Monday, 21 August 2017

Crowdcube tell the truth, their way.

An interview we did in the Memo has allowed Crowdcube to tell its investors how well they are doing.

The article here has been sanitised to avoid any court cases but the message is plain.

Here is Crowdcube's response to the piece, which really says it all.

In response to Brown’s comments Crowdcube told The Memo:
“Independent research from AltFi Data has found crowdfunded businesses have performed ‘impressively’ and Crowdcube has the highest internal rate of return for investors in the industry.”
“We enable young businesses to raise capital to create growth, which is not short term, but judging by the 430,000 Crowdcube members and the number of businesses being funded through our platform we think our investors understand that.”
“To say that most companies never bother to keep investors abreast of events is simply not true. Over 90% of Crowdcube funded businesses have sent at least one update to shareholders since fundraising.”

So lets take these one by one.
AltFi is a well known ECF promoter, so you can take this with a large pinch of salt. Their evidence comes from looking at companies that have raised again since their first ECF campaign and taking the increase in company value as a real increase. We all know that is crap. Companies that have for instance gone bust are counted as zero - there are no negative values and not one of the companies that they say has increased its value has in fact done so in real terms.
Crowdcube do not have 430,000 active members. Their real numbers are on the slide and from anecdotal evidence we get from 'members' sending us things, they will continue to be so. If returns are not short term then why have campaigns talking consistently about 3-5 year ROIs?
This is the worst one. So what they are saying is that of the 600 odd companies that have funded via the platform, 60 have never corresponded with their investors. That's bad enough. But if you take into account the fact that CC has been going since 2012 (ignore 2011) and most of the companies have only provided one update, then that is a disgrace. Our point made. Thank you. These updates should be minimum twice a year - so a company funded in 2014 should by now have around 6 updates - not one. We know that this is the case as we get told this constantly by their members, although many rather than most would have been a better description. And of course you know that Luke would have put the best possible spin on all of this, so its guaranteed to be exaggerated in CC's favour.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Velvet buried underground

Velvet London, a beer producer, raised £45k at the turn of 2014/15, on Crowdcube and has now closed. As usual it didnt last long but it did use SEIS so no one will lose out, apart from HMRC. Yet another success for the UKplc's start up funding policy.

And we are only scratching the surface. Surely time for someone somewhere to wake up? If you put money into poor plans run by people with little or no experience, back it up with SEIS and free beer for investors, you will get funding. You will also get a business collapse. Extend that nationwide and we have a problem.

Velvet went from revenues of £12k to over £300k to £1.5m in the space of 24 months. Well the problem was, they didnt - that's what Crowdcube said they would do. Not sure they ever sold anything. The projections on Crowdcube are obviously complete tripe but so are the historic accounts. The real accounts show considerable losses mounted up and a negative BS, whereas the Crowdcube BS is in the black. 


Saturday, 19 August 2017

Crowdcube's Psonar stops the music

Cambridge has produced yet another Crowdcube flop. Psonar took £316k off 70 investors just over a year ago. It had previously raised another £1.2m. Now it has been put into liquidation with zero assets, owing trade creditors £250k. 

Dont know what it is about Cambridge but its having its share of Crowdcube cock ups.

There is no explanation yet as to the what happened. The SofA shows an estimated £11,900 of assets made up almost entirely of a VAT refund - so probably wrong if was worked out by the founders. 

The founders have what can only be described as caste iron brilliant credentials - our hats were full after reading all the big names they dropped. Makes you wonder. As does the veracity of the all the signed and pending contracts they had around the world. Is there a chance that Crowdcube checked these?

Where did the £300k plus go? It hasnt ended up creating any assets; they have none. Its just been spent. Mind you with 14 directors you are bound to have large expenses bills.

Surely someone, somewhere needs to be held accountable? This is nuts.

A new approach to S/EIS

Ask yourselves - what is the purpose of EIS and SEIS? Is it to help individuals get richer or is it to help UK plc?

Equity Crowdfunding relies almost entirely on the Government tax rebate systems SEIS and EIS. Without these there would be little investment. So from that standpoint, it is working - it is releasing private cash into companies as an alternative to the banks and VCs etc, where money has largely dried up or is too difficult to access for start ups and small SMEs.

So the next question is what happens next? What does this money achieve? Well the answer is a little more disappointing. The end goal of Government intervention into private funding of UK start ups, has to be the long term benefit of UKplc. You simply cant have Government handing out money from the public purse, to allow punters to go on a Saturday One Arm Bandit Spree - risk free. That wouldnt make any sense. And if further fallout was such that other SME's suffered as a result - because these newly funded, poorly run businesses went bust owing them money, then that would be crazy, right?

Well this is pretty well what Vince Cable set up. Investors openly tell us that its only because of SEIS or EIS that they take a punt. Some take an interest in the business, but many we have spoken with dont - some even admitted not reading the plan at all, they just like the rewards and with the rebate it makes sense even if they lose their principle. Is that helping UKplc? 

I have sat through numerous meetings and conferences on ECF, where the main speaker isnt an entrepreneur, but a lawyer. His is the most listened to section of the event and gets the most queries. He isnt talking about marketing, product development or cashflow. He's talking about how to maximise your S/EIS benefits. 

When a small business raises £250k on an ECf platform for their plan, and within a year has gone bust owing trade creditors that again, something in the system is wrong. Crowdcube now have around 60 failures (closures, so not accounting for the 100 plus that are zombies) to 3 dubious successes - the best exit being by sale to an overseas company, thereby taking any future benefit out of the UK. In fact 2 out of the 3 'successes' have been sales to overseas companies. 

It might all work better if the companies applying on the platforms were better chosen, or in some cases were actually chosen. A simple new director's course and test might help? If you havent passed it you cant access S/EIS. I am constantly staggered by the naivety of most plans and they never fail to back me up. If we really want to help these start ups we need to start at the beginning. The money so far wasted on tax rebates for 'investors', better described as punters, in businesses that never had a prayer of lasting 2 years let alone 10, could have helped fund this course and test. We'd be in a much better position now. It would allow easy access investment, help to protect investors, benefit the platforms and the businesses and most importantly benefit UKplc, which is where we started.

It's not instant, so wont be liked but it has to make more sense than HMRC pouring yet more tax payers money down the drain. 

All comments welcome. 

Friday, 18 August 2017

The Pressery has been squeezed dry.

The Pressery squeezed £143k out of 60 Crowdcube investors in March 2015. By November 2016 they had filed for closure with unpayable debts of another £80k plus. It's one we missed.

