If I had a dime for every proxy vote mailing I’ve tossed into the round file, I would be a rich woman. Figuring out how to vote is hard enough, and my vote is hardly worth much anyway. Moxy Vote solves both problems for me. This web-based startup enables shareholders to vote online on corporate actions. Moxy Vote proclaims on its website that it created the site to “give shareholders a voice in the boardrooms of companies they own.”
The way Moxy Vote works is simple. Using the control number on a proxy statement, shareholders can vote online either ballot-by-ballot or have their brokerage automatically direct ballots on stocks they own to Moxy Vote’s site. Searching for a company is also easy as one can search under the ballots section and then be directed to a page that shows an upcoming shareholder meeting and when online voting begins and ends.
A second benefit of Moxy is that it effectively crowdsources shareholder activism. A February BusinessWeek (BW) article mentioned the resistance to a proposed Google acquisition of On2 Technologies (ONT), a provider of video compression software and related services. According to the BW article, On2 investors were “angered by management’s acceptance of what they deemed an undervalued offer from Google last August.” On2 investors guided shareholders to Moxy Vote, and “managed to round up several hundred votes representing about 22 million shares, or about 12.3% of On2’s 178.2 million total outstanding shares, to cast ballots on Moxy Vote.”
“That was pretty impressive,” John Marcoux, who owns almost one million shares of On2, told BW. “I’m grateful that Moxy Vote has a [platform] that let us come together and speak our voice and its role got the attention of Google that this [deal] wasn’t going to pass unless they did something.”
On January 7, Google added 15 cents a share in cash to its prior all-stock bid of $106 million. On2 rescheduled the vote for February 17, 2010 after not getting enough votes in December. Google has since finished its acquisition of On2 after gaining approval from shareholders. The price Google paid for the acquisition is $18 million more than the figure given when the two companies first announced the acquisition last year.
Doug Gates, vice-president of marketing at Moxy Vote, says the response to On2 merger “is pretty good validation that we might be onto something.”
The implications for rallying around any issue, including those of an environmental or social impact of the company’s business should be obvious. Here’s a basic video from Moxy describing more: