Vertex Goes Public During a Pandemic

Executives of any company that goes public will tell you the process leading up to an IPO is grueling. For family-controlled Vertex Inc., which began trading July 29 on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol VERX, the challenges were compounded by the virtual environment the COVID-19 pandemic is causing.

Vertex, based in King of Prussia, Pa., is a global technology company that provides tax compliance solutions. When its employees shifted to working remotely, the company had not yet filed its intention to go public with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The final work on the SEC filing was done in a virtual environment. Meetings to test the waters with investors and the subsequent roadshow — pitches by executives and underwriters to attract interest in the IPO — took place via webcast and video calls.

“The investment community was used to meeting you in three dimensions. And now they had to do it all in two dimensions,” says David DeStefano, Vertex’s non-family president, CEO and chairman.

The right move at the right time

Vertex Inc. was founded in 1978 by Ray and Antoinette Westphal. Their children, Jeff Westphal, Stevie Westphal Thompson and Amanda Westphal Radcliffe, purchased the company in 2000. They serve on the board and control most of Vertex’s Class B voting shares.

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