The company is still in liquidation nearly a year later.

Why are these stories never covered by any of the ECF or Altfi press and why do Crowdcube never even attempt to explain what went wrong? It may well have been an authentic business that just tried to scale and failed - but we dont think so looking at the pitch and its claims. 

Trade creditors were owed £99k. That is not helping anyone.

Yet another one for the growing list. Come on Crowdcube either try harder or push off.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Rentify reviews are bad

Rentify took £1m plus off investors on Crowdcube in 2016. Now reviews on Trust Pilot are nothing short of a disaster.

You just have to spend a few seconds on TP on the Rentify page. Page one of the reviews - so the most recent - has twenty reviews. Of these, 7 are one star or would be negative if the the option was afforded. They come with copious notes on the complaints. One other review is two and one three stars, neither recommending the service. So that's pretty half of the most recent reviews telling people to stay away. 

Rentify is a customer service business. Or that's what they sold the punters who invested. Accounts due out next month. 

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Cornerstone lose £2.4m and secure investment of £3.5m

Cornerstone raised £845k on Crowdcube in 2015 and another £3m since. Now on the back of 2016 results, showing losses of £2.4m, they have secured £3.5m from Calculus Capital.

And all of this against a CC projection for 2016 of a profit.

Well somebody is wrong.

Brewdog close $50m, 12 month, punk USA round $43m short.

Brewdog's failed US fundraising campaign peters out with a whimper rather than a snarl.

Following the recent announcement that Brewdog has sold 22% of the company to San Francisco based TSG Consumer Partners for £230m, they have decided to close their ailing US Equity for Punks campaign. Targeting an ambitious $50m it raised just $7m. Clearly now, they do not need the extra $43m. According to their own PR, the campaign was a stupendous success. So that's why they had to sell out to Corporateville?

Some might say that all the vocals coming from the Ellon HQ, when Camden sold out to AB InBev for £85m, was just a sham. Now the punks have done the same. Promises to keep the razors sharp are no longer believable.

Investors in the company are looking at a stupendous return of over 2000% if the rumoured IPO takes place and is successful. The company has been a fantastic success, no doubt, but I do wish they would stop talking total crap.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Buffalo Grid announce new funding partnership with Microsoft

Buffalo Grid raised over £400k on Crowdcube last year. Now they have entered a new partnership with Microsoft's Energy Initiative.

Kevin Connolly, CEO of Energy Access, explained why they had joined up Buffalo Grid - 

''BuffaloGrid fits perfectly as a partner – it provides affordable access to clean energy for mobile phone charging to those who lack it, and it’s doing so through the innovative use of technology. With a solution that leverages the Internet of Things (IoT), data reporting, analytics and advanced services like machine learning, we believe that BuffaloGrid’s innovative use of Microsoft Azure services will be a truly exciting way to demonstrate that technology can be used to accelerate access to energy and connectivity, while building a scalable and sustainable business model."

The full article is available here.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Seedrs CEO Jeff Lynn takes a bow

The CEO and founder of Seedrs has decided to step sideways to allow a new CEO to take charge.

This will free Jeff Lynn up pursue his 'moonshots' according to the platform. It is not possible to do both and he admits that being a CEO is not really his forte - which is honest.

We will have to wait and see if this changes anything. Whilst Seedrs is considerably better than Crowdcube in all areas, they have recently succumbed to some blatant PRinging and not being entirely open about the facts. Hopefully the new CEO, who is the old COO, will correct this. 

Adding to their wage bill at the top end doesnt seem very sensible at the moment - with all the uncertainty in the market. But if Jeff couldnt manage it, it maybe for the best in the long run; if there is one. One thing that might concern SHs is that whilst the credentials of the new CEO are good, they are certainly not in start ups or SMEs. So you might ask how is that going to work with a company that focuses almost exclusively on funding these types of businesses? He joined in January 2017 so has had very little experience in this sector. Im not a SH so really it's just an observation.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Paul Weller's Real Stars are Rare calls it a day

Paul Weller's fashion brand is no more, according to its website. Earlier this year the company tried to raise capital on Crowdcube but failed. Now they have thrown in the towl.

Maybe it really was one of those companies set up to use the ECF space as easy money or maybe he has just made a sensible decision. We will never know. The Crowd for once didnt like the star's idea.

And so rather than let the walls come tumbling down, he has exited quietly via stage door left; still a brilliant songwriter.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Troubles at Enistic highlight the poor Crowdcube model

Enistic raised £340k on Crowdcube in 2104. Now they are struggling with mounting losses, huge founder pay packets and resigning directors.

So how does a new company making losses justify a salary of £150k to its founding CEO. Well is cant but there is nothing Crowdcube investors can do about it.

We wrote about Enistic here when they suddenly withdrew their second attempt to take Crowdcube investors for a ride. Thet were not well received the second time.

Now information we have shows why. The CEO, Darryl Mattocks, has been taking £150k pa out of the company by his own admission. YE March 2017, the company reported losses of over £100k - ie his salary. He hasnt broken any laws, its just plain stupid. Investors did not put their money into the company to pay for his lifestyle.

A recent resignation by one of the non exec directors has led to the revelation that things are not well at the company and there have been some interesting goings on. We wont go into these here, suffice to say that they are not in the interest of Crowdcube's shareholders and it also involves a service contract which appears to be against the interests of Enistic.

So we comeback to the title of this post. How can Crowdcube investors assert any from of meaningful influence on rogue directors, once they are shareholders? Simple answer is they cannot. The first Crowdcube pitch raised almost 3 times the amount sort. So investors were enthusiastic. The March 17 accounts show little cash remains and assets total £119k, even after the company raised more finance last year. Someone has benefited but it is surely not the investors.

Some genuine good news for Equity Crowdfunding

One of Seedrs 2016 successes will be able to return investors a 3-4 times uplift on their money. Now that's what ECF should be about.

Blow Ltd raised £1.3m on Seedrs 14 months ago. Now the company has a large retail chain investing £6m. As part of the deal, it is also offering to buy back around £1.5m of the existing Seedrs SH shares. This offer is being made at a company valuation of around 3.5 times the valuation in June 2016. So for a Seedrs SH, a great and swift return. What's more, this is not part of some drag along clause as so often seems to be the case  - it is merely an option, to be delivered on a pro rata basis.

It seems likely that most SH will take the opportunity to off load at least some of their holding, so demand will be strong. The £1.5m set aside will not allow all investors to cut and run at the new valuation, so you could argue this is an option and a mere gesture. But in the current climate we would like to applaud all involved for bothering.

