Friday, 15 December 2017

Cgon turn £14m profit into £200k loss, 3 years after funding on Crowdcube



Cgon are right up there with Crowdcube when it comes to inventing things. Trouble is, this time it turns out to be their financials.


In 2014 Cgon raised £160k on Crowdcube for their anti pollution vehicle device. We wrote about them here as claims made in the pitch didn't seem to add up. Now they do. We were kindly sent this link by a reader - https://www.briskoda.net/forums/topic/388231-ezero1-device-cgon/

It would also appear that Cgon have been smack wristed by the ASA for making what seem to be outlandish claims about their widget. Looks like another case of Crowdcube being taken for the monkeys they are. More nuts guys? - https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/cgon-ltd-a17-386763.html

3 years later, they are still making large losses and have pushed themselves into the red for YE Mar17. No new money has been raised since according to CH. So you can either expect them to appear at a Angels meeting near you soon, or close. They could do both!

Solarmass calls it a day 3 years after Crowdcube funding



And so as the sun goes down on the golden sea, we say goodbye to Solarmass, a company which raised £120k on Crowdcube back in 2014, spent it and collapsed.

This outcome has been on the cards since 2014. Although if you had read the Crowdcube pitch back then you wouldnt have thought so. It looked obvious to us. We have written about them a few times.

It comes by of a voluntary striking off , following a compulsory one for failure to produce accounts for YE Dec16.

It does look as though the solar tiles the company produced were not in great demand or perhaps in any demand. Did they ever exist? 95 investors hung out to dry might wish to ask. And what has happened to the IP?

This is a suitable memorial, care of StartUps -

https://startups.co.uk/solar-energy-start-up-solarmass-closes-120000-crowdcube-pitch-in-record-time/

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

All that Glitters is not Gold as Crowdcube's Jewel Street file more losses


Jewel Street raised £190k on Crowdcube a while back. The projections used to sell this equity, showed them making over £4m net profit for YE March 2017.



It was always quite an ambitious number and you can forgive them for missing by a few million. Actually they made yet another loss  - this time £400k. Accumulated losses of £1.3m leave the predicted cash position for March 2017 of just under £5m, looking a little unreliable. The BS is embarrassed. 

To keep afloat they have raised another £200k, although this hardly seems likely to last for long.

The opening statement of the Cube pitch goes like this - 

The three founders bring together over 75 years of jewellery, marketing and eCommerce technical experience from Saatchi & Saatchi, Disney, UBS and Nomura.

That is convincing stuff but anyone ask what they did at these companies - floor cleaning? They also stated that their 2013 Christmas sales were over 700% up. Did people bother to ask from what base?

Looks a like a new management team was required and is now in place - turn around time. Possibly a little late for the Cubists who will be diluted out of existence even if the company does cash in. All a little sad and not very Christmassy. 

Little Brew - an investor's nightmare


Little Brew's headstone has been waiting for 2 whole years to be inscribed. Yet for some reason the closure notices keep coming and keep being suspended. 


Little Brew raised money on Crowdcube in 2013. It was yet another me too craft brewer taking advantage of the easy money on the platform.

No accounts for the company have been filed after YE Sept14. It has been waiting to close for 2 whole years and whilst it remains technically open, Crowcube investors are unable to claim their loss relief. 

Crowdcube have offered little help - why would they they are not paid by investors. 


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

The rules on SEIS are confusing aren't they?



Zapaygo have an SEIS Advanced Assurance letter from HMRC - its on the Crowdcube pitch. However we are not so sure that the company is eligible for SEIS. 


Advanced assurance is entirely reliant on the information supplied by the company to HMRC. HMRC in turn withhold the right to turnover any allowances under SEIS and EIS when or if the time comes for the company to cash in - retrospectively. So the risk is all put on the shareholders who in light of the failure of the company or its sale, may have to repay the 50% income tax allowance they claimed. If the company makes it, then again it maybe that investors using SEIS will not be eligible to off set the capital gains.

This is a minefield. There is little or no case law relating to ECF investing as HMRC are waiting for a large payout before they pounce and there hasn't been one yet. Experts tell me it's bomb waiting to go off.

In the case of Zapaygo, there is ample evidence to show that the app called Zapaygo was in existence in 2014 or more than 2 years ago. As the owners then are the owners now, albeit using a different legal vehicle, SEIS is denied by the rules clearly set out by HMRC. Or is it?

Well that all hinges on the use of the word 'trading'. Zapaygo claim they were not trading in 2014. This article in the Birmingham Post suggests they were. 


How can a company not trading sign a sponsorship deal with a Championship football club for two years?

