Monday, 10 August 2015
Mara Seaweed a classic MBA study in how not to do it.
Rory McPhee, the now famous silent partner in Mara Seaweed's Dragons Den debacle, might be a good marker for potential investors in their current Crowdcube pitch.
An article in the Guardian two and half years ago sings his praises as the seaweed collector off the Lizard - that's at the very tip of Cornwall - http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/nov/22/cornwall-seaweed-capital-europe. Yet now he is the CEOs right hand man and an expert on collecting seaweed in Scotland - eh? Something must have gone wrong in 2013 Rory?
There can be no doubt that Mara's founder is not up to the job - even given nerves and a brittle style, she was clearly wading way out of her depth in the shallows of P Jones' gentle questioning. Mara's product has legs but its management have none and it takes both to create a successful business.
I do believe that her failed pitch could become a classic in future MBA presentation seminars - it is often easier to learn from seeing things done badly than vice versa and this was truly bad. Not knowing some very easy basic business facts is one thing but when in a hole do stop digging. Mentioning Dorset Cereals (like everyone on Crowdcube does) and then flannelling the name of the person there she spoke to was unforgivable.
A value of £100k for the business today might be on the light side but it has to closer to the mark than her ludicrous valuation. Will the Crowd be fooled??