Hats off.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Innis and Gunn PRing their 2016 success

Innis and Gunn have released a glossy spin on their 2016 accounts, prior to their filing next month. The Crowdcube projections, produced when 2016 was almost complete, beg to differ.

Dont get us wrong, these are very good figures viewed on their own but they are not quite Carling. The way they have been fed to the press, you would expect I&G to have smashed their Crowdcube projections for 2016 - the ones used to raise the funding.

I&G raised £2.34m from almost 2000 investors at the end of 2016. The projections for that year, so mainly historic in nature, showed revenues of  over £15.1m and GP of £8.9m. Again dont forget that these were hardly projections as they were published on CC at the end of 2016. The accounts, now being trumpeted as an enormous success, show revenues of £14.3m or short by £800k and a GP of £8.5m or short £400k. Actually that's not bad certainly for a CC funded business but its still not reached targets which should have been, lets be honest, spot on. If a company with projections where 10/12ths of the year is historic, cant meet its figures, there is little hope for the rest of us.

You might ask why they chose GP as a measure instead of the NP, which is a far more important indicator. We will have to wait and see when the full accounts are filed. Certainly the margin held up well.

It's really far to early to see if the company's new direction will pay off. We were not impressed with the St Andrews unit.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Glentham Capital raises £250k - at last.

Nicola Horlick's Glentham Fund comes good on promise of £250k investment.

We have written about the Glentham Fund many times on here. Most recently about a promise from Horlick to come good on her promise of a £250k investment. Well now it seems the money is on - or in July, the company issued shares to that value. This appears to be a deal struck with two new SHs, to whom Horlick sold the newly issued shares after buying them of the company at a value of £12 each. What she sold them on for is unknown. With the shares currently issued, the £12 value makes the company nominally worth just over £2.9m. The Seedrs pre money valuation was £1.8m in 2014. 

We doubt the new shareholders paid £12 though. 

Now Seedrs investors just need to see her do something with it.

Recent filings show Cauli Rice giving off mixed messages.

However there are bigger question marks over the product and whether it will ever get where they told Crowdcube investors it was going.

Cauli have raised 4 times on Crowdcube and there other company, Righteous, has completed another 2 campaigns. Righteous SHs have been offered and have in large part taken up, the offer from the founders to swap their Righteous shares for shares in Cauli. At a substantial discount, but better than most failed CC businesses. However its only worth something if Cauli  go on to do the business.

For those who dont know, Cauli have taken the simple process of turning fresh cauliflower into rice step further and created a long live easy cook packet convenience food. So with my business hat on, what are the keys to making this a global success?

First, create an unstoppable brand. This will depend on the product and production being tight and consistent. Word of mouth is key. Target the market sector, in this case young, busy, health conscious 20-40 yo. 

Second, trial and obtain long term listings with the major supermarkets and markets overseas.

Third, sustain a level of sales increases over several years which will cost in promotional spend so raise plenty of cash.

Fourth, new product development based on the original.

Finally a consistent and attainable plan of action, driven by a great team.

Cauli are someway to creating number 1. But they do seem to have a fundamental problem. 

If you scan the reviews of their products from the listings at Morrisons, Ocado and the other large retailers, they are not good, especially the recent ones. The first point is that there are not many reviews and the average is between 2.5 and 3.5 out of 5. Comments on most 1 star reviews, of which there are a high percentage, are extremely off putting and consistent on the bad smell and flavour. For the good reviews, Cauli have a slight problem with a certain Dr, who is to be found on most of these sites. The said doctor is a large shareholder, via CC, in the company. It makes you wonder if all of the good reviews are fixed?

A company trying to sell the volumes that their own projections submit, needs products that deliver. 

Supermarkets will not look kindly on a product review on their site which only rates a 2.5/5. They may have had a bad batch or the world maybe just agin em but both seem unlikely.

Number 2 they have started but with these reviews, will the listings last? The product has many, more healthy, substitutes.

Number 3 - they have consistently disappointed with their sales figures. Over the 4 raises, every time the previous projections have been missed and the new forward figures, slashed. They are yet to begin to see the BE line. Cash has been relatively easy to raise so far but investors might want to query some of the maths. For the January 2017 raise they used an independent company to verify their valuation and projections. This company, Blue Box, was then listed in the same document as their (paid) outsourced accounts and FP department. 

Number 4 - there has been some new development but if the base product isnt actually that great, then developments are pointless. Maybe they have some in the pipeline.

Number 5 - The plans have been changeable. The plans for Righteous were the same - at the time they were promoting Righteous as the next big thing they were also pre planning Cauli. Flexibility is important but firefighting isnt the way to build a successful business - you have to get ahead of the curve. The team are very enthusiastic, loved by their backers and work their socks off. But if my customers are writing -

Horrible artificial taste, nothing like rice texture, went on the lawn. Magpies ate it.(Morrisons May 2017)

Smells and tastes really strongly of plastic. Just thoroughly horrible. Wish I'd read the reviews before buying. Will go back to making my own. (Ocado June 2017)

On opening I expected the typical cauliflower smell but instead I got a very chemical smell I guess this is from the plastic packaging. It translates the the flavour and spoiled our meal. The texture is great compared to others but would never buy again as feel the product is probably contaminated. (Ocado June 2017)

This smelt and tasted like burning rubber. Even covered in a tomato based sauce I couldn't eat it. Had 2 mouthfulls and couldn't get rid of the taste for the rest of the evening. (Sainsburys Jan 2017)

Id be worried. They are not.

Now there are clearly a number of good reviews but to get so many really atrocious ones makes you wonder if this will ever be a popular purchase. I find that you learn far more from the atrocious reviews than any of the others. 

For the record the projected (from raise 3 in late 2015) accounts for YE 2016 showed a £96k profit whereas the real accounts showed losses of over £900k. Projected revenues were £3m and real revenues were £1.5m. It's far worse if you compare the first CC raise projection for YE 16 - revenues over £5m and net profits over £1m. One consistent feature is they have never undersold themselves.

People are heavily influenced by what they hear about a product. It's a very mixed message at the moment. But maybe its like Marmite? That did ok.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Look to the future with Crowdcube's newest campaign from Chocolate enthusiasts in York

A new chocolate facility is to open in York. The final £250k for the project will be raised on Crowdcube starting next week. We did some digging.