One of the founders in the article makes this point - 

"It is currently being used by leisure venues but it is our intention to sign up Birmingham retailers and I expect to have some more on board within the next few days.''

Not trading?

Zapaygo told us originally that -  ''Neither I nor any other company traded an app of any sorts for two years prior to Zapaygo.'' Well that doesnt sit well with the Post article.  

Now (after we showed them the Post article) they say - ''The app was in beta for a few months only and testing in venues, if that is still called trading it was still only a few months.'' Again this is not what the Post article says. But who knows. We have an opinion but it may well be wrong. We are just pointing out some facts that seem to have been left off the Crowdcube campaign.

Of course Crowdcube have no opinion as usual. Helpful bunch. 

Zapaygo promise to tell us their real story - watch this space



Following our piece on Zapaygo's Crowdcube pre launch, the CEO contacted us to say we had got it all wrong. He is about to tell us why. 


So what will be revealed? Well we dont know yet but expect to find out this coming week, as the Crowdcube campaign is publicly launched. 

So keep watching this space. 

Come out you punks wherever you are - Brewdog needs you.


Brewdog launched its own EFP V a while back. The aim was to raise £50m and the initial target was £10m. Things are a little slow.


As ever we prefix this post with the usual stuff about how brilliant Brewdog are and what a massive success their EFP campaigns have been - until now.

We have been following EFP V since 28 October. It started out strongly enough but was soon having days that fell well below the required input level to get to £10m. As of the last two weeks, the campaign has been chugging along at £40-60k per day, when it needs to be at around £100k to cross the line. If the current trend continues it will be a couple of Ms short. 

So if you love Brewdog and that crazy man in the hat - get your wallets out and give him some luv. He launched a new promo for this round a few days back named Equity for Pups - apparently people like to buy their dogs shares in BD. Really?

It seems the problem maybe the low numbers of existing punks returning at the current valuation - something we wrote about a while back. The ROI rubber band has been stretched to breaking point.

Coming as this does on the back of the failure of their US punks campaign, does it signal the emptying of the well? Its a little early to call that one but its now or never for you punks and punkets - only 34 days to go with just under £3.4m left to complete. 

As it is their own campaign, any shortfall will probably be called a massive success anyway. Raising £8m certainly isn't bad but its not quite Carling.

Has Sugru come unstuck?



The gap between what Sugru predict and what they achieve is widening. After taking £5m off Crowdcube investors, revenues and losses are way off target.


We had Sugru down as a likely ROI for Cube investors. Now we are not so sure.

Accounts, filed 3 months late, to YE Dec16, show revenues at £4.5m against recent, downwardly adjusted projections of between £5.6m to £8m. The GPM has bombed from projected levels between 48% and 60% to 38% for the year. 

Reality has set in, as we thought it would. £1.5m in new cash has been raised in 2017, so dilution a gogo. Losses of over £3m are heading north.

New children friendly versions of their glue must help. New Mexican packaging plant paid in $ will not. Although they are at least now well positioned to help with TrumpWall. As a global trader, exchange risks will have to be well planned for - slightly better than their financial projections.

So long as the cash doesnt run out, they may yet deliver that long awaited gem for Crowdcube. If they do it will certainly be a little smaller than they first predicted. Cash is the key and more is required for 2018. 

Ridelink failure kicking up a dust storm on Seedrs



Ridelink raised £1m on Seedrs and then went bust. Investors want to hear a plausible explanation. Seedrs are silent but their forum isnt.


UPDATE - we have just been sent this interesting link on the history of Rocket Internet and its founding brothers. Had you all known this, it is a fair bet you would not have invested in Ridelink or for that matter any of companies in the Rocket stable. We have not verified their information so take it as you will - it certainly fits with the Ridelink outcome -  

http://www.lordshipstrading.com/search/label/Rocket%20Internet. 

In what looks like an out and out scam, Ridelink used equity crowdfunding to extend their failing business for a few months, only to find that no one else would give them anymore cash - so they folded.

Cries of 'well what did you expect, this type of investment is high risk' is pretty well all the defence they can come up with. That and totally groundless accusations that what we have written here is incorrect - well you have the opportunity to rebut and sue. Didnt think so.

Reading through the forum, it is clear that this wasnt a scam in the sense that these guys set out to take the public's money with no intention of delivering anything. 

Ridelink's burn rate was high and they needed cash. The plans showed that the Seedrs cash wouldnt last long, so they would need more. People who invest in this type of offer are maximising the risk. The company couldnt raise more. Caput,  So long,  Adieu.

