The first company to enter the new market of the Prague Stock Exchange. Hub Ventures, which hosts hundreds of companies, wants CZK 50 million

  • Investoři budou mít na pražské burze příští rok možnost poprvé otestovat nový trh pro malé a střední podniky Start.
  • Next year, investors will have the first opportunity to test the new PX Start market for small and medium-sized enterprises on the Prague Stock Exchange.
  • Hub Ventures, which operates coworking centres in Prague, Brno, and Ostrava, will offer a minority share.
  • Its three co-owners expect that they could raise CZK 50 to 100 million for the further development and diversification of their current business.

The path that has led Hub Ventures to the Stock Exchange

◼ The owners of Hub Ventures were initially interested in how the new market of the Prague Stock Exchange for small and medium-sized enterprises would work. Their shared workspaces (hubs) will serve as places where the Start market, launched last week, will be presented to potential candidates for admission to the PSE.
◼ The representatives of the stock exchange and the consulting company Starteepo, which assists companies with admission to the Start market, asked the owners if Hub Ventures would like to be one of the first issuers. The operators of the three hubs in Prague, Brno, and Ostrava, which host over 1300 customers, took the time to think and finally agreed.
◼ The company is growing rapidly and needs money for further development, and furthermore it aims to expand its business. It plans to buy shares in attractive start-ups, which are created directly in the hubs or their surroundings.

The co-owners of Hub Ventures (from left): Robert Tůma, Petr Vítek, and Zdeněk Rudolský, discussing their coworking centre Impact Hub in Smíchov, Prague. Author: Hub Ventures archive

Hub Ventures wants to get at least CZK 50 million from investors next year. The operator of coworking centres will be the first company to be traded on PX Start, the new market of the PSE for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Under the Impact Hub brand, the company offers shared workspaces in three hubs in Prague, Brno, and Ostrava to freelancers and start-ups.

Although customers come independently, thanks to the open space, they usually start cooperating, and a community is gradually formed around each hub, and Hub Ventures actively strives to develop it. “We need to know the stories of our customers and connect them with each other,” says the company’s co-founder Zdeněk Rudolský.

Creating connections is often not enough, he says, so Hub Ventures also offers various meetings and acceleration programmes for start-ups, as well as consulting. “Every year we hold about a thousand big meetings and six to eight thousand small ones. About 100 start-ups a year go through our six acceleration programmes. And in addition, we also have a consulting company that helps large and small companies with projects,” says Rudolský, describing the second pillar of the company’s business.

It was the effort to properly advise fast-growing start-ups that was one of the two decisive factors motivating Hub Ventures to go public. “If we enter the new PX Start market and gain our first experience, we can tell people in our community and beyond how the reality differs from the theory they know, for example, from consultants,” explains Rudolský.

The second key reason why Hub Ventures wants to issue new shares and offer a minority stake of a few dozen per cent through the stock market is the need for capital. The company wants to use it primarily for its development and to purchase shares in the most interesting start-ups established in its hubs and around them. “Our hubs are fully booked, and there are waiting lists for membership. You can wait for months. For the next year, however, we have no plans to build new premises. Real estate prices are too high, and it would take us decades to recover our investment. We are therefore waiting for the right opportunity,” says Rudolský.

Hub Ventures should enter the PX Start market, which differs from the main market of the Prague Stock Exchange mainly in that it will have only four trading days a year, in May or June. Before it happens, the company is in for half a year of preparations, which will include, for example, legal changes in the company, audits, expert opinions, and the preparation of information documents for future investors.

The owners of Hub Ventures and Starteepo, which the company hired as an advisor for the IPO, also anticipate that before the IPO, offers will come from private investors who will want to acquire a stake just for themselves. “We want to try a new, interesting thing. If someone is really interested in us during the next six months, they will definitely be patient enough to buy our shares on the stock exchange,” says Mr. Rudolský, rejecting the possibility that Hub Ventures could withdraw from the IPO. According to him, the experience will be more valuable than receiving the money half a year earlier.

Hub Ventures, which, in addition to Zdeněk Rudolský, is also co-owned by Robert Tůma and Petr Vítek, expects to pay out dividends, but investors will have to wait three years, although the company is already in the black. Its owners expect sales of CZK 50 million this year. “If our IPO is successful, we will have an interesting growth phase of two or three years ahead of us, thanks to new capital, with a double-digit increase in profit every year. After that, we will have so much free cash flow that the payment of dividends will not be at the expense of our growth,” explains Rudolský.

František Bostl, a founder of the consulting company Starteepo, believes that private equity funds or larger investment companies could also subscribe to Hub Ventures’ shares on the first trading day. “It is plausible that ten of them will appear there to test the company so that their representatives could participate in the Shareholders’ Meeting. Depending on how they like the investment, they will either sell their share on one of the next trading days, or buy more,” he said.

The more distant future of the company on the Prague Stock Exchange will then depend, among other things, on what the existing co-owners do with their shares. “It is conceivable that one of us will ponder selling a major part of his share in the next five years, while the remaining two will prefer to pursue their current work,” said Mr. Rudolský. He did not rule out the possibility that Hub Ventures, if it grew sufficiently, would one day move to the main market of the PSE.