The outline plans seems ok and the girl behind them has done some good things with her PR. But the press so far have failed to mention the simple fact that the business she has run since 2011, York Cocoa House  Ltd, is loss making and has a large negative balance on its 2015 accounts. The 2016 ones are due in September 17 so I would certainly want to see those. The company did raise a small sum at the start of 2017 and has gathered various bits of funding from local sources. Up until this, they had had no equity investment. 

It would be typical of CC to ignore this fact as irrelevant. And I dont doubt she will raise the money based on her rewards, who can resist good chocolate, and friends. But is it a good idea? It certainly is not scalable and to date, all she has proven is how to lose cash. You would expect her business after 6 years trading, to at least be at BE.

As you would expect the valuation for the new factory business, yet to be commissioned, is typical Crowdcube fantasy. Expect this come to come down if you dont all do your usual impersonation of a lemming. 

This one is a very good example for why all ECF campaigning companies should be required to produce full accounts for 2 years prior and at least 2 years afterwards. 

Anyway, off for week or so and will look forward to the full pitch when it goes live.   

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Why cant Crowdcube and Beerbods be honest in the new campaign?

Beerbods raised £150k on Crowdcube in 2014. Their projections were burnt in 2015. Now they are back. But all of the previous promises have been forgotten; by them at any rate.

We have been waiting for the Beerbods campaign to go live in the hope that the misleading information in their pitch deck, which we saw last week, would not be repeated in the Crowdcube pitch. Well now it has gone live and it's very disappointing. We wrote them before here

The 2014 projections showed revenues of £1.1m for 2016 with EBITDA of £250k. According to the new business plan which we have seen, revenues for 2016 were only £517k(inc vat!). In the new plan the founders tell everyone that the losses for 2014/15 and 15/16 were 'planned'. Well not according to the documents you produced on Crowdcube last time.

This what the leading paragraph on the Crowdcube site states -

After securing £150,000 of investment via Crowdcube in June 2014 (our only funding to date), we made a small (planned) loss over the next two years as we invested that money in people, processes and product development. 

Projected revenue for 2015 was £1,079,172 and actual revenues for year 2015/16 according to their own new pitch document is only £431k (ex vat!). They even put this figure in the pitch doc with vat included. Why? OK so revenue is not the key figure, profit -

Profit projected for 2014 was £28k and 2015 was £124k and real losses for the financial year 2014/16 (which has different dates and should be a better figure than the projection) were £42k and for 2015/16, £41k. That gap isnt too bad - although not planned as they claim; as the new CC pitch deck clearly shows.

Projected profits for 2016 were £252k with the actual profits being declared by the company for 2016/17 of £2k. So they have grown slower than they predicted - that's fine but why lie about it. The losses they claim they predicted were in fact predicted as profits. Revenues for 2017/18 are now projected as £800k odd(ex vat!) whereas in the lst round they were at £1.7m for 2016. At least something is growing but it's the gap in credibility. You should ignore all future projections.

Why cant we have a direct, open and honest comparison of what Beerbods said would happen and now what they have managed to deliver with some explanation of why. Nothing wrong with missing projections but trying to hide the fact is a problem. This might even be a good business given a chance.

How can Crowdcube be allowed to get away with it? Time and time again. And after some very vigorous denials and claims by CC's chief spin honcho LL, that any such goings on are very much in the past.

Now you know, you can invest reassured.

Dark clouds Gathering - Square Pie cant round its numbers

Square Pie, a restaurant 'chain', took out a Crowdcube bond for £655k in 2015. The bonds are the safe investments on this platform - aren't they?

In the documents presented to investors, which are declared verified by Crowdcube, the company said it would have 20 units operational by end 2017. Today at the back end of July 2017, they have 5 only - which is the same number they had when they promoted the bond in 2015. We warned you all about this company here 

Instead of small profits the company is still making good losses - over £200k for YE Dec 2016. It's well backed by equity capital but the cash looks a little shy.

It also appears the bond, which was issued at 8% pa over 4 years, has an administration and interest charge for the YE Dec 2016 of £120,559. It's not clear who is paid this as the interest for the year to investors would be only ~ £52k.

Reviews reveal the potential problem - the pies are not very good. Their restaurants range from 2.5 to 4 out of 5.

It appears that the new frozen pies in Sainsburys, placed in April 2016 - 

have gone down a storm and been delisted on the back of 3.1 ratings.
The company declare in the accounts that they will be back in 2017 for more gravy from the Crowdfunding train. Watch this space.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Where has Crowdcube's Monetaflex gone?

Monetaflex raised over £160k on Crowdcube in 2015. Now the company seems to have disappeared. No website no app, no nothing. Two founders, one just resigned.

This one was backed by a self described investment and SME/start up guru - Peter Gardner. Would love to hear from you Peter if you have any news on this company you promoted - see video here

The clouds on the horizon are slightly darker than this one. Dam is giving way.

So where are they?? Let us know if you do.

And so it begins. The Q is where will it end?

Yet another Crowdcube success closes. My Mate Your Date files for VWU.

I think it's fair to say we are having a bit of a crisis. The gathering of zombie and almost failed companies that have found funding via Crowdcube, is about to to break the dam. Time to runaway Luke before you get wet.

My Mate Your Date  raised £145k in 2014 and then incredibly £85k in 2015. By now their Crowdcube projections showed revenues of £3.5m and net profits of over £600k. 2017 had revenues of £10m and blah blah blah.....Time to wake up.... now! As far as we can tell the company never really did anything. To be honest it has to have been one of Crowdcube's worst ever pitches. Why did 132 investors sign up? Claims made by the founders were gargantuan  and equally as hard to check given they took place down under.

The 2015/16 funding round of £2m, given such a confident presentation by the mates; never happened. Well at least someone saw sense.

We warned you all about this earlier here when they set up a new app, Quinn. Just as hopeless as the first one. Despite trying to make Quinn and MMYD look like two different companies, CH confirm they are both run by MMYD Ltd and so both will close - or...........

It was clear from the last accounts to YE Nov 2016, that the end was here. All the money burnt and nothing to show for it. Their TW page has had no tweets since summer 2016 despite claiming over 8k followers. One of the founders was a 'chairman' of some important Entrepreneurs Organsation based near Washington DC. Etc Etc............... all verified by the CC Cupboard Dept.

What an incredible waste of time, effort, cash and tax payers rebates. All facilitated by Crowdcube, who took their commission and added the funding to their PR. Well done Darren and Luke - another award for your bulging cabinet. Funders of the UK's most facile business ever.

Plenty more to come. Staff required!!

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Crowdcube's stupidity is coming home to roost as Angel Alerts is liquidated.