But there are some interesting side issues. What if the company knew that it couldnt raise more via VCs etc before it came to Seedrs? Then it would be a scamette. And it does seem odd, as one comment points out, that the Seedrs £1m was only due to last a few months, yet the company apparently had no knowledge that they would have problems raising more. That is not credible. They must have known the market.

Then there is the issue of the salaries. The Founders are forceful in their denial that there was anything wrong with their levels - set as they were by the major shareholder Rocket. Marcin even exclaims that in two years he hasnt had a raise or a bonus! Mon dieu, sweet lamb. As anyone who has been involved in this world knows, companies losing money do not pay founders, companies about to go bust take money off founders, their friends and family. 

We'd be tempted to put the whole thing down to gross naivety on all parts. Ridelink was a goner way before the Seedrs campaign. They took money via Seedsr because they couldnt get it anywhere else - the proof is there in the few months post Seedrs. Investors ignored this; Seedrs ignored it. Seedrs failed to protect investors by having this company on their site in the first place. What role Rocket played may never be known but sure as eggs are eggs, neither Seedrs nor their investors would have participated without that rubber stamp. As owners of Ridelink, Rocket must have known the true picture as much as Ridelink did. So who was calling the shots? 

Aye - there's the rub.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Zing Zang baby.



Ok so the picture is a joke - right - dont get all PC on me. The latest ECF news is that Zing Zing, the Chinese takeaway, have already, after only 2 days on Crowdcube, blasted their £500k target.

This is Zing Zing's second Cubism. They raised an astonishing £1.7m last year against a target of just £350k. 

Since then the rice has taken longer to steam than they thought - even with five times the capital base. But hell, come in well under budget and you can still hike your price on the Cube and no one will bother to question it. Apparently they hadnt allowed for the fall in the £ and subsequent price hikes in their COGS. Do they know that Brexit has only just begun and has a minimum of 2 years to go, without any idea what it will look like eventually?

4 units are up and running but two are new and the other two have not reached maturity yet - so some way to go to get the recipe right. 3 new openings planned in London for 2018, with whatever recipe is on hand. Units are certainly cheaper than most to get going so that is a plus. Reviews of existing outlets are generally good but they are not sensational. Shouldn't they be? 

Our guess - plenty of dilution heading the way of investors, eased by fictional growth in values. Just may get some real traction or enough to be a target for purchase. ROI, well that depends on the above - high risk but rewards are good if you like Chinese. 

Whoever made up investment rules needs to rewrite them.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Testing times for Kokoon insomniacs.


For Kokoon backers hoping to have a Christmas present to help them sleep, insomnia in to the New Year and beyond is looming.


Kokoon raised £1.7m on Crowdcube just around 3 month ago. We warned investors at the time that their Kickstarter Campaign had gone sour with broken promises and product delays. It seemed to us that the company was using the Cube to cover the costs of production for the KS backers.

In the Crowdcube campaign the CEO of Kokoon told one potential investor a total lie - no other way of putting it. He asked the company why there had been so many delays over 2 years since the KS completed.

The CEO as part of his answer made this statement  - 

These changes have taken time, but the end result is an innovative, robust headphone that has been tested and is ready for mass manufacture and with a high level of demand attached to it.

That was 3 months ago. 2 days ago the same CEO in an update to KS backers, stated that of various pre test testings(pre-scan compliance testing he calls them ie tests to make sure the product will get through the real tests), the product had just failed 2 safety tests and that this would mean changes, retesting and more delays. It also went on to state that production testing was not yet ready to be tested and that product testing via backers had not started tests yet. All a load of testcycles we cried. Certainly nowhere close to mass production or final testing - something he must have known when answering the Q on Crowdcube. 

You get where this is going. We have been down this track before.

This may well be a fantastic product in the end, but the end is not insight and we have now had at least 20 false horizons. KS backers spent over £1.2m in pre sales (optimistically filed as debtors by the company) and now Crowdcube investors have shovelled in another £1.7m on the back of trusting that what the CEO says. 

Give him some slack for over enthusiasm, naivety and a severe case of marketing rash but surely he his duty bound not to mislead. We reckon it will be at least 3 months before any mass production is ready and we wouldnt expect to see KS backers with their hard won prize until the start of the Spring 2018 at the earliest. Maybe he should tell them that. Those backers that is, that have not joined the small but growing number, demanding a refund. Refinancing may well be required because to the lack of planning and consequent delays. Promised store orders from the UK's leading outlets may be put at risk. 

Bet Crowdcube investors were not expecting that.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Crowdcube banned Shaw Academy now turns to Shadow Foundr for ECF campaign.


Shaw Academy raised £2m on Crowdcube recently. Well they thought they had. Crowdcube cancelled the campaign as it completed because of actions taken by SA that contravened Crowdcube's regulations.


