Meet Swiss media mogul and Chairman of ASMALLWORLD Patrick Liotard-Vogt
It’s exclusive. It’s international. It’s now an IPO success story. ASMALLWORLD, the iconic social network for global citizens, has officially gone public. Discussing the vision behind this membership-based social media platform and international lifestyle club, is Chairman Patrick Liotard-Vogt.
How would you best describe ASMALLWORLD and who are its members?
ASW is a private invitation-only community for global citizens who share the passion for the good life. Our members enjoy meeting like-minded people around the world. We have organized more than 1,000 events, ranging from casual after-work drinks to entire weekend trips offering occasions for members to network and mingle.
Most social networks are free, why do you charge a fee?
Our basis membership is CHF 100 per year and allows us to solely focus on driving value for our members. We have no advertising and we do not hand out any user data. On other social networks use data is key to generate advertising revenue.
There has been a lot of recent controversy regarding Data Protection in relation to social media platforms…. What is you view on this?
Indeed. My view on it is fairly simple. If consumers don’t pay a fee they force companies to find other ways to monetize, they become the product. This often involves passing on data to third parties which can be problematic. I think it is crucial that networks have a fair and open communication to how the user’s data is used.
What do Members get for their fee?
A global family of like-minded people, access to interesting and exclusive events and a wide range of first-class privileges.
You have decided to take the company public, how was that process?
Going public is a very interesting and challenging process involving many different parties. You involve your core team, auditors, lawyers, banks and investor relations firm. We learned a lot throughout that process and I am so grateful for that. Learning is one of the most rewarding things in life for me.
Why the Zurich stock Exchange and not Paris, London or even New York?
We are a global company active in more than 100 cities. Our headquarters are in Zurich and we felt comfortable going public in our own town. The Six Exchange Zurich is a very reputable exchange with some great companies such as Nestlé, Roche or UBS. We are the only social media title which gives us quite some attention.
Being public comes with additional cost and reporting. Why did you go public?
We have a list of interesting companies we would like to acquire. Being public gives us access to capital markets to facilitate these transactions and our stock is now a currency which we can use.
How was your stock price evolved and how many times are you checking it?
In the first days, I was checking our stock price every 15 Minutes – I was so excited. By now I have it reduced to twice a day. Our initial listing price was at CHF 9.75 and are now slightly above CHF 20 which is a great start. This motivates us even more to reach our targets.
You seem the epitome of a global citizen, with all your travel and investments in many different places. What does being a global citizen mean to you?
First and foremost, being curious and respectful of the various cultures I encounter during my travels. I try to approach life without prejudice and I am open to various ideas and opinions. This helps me to ultimately form my own view.
You are involved in many charitable activities. Are there any that are particularly close to your heart?
In everything I do I focus on making the world a better place for the next generation. I believe that education is a key driver to achieve this goal, so we invest a large part of our budget on making sure that children get access to knowledge and education.
Do you have a favorite city?
I like the diversity and the various flavors of each city. If I had to pick one, it would probably be Stockholm!