The Fallen Angel or company no 08288031, Angel Alerts, is liquidated on another sad day for Crowdcube investors

We wrote about their absurd plans here

The Crowdcube projections show this company was making a multi million pound net profit by the end of December 2015. A recent filing of solvency shows tiny debts and zero activity - all shareholders shovelled into the waste bin.  

This is what happens when you let a platform run by people who have no clue what they are doing, present business ideas and plans to Joe Public with the incentive of being the backers of the next FB.

We have plenty more ready to follow. 

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Running on empty - what happened to Crowdcube's Franks Staks?

Franks Staks raised £83k on Crowdcube in 2015. It is closing under a VA. So what really happened?

The Crowdcube pitch was very upbeat and the company's products did have a placing in HN Knightsbridge - as far as we can tell. They made health supplements.

It has been treading water or drowning, ever since it raised the money, which considering what they told investors on CC's FCA licensed site, is a surprise.

Josh and David Franks, son and father, ran the show. They are described in the pitch headline as -

Josh & David Franks are a father-son combo. Josh is a qualified lawyer & David specialises in helping ambitious businesses achieve rapid & sustainable growth

Sounds good.

The pitch goes on - 

We are in discussion with or will approach Selfridges, John Lewis, Planet Organic, Ocado, NutriCentre, Wholefoods, Holland and Barrett, GNC, Equinox gym, KX gym, as well as franchise gyms e.g. Virgin, David Lloyd, Fitness First. Our connections at Virgin Startup are also looking to introduce us directly to Virgin Active, Ocado and John Lewis. We are also in advanced discussions with a leading chain of high-end London gyms. We also plan to partner with online retailers.
Seems none of this happened. This clip is taken from the 'Achievements to date' section of the pitch!

The unusual thing about this company is that whilst the shares were issued in October 2015 for the £83k, the YE June 2016 accounts show no record of any equity in the business except the standard £1. Losses for that year of £53k take the total losses to £75k or near enough the money raised on CC less the commission. CH here

It seems a little odd that a lawyer would not be able to issue an accurate BS for filing at CH - the one filed by Josh is clearly wrong.

As to the father's claim, well the evidence is there for us to see. If he cant run his own company, how can he advise others?

Of course none of the founders had put any money into the company. Well that is how it appears but as they didnt manage to record the CC investors, who the hell knows. You have to ask why the 101 CC investors didnt query the last accounts. 

Friday, 21 July 2017

What's in a word?

Black Bee are raising on Crowdcube. We wish they would be more honest; for the sake of the bees.

Im afraid this is something we go on about. Simply because Crowdcube continue to mislead their investors.

So, if you read this - 

Following the success of London Postcode Honey, the entrepreneurial duo has set up Black Bee Honey to offer a selection of raw, single origin British honey.

as the headline to a pitch trying to sell you shares for cash on a FCA regulated website, which only sells interests in commercial companies, how would you take the meaning of the word 'success'. We think it implies or even just means, financial success. Crowdcube is not a platform promoting social benefits, it is a pure investment for return operation - albeit not a very good one from the latter's perspective.

If you bother to check the facts behind this 'success' claim, then there is very little to shout about. Firstly there is no such company as London Postcode Honey - it was just their jar name. Put simply Barnes and Webb Ltd (aka LPH and the 2 founders of Black Bee's previous 'success') makes very little money - £3,000 in 2016. It seems to have very low activity levels. Nothing wrong with that per se but why dress it up as something else on a site that is supposed to be promoting only verified facts. Another CIC company they run has been closed with only dormant accounts. They have also used a different version of their names for this newco  - why? To find out about Barnes and Webb Ltd you have to dig around - not under the names given in the CC pitch. Based on this, they are valuing the newco at £750k. 

Isn't it time we had a fixed minimum standard for the information the platforms supply. So for example in this case, you cant use the word success unless there is something to prove it. And you must declare all your current and previous limited companies and other businesses with relevant details, so they can be easily traced at CH. Surely that's not too onerous for a website selling company equity for cash? Armed with the correct information, we can then decide if their past efforts were a success.

We love bees and spend a great of time making a home for them - that pic is in my garden. So people who also have the passion are good people - good people led down the wrong path by the platform no doubt. It just makes you look a little foolish and not very trustworthy. Which in the end will harm the bees. A shame.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Not much to say about this really. Just more of the usual.

Crafty Nectar completes Crowdcube in 2 days with overdue accounts and an issue with their brand IP.

NOTE - Since publishing this, the company accounts have now been filed and the IP issue is, we are told, insignificant. Invest away if you believe the projected growth rates - which are so far completely unproven. IE 2016 revenues £40k (real) 2017 revenues projected at £80k(part real) then 2018 revenues over £350k. Also consider that the founders have only put in loans - £500 of equity and the invest £25 and get 25% off 'current boxes' seems to imply 25% off forever, which is crazy crazy.

Im sure it doesnt matter - very small company with overdue accounts. Nothing too worrying about that. You might think CC would want this to be in order before a live pitch is promoted on their platform but they probably didnt realise.

IP is maybe more of an issue. It only came up after a major competitor pointed out the possible problem when seeing the CC pitch. Subsequently, the founder has posted a vague explanation saying it wont change anything. But it is an issue.

Either a brand matters or it doesnt and this company seems to want it to matter. 

How could Crowdcube not have spotted this?

Why does the CEO not know about this and if he did, why did he try to conceal it. It doesnt inspire much confidence. Mind you, the pitch has already completed, so who cares.

More of the same.

Lovespace ups its game

Lovespace appears to have upped its game and has now crossed the 9/10 review line which for a consumer service, opens up the future for great things. We could only find two slightly negative reviews, both of which had been resolved, on the first five pages of Trust Pilot.

The company has come in for some criticism for its poor service levels but that now all seems to be in the past.

As one of Crowdcube's £2m plus raises (over 2 campaigns) this has to be good news for both.

Alongside this news, the company has just announced it has won a TV competition which will give them a free TV ad campaign as their prize.

Things have certainly turned a corner for Lovespace. Accounts out in September should reveal more.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Draper Esprit cover all exits

Draper Esprit are major investors in the Crowdcube platform. Now they are also investors in a Seedrs alumni Perkbox. 

Last year Perkbox ran a successful Seedrs campaign, raising a healthy £4.3m in equity finance through the platform. Nine months later they have secured backing for over $8m from Draper - an outfit that backed Crowdcube rather than Seedrs. 

As we all know Crowdcube and Seedrs are the two leading retail ECF platforms in the UK and are locked in to a winner takes all, rush to a massive ROI success. So this move by Esprit could just be because they see a great deal in Perkbox or it might have something to do with covering off their Crowdcube investment.

