S-1 Insider: A Comms Decoding – Waystar

After Rurik’s listing last month, and Reddit and Astera Labs before that, the IPO market seems to be warming up. When we think about what comms teams need to be looking at, we start with the ‘bible’ for the IPO runway – a company’s S-1 filing. So, let’s take a look at a recent S-1 filed by a technology company.

Earlier this month, Waystar filed its S-1, after filing its confidential S-1 last August. There are a few different important takeaways comms teams can glean from Waystar’s filing, no matter where a company is on the path to public markets. (Please note Waystar is not a client).

Before breaking down Waystar’s S-1, let’s understand what Waystar is and the market they’re addressing. Waystar is a specialized payments platform for the healthcare industry. Payments and fintech have had a tough couple of years, however Waystar’s unique positioning makes it a particularly interesting issuance. Waystar states its total addressable market (TAM) is approximately $15 billion, growing to nearly $20 billion by 2027. That’s sizable, but not eye-popping. But that works in Waystar’s favor, particularly when you bear in mind its specialization and the product-market fit.

So, what are the key things for communications teams to home in on in Waystar’s S-1?:

Highlighting customer testimonials

As we pointed out in the Brands2Life  IPO Readiness Playbook, customers’ perspectives and endorsements are both imperative and impactful. In Waystar’s case, they highlight four client customer quotes before they begin talking about its products. This follows the best practice of letting customers speak to the impact of a company’s solutions to create real value.

Something to draw special attention to is that the customers are all anonymous.  This could portend intentionality, particularly given Waystar is in the healthcare arena. However, this could also be an instance in which Waystar’s customer agreements do not include any stipulation to use customer names in communications and marketing. This is something that companies on the path to IPO need to make explicit in contracts to maximize impact through customers’ own words.

It’s all about AI

It’s no secret that every company is trying to include AI in some way to boost valuations. Waystar’s choice to highlight how they’re leveraging AI, and, noting that it’s internally developed within the prospectus, indicates the aspirations the company has and its desire to appeal to investors’ appetite for AI.

From a communications perspective, the prominence of AI and machine learning in the filing shows the company is demonstrating its investment and its appeal to capital markets media. As the AI market accelerates it will be interesting to see how investor expectations of a company’s AI capabilities are heightened. This is definitely an area any aspiring IPO candidate should plan ahead for.

Client concentration or lack thereof

The amount of revenue generated by the top quartile of customers is of particular importance to both investors and capital markets reporters, as it can indicate the market opportunity for a business as well as potential exposure to the loss of a customer(s  In Waystar’s case, they make it very clear that their market penetration is impressive, with over 30,000 customers and 18 of the top 22 hospitals in the US, yet Waystar’s top 10 customers only account for just over 11 percent of their revenue.

Waystar’s team has preempted any potential questions about customer concentration while also signaling that additional market opportunity remains ahead.

Overall, Waystar’s S-1 shows a concerted effort from all stakeholders to develop a narrative that appeals to investors and capital markets media, highlighting pertinent metrics while also leaving ample opportunity to continue growth.

As more tech companies file their S-1s or public S-1s, we will continue the “S-1 Insider: A Comms Decoding” series to highlight what information is most essential from a communications perspective.

If you are looking to learn more about Brands2Life’s IPO readiness offering, we encourage you to get in touch!