Four questions with Starry’s new head of IR

Apr 14, 2022
Ben Barrett joins newly public broadband provider

Ben Barrett has been named as the new vice president and head of investor relations at Boston-based broadband provider Starry, which began trading on the NYSE at the end of last month.

Ben Barrett, Starry
Ben Barrett, Starry

Barrett, an IR veteran who brings with him 23 years of experience in equity research and managing investor relations, joins from real estate technology firm Compass.

At Compass, Barrett helped to build out the IR function as well as bring the company to IPO. Prior to that, he served as senior director of IR for T-Mobile for seven years.

IR Magazine caught up with Barrett to hear what excites him about his new role, what an IPO was like during the pandemic and the questions at the top of mind for Starry investors.

What elements of your past experience do you think will be most useful at Starry?

I have covered the greater telecommunications industry for more than 20 years. I first started on the buy side at SunAmerica Funds and ING Investment Management and then eventually became an IRO for T-Mobile. At the time, T-Mobile was a distant 4th player in the market looking to disrupt the wireless duopoly. Now, Starry is disrupting the broadband industry and following a similar playbook with its innovative technology, consumer friendly pricing and excellent customer service.

In your last role you helped build out the IR function as well as helping to take the company public  all during a global pandemic. What are some of your key takeaways from that period?

As an IR professional, an IPO was always on my ‘bucket list’. I am glad to have crossed it off the list while at Compass, but it was a lot of work to get our deal across the line in such an uncertain time. 

It was also a lot of work to ‘stand up’ an investor relations outfit during the Covid-19 pandemic with remote work. But you adapt to the new normal and I think that the experience and learning to stay nimble will come in useful this time around at Starry. As the saying goes, the second time around the track is easier than the first! 

What issues do you anticipate investors and analysts wanting to know most about over the next 12-18 months?

For Starry, I think what investors want to know is how well the business can scale. The company has proved its proprietary technology works so now it's about how we can effectively sell the service to more customers in the cities we serve. We also want to show an improving economic picture as increased scale allows Starry to cover its fixed and variable costs bases.

What are you most excited about in this new role?

I am looking forward to helping Starry reimagine how Americans get broadband. This is a massive industry where Starry has an opportunity to bring much-needed competition so that every American has access to affordable broadband. It’s going to be my mission as Starry’s head of investor relations to tell the company’s story to investors.

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