One thing is for sure. If Perkbox go on to become the next 'facebook' in investment terms, Esprit's help in getting them there is going to damage Crowdcube. 

Monday, 17 July 2017

Move along, move along, nothing to see here.

Ethos Global and its two founders are relaunching and rebranding before the old body is buried.

We received an invite today to the launch party for SOMA on 16th September - the new Ethos Global.

You may remember that Ethos was recently put into liquidation by the Courts for failing to return anything to CH. Apparently they are/were in dispute with their Cambridge studio landlords - a dispute that they or CC failed to declare, when they raised over £700k on Crowdcube in early 2016. 

Rumours abound about what might have happened but we can confirm that the Cambridge studio, which was the mainstay of the CC pitch and the business, closed very shortly after the CC campaign completed and then Ethos opened its London branch but used a different company. This company then became SOMA. 

According to more rumours the newco has taken all of the CC shareholders on board after Crowdcube, who had set this deal up using a nominee structure put them under pressure to sort out the mess. This is the company with the party.

Various questions arise.

The liquidation of Ethos Global, which took £700k off investors, has not started yet and nothing has been filed at CH except the Court Order. Clearly there have been some interesting goings on and it seems likely that someone is going to want to know the detail. Were there any o/s creditors for example, what money paid for the opening of the London studio and how did it legally change hands, how can the shareholders in Ethos be offered a deal ahead of secured and unsecured creditors? CC shareholders bought into a business with one successful unit but are now being offered shares in a company with the first unit due in two months. Is all of this legal? Was any of it planned? 

Anyone out there with any answers please get in touch.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

TableCrowd trying to make a miracle

TableCrowd are currently on Crowdcube trying to raise £400k. Its not working. But they have come up with a cunning solution. Fabricating a miracle.

In an email we have seen, the company is privately offering their most loyal customers a special exclusive deal - if they invest on the CC platform in the next 24 hours. Remember its only open to their regulars; or so they say

Invest around £400 and get six months free dining and invest over £600 and get a whole year free. 

Well, how does that offer to exclusive customers, stack up with the idea of open democratic investment? Clearly it must be a breach of Crowdcube's T&C; if they have any. Some investors are being offered a deal, way better than others  - privately off the platform. Maybe it's common CC practice and this is the first time we have been advised about it. In this instance the company actually tells recipients to keep the offer to themselves - thereby actively taking part in the deceit. 

We have also been informed that this is not exclusive to loyal diners. Its been sent to at least one person who has never used the service.

So what happens to CC investors who invest but have not been sent this email - it appears they dont get this special deal. Is that fraud?

A little sad and typical of the sort of stuff that goes on regularly on the Crowdcube platform. Time for a change? Certainly. 

Now you are really taking the P

The Telegraph or Crowdcube PR Dept, have come up with this nonsense from Luke Lang

Firstly the claim is that - 

The milestone comes after a number of businesses funded through the site have been sold, leading early investors to pocket huge gains.

'Massive gains'....'a number'.....? They say that Ecar Club made a 3 times gain for investors - we dont think that's true but even if it were, that makes two exits with modest gains and many failures and scandals - not mentioned of course.

Apparently, the Telegraph goes on, 17pc of investors have received a return so far. What the Telegraph fails to explain for some unknown reason, is that much if not most of this 'return' is made up of the CC bond issues - ie interest paid on the bonds, which are of course loans and nothing to do with equity investment. Which is what this article is about. The bonds get no mention anywhere. Neither do the overwhelming number of losses and scandals that Crowdcube have facilitated.

Mind you, as always with Luke, its not what he tells but what he leaves out that counts. He says that 17pc of investors have received a return. Now that implies that 17pc of investors are better off but it doesnt actually say that. You could be one of the 17pc that has received interest from the River Cottage bond for example and still be way down on all of your other CC equity investments. You would still have received a return. He does this regularly. 

Read the article, it is clearly about equity funding. Then do the maths. There is simple no way that the returns to equity investors makes up 17pc of the total number of investors who have thrown money at this platform. We havent run the figures but we'd expect that of that 17pc most if not nearly all is made up from bond holders returns. You decide if that's an honest way to put out your information. 

You have to ask why would one of the UK's most prestigious papers buy this obvious nonsense? Well you can only put it down to stupidity or ignorance or both. Its very damaging for the battle against AltFacts but the truth will out despite Luke's best efforts to conceal it. 

You can smell Crowdcube beginning to get a little desperate. We feel very sorry for the Chinese man who has apparently recently invested £1m in the company. Maybe an issue with the translation?

Could this happen?

There is a tiny whisper, almost inaudible, that one of the major ECF platforms has eyes for another one. 

Seedrs are about to embark on a new funding round and rumour has it it will be a big one. Big enough to take down Crowdcube. So they say.

Well we dont need both and of the two, Seedrs is the more sensible option - it's not flawless but it is better. Far fewer disasters than Crowdcube, less scandal than Crowdcube; generally a better bet all round.

Here's how you can help. If this is a result you would like to see and god knows we all want Crowdcube to fold, then start voting with your feet. Invest in Seedrs pitches or one of the other platforms, but avoid Crowdcube. Without the ultra loyal shareholder investors I think CC would already be struggling. Cut their supply of investors and it's over. Quite apart from the obvious logic of avoiding the Crowdcube model with all its flaws, you might even make some money. It's in your gift.

Two of Seedrs senior management team started following us today, so welcome. Better late than never. 

We still think your model has issues and the whole sector has been set up on flawed ideas, but this outcome would go partway to getting things right.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Ovivo Liquidation reveals funny side of collapse

Ovivo raised massive sums on Crowdcube and lost even more shortly afterwards. Deep in the final statement by the liquidators, we found something even a horse could laugh at.

Ovivo was the fist big disaster for Crowdcube - there have been many since.

It is finally laid to rest having lost over £1.5m of people's and creditors' money.

Thats not the funny bit.

In the initial report , the administrators said they hoped to be able to return 18p in the pound to unsecured creditors. They duly went about the job of finding buyers for the company IP etc. 

Well they didnt do too well on that score. The final report states that the expense of finding buyers and chasing them up more than spent the 18p in the pound, so now creditors will get nothing. 


That's the funny bit. 

Our views on the real problems with ECF and some solutions

Here are our thoughts on the fundamental problems with ECF as we run it in the UK and some suggestions.

