic expectations. What the event ended up costing us in real dollars was repaid several times over by sponsorships, the extensive publicity the event generated and several new clients who can be traced back directly to the conference. All in all, it was a good day at work. We built it, and they came.

What last year’s conference ultimately achieved was confirming the continuing need for a forum focused on the microcap market, which would bring investors seeking the highest quality investment opportunities together with best-of-the-best microcap companies in search of capital. So this year, in true Marcum fashion, we decided to make it an even bigger and better event. We got a much earlier start in planning, and we upgraded to the much larger Grand Hyatt Hotel, which doubled our capacity both for presentations and attendance.

Yesterday we were host to over 120 presenting companies from the U.S., Europe, Asia and South America and 1,600 registered attendees. Our keynoter was Steven Rattner, Chairman of Willet Advisors, the investment arm for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s personal and philanthropic assets, who previously led the Obama administration’s successful effort to restructure the automobile industry. And to end the day with a little color and fun appeal, we engaged Susie Essman, a star of the HBO comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm, to perform her standup routine during cocktails.

The Marcum Microcap Conference, in just two short years, has become Marcum’s signature tent pole event in NYC. It’s a true example of the entrepreneurial culture of our firm. While it’s an event that benefits us tremendously in a multitude of ways, it also provides a valuable service to microcap companies seeking a professional environment in which to be introduced to potential investors. It’s a win/win for all involved – the presenting companies, the investors in attendance, our many sponsors, and us, as the organizers.

All of this as a result of a ten minute conversation and a budget on the back of a napkin. Perhaps more business needs to be done this way.