When you operate, govern, and invest billions of dollars in small-cap companies – as we have – there are many takeaways. Chief among them is that there are few harder jobs than leading a small-cap company.
Life for small-cap officers and directors is lonely, and even the most confident among them will experience bouts of severe self-doubt.
Volatile stock prices embolden every form of would-be advisor to tell them what they are doing wrong. To make matters worse, even the most credentialed of those advisors have cringeworthy conflicts of interest.
Small-Cap Institute’s mission is simple and daunting at the same time: to maximize the chances of success for forward-thinking, small-cap leaders through a first-of-its-kind community. A community only open to small-cap officers and directors, where they can learn from renowned investors, from capital markets experts, and from … each other.
Our ecosystem [currently in beta] is designed to elevate objective, differentiated education and transformative peer exchange, and empower small-cap leaders to avoid value-destructive advice. And given how important small-cap companies are to our country’s economy, we decided to make basic membership free.
One CEO told us during our formative diligence: “If I want an unvarnished investor perspective on how to avoid common financing pitfalls, or I’d like to ask a group of CEOs about their experiences with different service providers or investor conferences… there is absolutely nowhere to turn.”
To that CEO, and countless other small-cap officers and directors: we heard you loud and clear.
David A. Scher
During a 15-year tenure investing his family’s capital in small-cap companies, David has met with hundreds of small-cap officers and directors. He has occupied a front row seat to the unique challenges that routinely vex small public companies, and seen how otherwise smart, well-intentioned CEOs and boards make similar, repetitive, value-destructive decisions. A natural problem solver, he realized through years-long observation that the problem was an educative one. More specifically, the capital markets, corporate finance, and corporate governance issues that small-cap CEOs and boards face lack intuitive answers. In place of those intuitive answers is often the highly variable advice from service providers who are simply guessing how investors think. Consequently, in 2017, David founded Small-Cap Institute, and began to work on assembling that missing, comprehensive, educative resource. In addition to his career as a full-time investor, David joined LD Micro in 2014 to help manage the construction of the first true micro-cap index – the LD Micro Index – and oversee the rebuild of the ldmicro.com website. Now utilized by thousands of investors monthly, the assets represent the most accurate rendering of the state of the micro-cap market versus other indices in the U.S. capital markets. At LD Micro, David is also responsible for planning and executing LD Micro’s industry leading conferences each year, wherein over 5,000 one-on-one meetings between investors and micro-cap companies are facilitated. As a result of his work with LD Micro, David occupies a unique vantage point from which to understand at a granular level which issues are most troubling to small-cap CEOs and boards.
Editorial Advisory Board
CEO, Issuer Direct (NYSE: ISDR)
Dr. Rollie Carlson
CEO, Immunexpress, Inc.
Investor, Founder of MicroCapClub
Adam J. Epstein
Founder, Third Creek Advisors
Associate Editor, Agenda (Financial Times)
Amanda Gerut is an associate editor with Agenda, a corporate governance publication, published by Financial Times. Amanda writes about board structure, CEO succession planning, executive talent development, director recruitment, board evaluations and director compensation. Currently, Amanda also serves as an advisor on journalism and reporting issues and as a senior editor for environmental, social and governance issues at CleanTechIQ, a publication focused on renewable energy and venture capital financing.
Ben Cotton is a 21-year veteran of the US Army, Special Operations Command (SOCOM). Mr. Cotton specialized in sensitive site and digital device exploitation, Computer Network Attack (CNA), and Computer Network Defense (CND). He is the founder of CyFIR, LLC, an industry-leading computer forensics and incident response firm serving both public and private industry.
Priya Cherian Huskins – SVP of D&O, Woodruff Sawyer
Priya Cherian Huskins is a partner at Woodruff Sawyer, and a recognized expert in D&O liability risk and its mitigation. She is the author of the popular D&O Notebook blog, where she writes about current issues effecting directors and officers of public and large private companies in the areas of D&O liability, insurance, and corporate governance. She serves on the board of Realty Income Corp. (NYSE: O).
Beatriz Infante – CEO, BusinessExcelleration
Beatriz Infante is a 4x CEO, former direct report to Larry Ellison at Oracle, and a veteran of more than 12 corporate boards. Named by Financial Times as one of the country’s “Top 50 Digital Directors,” she has unparalleled experience with small-cap shareholder activism — she’s been on boards confronted by activists, and she’s also been installed on boards by activists.
Ravi Kumar – Partner, Connor Group
Ravi is a Partner in Connor Group’s Technical Accounting and IPO Services Practice, advising and preparing prominent high growth companies as they scale their businesses towards an IPO or M&A transaction. Ravi has over 15 years of cross-functional, multi-national professional services experience, including Big 4 audit, M&A and deal advisory, and IPO readiness assistance.
Bob Lamm – Partner, Gunster
Bob Lamm co-chairs Gunster’s Securities and Corporate Governance practice, and he is a special advisor to Deloitte’s Center for Board Effectiveness. Previously, Lamm was assistant general counsel of Pfizer, and held senior legal positions at W. R. Grace, CA Technologies, and Financial Guaranty Insurance Company.
Mike McGlynn – Vice President of security solutions, World Wide Technology
Mike McGlynn spent 25 years working at the National Security Agency. Since leaving NSA in 2010, he has been vice president of security solutions at World Wide Technology and is a member of the CyFIR, LLC board.
Susanne Meline, Co-Founder Francis Capital Management
Susanne Meline is a co-founder of Francis Capital Management, a manager of small-cap hedge funds for 20 years. She formerly specialized in turnarounds and restructurings as an investment banker at Houlihan Lokey and attorney at Jones Day. Susanne has sat on the boards of private and public companies, serving as lead independent director and audit chair. She has been on activist board slates, had an activist campaign run against one of her boards and engaged in shareholder activism as an investor.
Mathew Newfield – Chief Security Officer, Unisys
Matt joined Unisys as CISO in 2018, prior to which he was the Director of Global Managed Security Services for IBM where he managed a staff of 1,500 security professionals. He is on the Board for the National Technology Security Coalition (NTSC).
Frank M. Placenti – Partner, Squire Patton Boggs
Frank Placenti is chair of Squire’s Corporate Governance & Securities Regulation Practice. He is a Vice Chair of the American Bar Association’s Corporate Governance Committee. Placenti is the editor of The Directors Handbook, A Field Guide to 101 Situations Commonly Encountered in the Boardroom (ABA, 2017).
Andrew Shapiro – Founder, Lawndale Capital Management
Andrew Shapiro is the founder of Lawndale Capital Management, a manager of small-cap activist hedge funds for over 26 years. Shapiro frequently speaks on matters of corporate governance, fiduciary duty, and activist investing, including as a faculty member of the director education program at UCLA Anderson School of Management. In 2012, the National Association of Corporate Directors named him one of the 100 most influential people in corporate governance.
Bob Zukis – Founder/CEO, Digital Directors Network
Bob Zukis is Founder/CEO of Digital Directors Network, a boardroom advisor, advocate, and association focused exclusively on improving digital and cybersecurity oversight. He is a retired PwC advisory partner, and is a professor at the USC Marshall School of Business where he teaches the only executive education program in America on digital and cybersecurity governance.