1. You cannot put a brand new technology into an old system and expect them to work together in harmony.

In this case the new technology is ECF and the old system is the way we run the accounting, tax and company systems in this country. ECF was and still is a ground breaking new way of funding businesses, brought about by the connectivity of the Internet. Its very fast and very direct, completely the opposite of the old ways. Its far more open to abuse than the old system and its needs to be regulated - not by the old system , which cannot cope, but by a totally new regulation which in turn uses the Internet as well. It was ever thus, from the start of the Industrial Revolution - new machines simply dont fit into the old ways. How can they?

2. ECF is in effect a non market market. 

The current system with raising funding via ECF, uses ECF platforms and precludes the real market. The LSE doesnt go around setting company prices  - it lets the market and so called experts do that. We need a system for ECF where the share price and therefore the value of the company is set by the market not the platform in cahoots with the founders. This would certainly help to prevent the ridiculous over pricing we are seeing currently. ECF platform talk about their businesses bringing democracy to business funding when in effect they do almost the opposite.

3. More rigorous regulation will mean higher up front costs for companies. We dont want that.

So the answer might be to tweak the way the rebate system under S/EIS works. At the moment all of this rebate is handed back to the investor. Why cant we look at a way of taking at least part of this and using it to pay for better due diligence and company reporting? After all S/EIS was not set up to help line the pockets of foolish investors. It was an attempt by Government to help funding into SMEs. At the moment it only helps investors directly. We need to shift the centre of emphasis.

4. By funding poor business ideas run by poor managers on abysmal plans, we are throwing away a great chance.

Surely for the longer term gain, we need a better system of analysing who gets S/EIS and in turn who can use ECF. Nobody is going to gain by having the public invest in whole raft of dead end businesses, possibly set up with the best intentions. Best intentions dont cut it in the real world. We have certainly seen enough business plans and their results since 2011 to strongly suggest that too many hopeless cases are getting through the net. The holes are just far too large.

5. Sanctions - they need to mean something.

There is no point in issuing FCA licenses if the FCA is never going to make companies adhere to their regulations. Ban all third party licensees from taking part in ECF.

6. A more coherent longer term model

The UK's largest ECF platform simply gets the money in and then leaves the room. Their follow up is merely for their own PR. They actively downplay their disasters and often invent success. That is not the way forward.

ECF platforms and some now do this, need to reflect on the ASSOB model. It should be a much longer term relationship. Platforms could learn from the failures instead of excusing them, if they took more time with the companies. They could also help companies with an advice service if they employed the right people. Sadly for most that isnt the case right now. 


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Fourex outperforms its Crowdcube projections by £8m

Fourex operate money conversion machines. It seems they may have forgotten how to count. 

Fourex raised £670k on Crowdcube 2 years ago.

In light of the fact that Jeff Paterson, a cofounder of Fourex, sadly died of cancer recently we have removed this article. RIP

Monday, 10 July 2017

Just how bad is the Ethos Global Scandal?

Ethos Global, forced into liquidation by the Courts, and their funding facilitator Crowdcube, are trying to dismiss the closure and shenanigans that led to it, as nonsense. What really lies beneath the surface may be far worse then we thought.

Cambrdige has a bit of record with Crowdcube. There is of course this on going case but not long ago there was the confirmed fraud of the Solar Cloth Company. The SCC was run by a Cambrdige resident who was using various different spelt names to hide his business failures - a simple fact that the Crowdcube DD department missed. Result - the loss of £1m of investors cash plus a whole pile of creditors being out of pocket. Only two companies made any money out this farce. They were Crowdcube with their commission and the insolvency practitioners.

Now we have another Cambridge farce; Ethos Global. The truth is proving hard to come by but a recent source told us, that the scandal is far worse than it appears. The company was apparently already struggling before Crowdcube and was in dire straights. That's not all the source said but the rest needs some verifying. QED - when they approached Crowdcube and were vetted by them , they were already in a lot of trouble. If true, can Crowdcube really be allowed to keep their FCA license? What is the point in having any regulation if it can be so blatantly abused with no sanction. 

As with the Olympics, where they should just let it be a free for all and see who blows up first on the 100m, no regulation is better than regulation poorly enforced.

We think that Ethos Global marks a new low in the many lows of the development of ECF as a credible long term channel for SME funding. If not here, then where will the FCA draw the line?

Sunday, 9 July 2017

On a great day for Donkeys, Nicola Horlick is stranded all alone at Glentham Fund, as other directors move on.

We have a file on Glentham - its been a long painful journey which started on Seedrs. And is not over yet.

All stories here.

Now we find out that Nicola Horlick has been left at the helm, all on her own, as the latest big hitting director falls overboard.

I think we all know what happens next. Bye Bye.

Crowdrating PR spins fairy tales.

There is a certain delicious irony for a rating company with FCA registration giving out what can only be described as misleading PR about their own success. Crowdrating, run by some nice ex city folk in the West Country, has launched a new PR push with a story in Altfi. Story being the operative word. Altfi might consider changing their title to Altfac - as in Alternative Facts.

The article has the bold headline - 

CrowdRating demonstrates it can help investors improve their crowdfunding success rate.

Put simply - it does no such thing.

In the article, which is clearly advertorial, Crowdrating claim that they can help investors make better decisions about their ECF investments. We were curious as to how they would do that.

Well it turns out that they rate pitches into Gold Silver and Bronze. They now claim that 96% of their Gold ratings or 24 out of 25, rated a year or more ago, have gone on to see success - this being measured by positive news, exceeding projections or raising new funds (ones that were in the original projections) at an increased value.

They leave us with a very useful top 10 of their Golds - 4 of which were on Crowdcube. Actually one of these was also recently on Seedrs but they dont seem to know this. We cant really comment on the Syndicate Room or Seedrs pitches as we dont have the data. But the CC pitches are a useful guide to their overall accuracy.

So its really quite simple - do their claims stack up?

For their Crowdcube pitches, they receive a Bronze at best. Why? Well we have no idea, it's not that difficult to get it right but of the 4 they list in the top 10, not one could be called a success. 2 have failed to meet their CC projections, one has raised new cash in a down round which was not in the their plan and another simply hasnt done much in commercial turns. So how can you claim these are all a success. It stretches the word to breaking point. 

