Sunday, 23 October 2016

Surely Oliver Pugh's Early Bird is no Phoenix?

Oliver Pugh is the founder of Early Bird. Early Bird is in liquidation having lost investors around £600k and creditors a whole pile of cash.

This article has been amended after it was pointed out that some of our facts were not entirely correct. We have included corrections in red.

Oliver, through some deal with the liquidators, seems to have now relaunched EB and is appealing for funding via his Linkedin page. How this is allowed is beyond us. Oliver is not appealing for new funding - this is an old entry at the top of his Linkedin page here - why not try to update it Oliver?

Oliver Pugh

Currently raising new equity investment round for EarlyBird : Contact me for your free investment pack in the post.
  1. EarlyBird
  1. Event Hire Company LTD
  2. McManus Pub Co. Ltd
  1. The University of Northampton

Assets valued by Oliver in the accounts for EB at over £100k are now valued by the liquidators at £250. This includes £38k worth of stock which according to the liquidator is past it's sell by date and has been destroyed. This is all stock purchased by EB in the last 9 months as the previous accounts reveal a zero position.Oliver has asked the liquidator if he can purchase the EB client list.

Not once since Oliver started EB has he managed to get even close to the figures he claims for the business. On Crowdcube he claimed lots and delivered zero; twice. He then went to Envestors, where he gave inaccurate historic figures for turnover according to the platform and once we had told the platform of his previous debacles on CC, they took his pitch down. His projected turnover on Envestors went from £40k to £1.4m in 12 months - the same 12 months the business has spiralled into the ground. So much for due diligence.

We have warned about Oliver many times here.

A previous company he claims to have started called Event Hire Company Ltd -( ltd) he claims he sold in 2015 on his Linkedin page. But there was nothing to sell and no evidence it was sold. Accounts are now 6 months OD, Oliver is still the only director and shareholder. Oliver has explained that he sold the assets of this company in 2015 - not the company as his Linkedin page states. We cannot give you a figure for these assets but its fair to say they were not worth much in the last filed accounts. The accounts are OD by six months simply because the company has ceased to trade and Oliver thinks its fine to leave the loose ends dangling.

You might ask why the Crowdcube DD department did not pick up this very simple and very obvious lie on Oliver's Linkedin page - it would have given them a red light. But despite the assurances that are continually issued by Luke Lang and DarrenWestlake, that CC's DD department uses state of the art tech to check all businesses and owners, they failed to spot this glaring, gyrating, ghetto blaster of a warning. Twice. Are we surprised. No.

EB's SM is full of complaints from deserted, angry customers.

So is this really the sort of SME activity equity crowdfunding was set up to encourage? What are Crowdcube doing about it?

The liquidator's report makes for interesting reading and we will be running posts on this and the farcical situation that emerged with Envestors, who punted Oliver for £500k only a few months ago, over the weeks to come. As a taster the liquidator's report reveals that the office cleaner has removed one of the company's computers in lieu of payment.

If ever there was an example of why we need to change the system, then Early Bird is it.

PS only yesterday Oliver Pugh was to be found pretending that he knows how to run a business when                                                                                     
he was on stage at London Food Tech Week - he is the one on the middle. The promotion said he ran Early Bird Snacks which in itself is a lie as the liquidator does.


  1. Could we start a JustGiving page to raise funds to collectively outbid him on the £4,000 of 'tea stock' he wants to purchase from the Liquidator... presumably for pennies? Every time a company fails we could then send them teabags in the post just for the comedy value of it until it catches on and becomes 'a thing'.

  2. He's back speaking at the Yfood Insight & Innovation Day:

  3. He's still employing people to work for (trading name of, and currently owes a significant number of workers outstanding pay. He has taken in the last month to simply ignoring all messages, calls, and emails. An absolute cowboy, a crook, and an idiot.

    1. We paid him in full to supply bar services and drinks at our wedding only for him to let us know his company had "gone bust" less than 24 hours before the wedding. I am genuinely worried for his well being if he has been acting like this for years..
      Currently a few court judgements outstanding so we'll see what happens.