Witt Energy - raised on £2.4m CC and were always open about playing the long game. They have not gone bust but there is nothing to really suggest they are a success yet or even heading that way. They have made far greater losses than projected for YE2016 - £430k against CC projections of £240k. Whilst this isnt necessarily an issue longer term, they are about to embark on new £2m raise, so that may tell us more. They were due to bring home revenues of £1.8m for YE August 2017; where any of this will come from is not at all clear as they dont seem to have anything to sell

Inyourstride - raised twice on CC, tiny amount. Missed 2016 figures by a long way and have now raised far larger sum on Seedrs (Jan 17) at a lower valuation. How is that success? It may turn out to be but its way too early to tell now. If anything, a down round suggests the opposite for investors. 

Simply Cook - did exceed CC projections (ie smaller losses) but we think this is due to lack of activity not success. Raised another ~£1.5m on Envestors this year which was not in the original plan. Envestors website says the pitch is on hold but CH records the share allotment. All a little odd and it makes a valuation per round difficult.

Empiribox - Again another Co 'on target or better' but this is due to the failure to raise a planned £600k in 2016 - ie their last accounts show a bit a cash crisis. 

If the 4 in the top 10 are misleading, then what does that tell you about all the others. If you remove these 4, then the percentage falls from 96% to 80%? Who knows where it would end if we checked all the other CC pitches in the 25?

If I was you, Id do my own research. We dont give advice but if we did, it would probably be.............................. feel free to finish this off!

Beara Beara complete U turn and extend their Crowdcube pitch

Beara Beara is on Crowdcube raising more money. Things have not gone quite to plan since the first raise - do they ever. But you wouldnt know that to listen to the founders.

In this raise, there has been a very poor reception. Unlike most CC pitches, investors have commented on the over valuation and the failure to meet projections. Stalwart in their own defence the founders have hunkered down and sat it out until the time ran out....well almost.

Just 5 days ago the CEO was asked if, as a result of the poor response, he would at last reconsider his valuation before time ran out? He responded with a blast from his six shooter, that really this wouldnt be fair on existing shareholders - you know undervaluing their investment! As this is a CC pitch, its fair to assume that this nonsense is advice CC agree with, even if they didnt supply it. 

So just 4 days later, The CEO makes an announcement on CC that they are extending their pitch for another 14 days - apparently he has been so busy overseas creating new leads, that he hasnt had any time to spare for the campaign. Well you know that's total BS and if it isnt the guy shouldnt be running a company. Hidden at the bottom of this update is the reduction in the valuation. Like it's some sort of bad idea that he's trying to hide. 

Firstly the business has always been overvalued. It still is, even with the reduction. Trying to hoodwink investors by telling them something and then reversing that very decision 4 days later shows a total lack of respect. It also shows a massive chasm in any business acumen. Trust is important and you cant have any here.

The leather might be good and the help the business provides for poor Bolivians is admirable but the business management is lame. Why are CC not providing this guy with some sound advice that would allow him the best chance of making something of his endeavours. In our opinion you would be mad to invest in this, even at this new value, simply because the founders have no clue what they are doing.

A final note - one problem this underlines, is that if your first pitch on a platform like CC is over valued, then you will struggle further down the line with any new pitches  - unless you can admit to a downround or you have exceeded expectations. Neither of these options appear on the CC platform. Valuations are agreed with the interns at CC - which rather illustrates our well made point, that if the management of Beara Beara is lame, the management of Crowdcube are donkeys. No offence to donkeys.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Ethos Global could have pitched on Crowdcube whilst withholding critical creditor information

Deeper into the swamp that was Ethos Global, a little birdie has told us that their Cambridge studio closed (allegedly) because they owed over £100k in rent - the bailiffs moved in. 

We dont know if this is true but it makes sense.

So whilst Crowdcube were lauding the massive success of Dr Theo and his wife in Cambridge, they were (allegedly) all of the time sitting on an undisclosed debt of £100k plus. You might ask where were the Crowdcube DD dept? As usual out to lunch. 

Surely they cannot survive yet another mess like this?

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Ethos Global finally liquidated with extreme prejudice.

Ex Crowdcubers Ethos Global have finally been closed down by Court Order. Not filing accounts for almost 2 years and setting up new companies instead, shouldnt and we hope, will not, pay. 

We have written about these guys a few times here - it's taken quite a while to see them finally closed. But as the new studio in London is still being operated by the same people but just under a new name, where is the justice in that? 

The Court Order is still being filed so we may have to wait a day or so to find out what will happen to 388 Crowdcube investors and £709k they invested - all via a Crowdcube nominee acount. Money that paid for the new London set up. You may have a good idea from our past stories how this one will end. 

However this one looks a little juicier, given the various company set ups and shenanigans that have taken place since the Crowdcube raise. Of course Crowdcube have no idea this has happened - their Ethos page still proclaims the success of the new public launch of their new London site last year. Which is now owned by Soma London England, which is in turn, owned by the same directors who took the £709k via Crowdcube and immediately closed down the Cambridge studio. Oddly in January this year, Ethos Global filed a raise of equity finance, but the filings revealed there was no money involved, just an issue of 30m free A shares.

The new business - SOMA - School of Mindbody Athletics (!) is due to launch in September this year according to their new website They continue to remind people that they are a couple of Cambridge graduates - clearly not in English or Marketing. We simply do not believe that they will be allowed to get away with this.

Soma website appears to be owned/operated by US based Mindbody which also has a connection to Soma Fitness based in California. At this stage we gave up.

The newco has apparently TM'd its SOMA  - fact is TM means nothing and Soma is already taken several times  - their version has no application or recorded registration. 

Makes you want to cry. Makes you really want to get hold of CC and ask them just what the fridge they think they are doing.

We have asked the company several times for a comment and will try again, but the only reply we got was a no comment. A recent email to the same PR person was auto sent back as he has seen the light and left.

'You bet ya big time' gargled Grey fish.

PS - We have still had no response from the company or CC. But people we have spoken to in Cambridge said that the Ethos studio there was always full  - which is surely a sign of a successful business. So why did the Cambridge studio close suddenly just after the CC raise and why is it still vacant? Likewise why start newco's after the CC raise and have them running the now (we assume) busy London studio??

HAB's new accounts are a little off target - but for once we think this is progress.

HAB Housing, Kevin McCloud's day job, has posted further losses for YE 2016 but things are moving on and the company is at least gaining traction. It raised just shy of £2m from 640 investors in 2013 on Crowdcube. Targets have been missed as the company would otherwise be well into profit but awards are flowing and momentum is building. It is better news than any other CC company can provide. 

One interesting development is that the company is looking for ways for its shareholders to buy and sell its shares - due to multiple requests, so they so. It seems unlikely that they are getting multiple requests to buy their shares, so one assumes it is to sell them.

Do they know something we dont? What is under the covers?