We wrote about it here

Now as you know Crowdcube regulations allow you do pretty much anything so long as you are not caught. So this must have been a really big thing for the Cube to write off their commission.

Shadow Foundr is as it suggests, very much in the gloom. I dont believe SA will get off the ground here, but you should be aware of the Crowdcube facts if you are thinking of investing.

It is all part of the pond life that ECF seems to have made friends with.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Anyone been pestered by Business Shaper Group Ltd? Is this another Shaw Academy?



We received an email just a few moments ago, out of the blue, from some outfit called Business Shaper Group - promoting investment in a current Crowdcube pitch for White Car. 


So we rang Emma and Gary Douglas-Beet to find out why. They couldnt tell us how they got hold of my private, not for business, email address and why they had sent me an investment invitation/advert for White Car, unsolicited.

On further discussion they said they would find out and get back to me. Im not hopeful. This conversation revealed that they are not FCA regulated but feel they dont have to be as they use Crowdcube's licence.

They claim to be partners with the cube - an official supplier of business advice, plans and promotions for all things ECF on the Crowdcube site. They have apparently helped 3 other pitches complete. I suppose this might explain in someway why the Crowdcube business plans are always such nonsense. We couldnt find them on Crowdcube's list of partners and their own website makes no mention of Crowdcube. Surely you would expect to find something? We did find one of their clients - TEC Avenue, who raised just £117k on Crowdcube in early 2017. TEC Avenue currently have 121 Twitter followers and 8 reviews on Amazon. 

As a company, BS Group (unfortunate acronym), are tiny and loss making according to the last accounts, which also show a negative balance sheet. So why the hell would any company worth their salt take their advice? 

I wasnt going to invest in White Car but had I been, I certainly wouldnt now. It doesnt look as though this pitch will complete anyway as it has only 5 days left and a long way to go. Why would they send out investment promos with only 5 days left if they were White Cars ECF management team??

Do let us know if you have had any junk mail. Remember the successful £2m raise by Shaw Academy on Crowcube was suddenly cancelled when it was discovered they had been promoting it against Crowdcube's advice.

PS - Just had another email from these clowns claiming my email address is all over the web - these are the illustrations they used -

Connect with Robert via email: robhmurray@gmail.com

Email me at robhmurray@gmail.com so we can connect.

Email me at robhmurray@gmail.com so we can connect.

No idea who this guy is but it aint me. I gave these idiots my name and email so they could check this out. What a shambles. 

Daisy Green pursue early delivery policy on their Crowdcube bond issue



Daisy Green raised £775k on Crowdcube via a bond issue for 4 years at 11%. Two years later they are repaying lucky bond purchasers.


Well lucky in the sense that at least nothing has gone wrong and everyone gets a little interest ( the company is about to make its 4th and final payment on 9th December) plus their principle back. The lost opportunity costs are best ignored. The risk, these bonds have no security attached and are not covered by any Government scheme, should also be ignored. 

Daisy have seen good growth and are ahead of their projections which is very encouraging. On the back of this success they have come up with deal with a UK bank to fund them - we presume at less than 11%. This deal will, according to the company, allow future growth and success but that will not involve the investors who facilitated it. So the company have got rid of the now burdensome bond. They must be hoping that they dont ever have to come back to the crowd for more cash.

Certainly one investor who contacted us was a little miffed that the deal had been cut short 3 years early with no penalty. However those were the terms, even if you had to delve into the small print to find them.

It might be helpful if Crowdcube made the early settlement clause a little larger. Then again who ever thought Crowdcube would be helpful?

Here is a copy of the notice sent out via Crowdcube - 

Hello,

As a bondholder in Daisy Green, we have an important update about your investment.

Daisy Green has decided to progress with early redemption of the bond, which means you will receive the last interest payment plus your full investment by the end of the week. Full details are outlined below by founders of the company, Prue and Tom:

"We’ve enjoyed a great year with some real successes - from opening Timmy Green in Victoria to being awarded three Time Out Love London awards, to launching our Sir Peter Blake designed barges (Darcie and May Green) in Paddington Basin. For us, being able to successfully transition from brunch to lunch to dinner to drinks has been a real highlight and has marked a meaningful enhancement to the Daisy Green proposition.

Financially, all of our sites are growing and contributing positively to our profitability. We are achieving run rate revenue of approximately £7.5m and site level profitability of £1.5m (c.20%). This represents growth of 2x and 3x respectively since we launched the bond.

Our business has grown and developed so much over the last few years. With your support and encouragement, we’ve had the ability to continue to push and tweak our offering, invest in our existing sites, launch new dayparts and acquire prime new sites.

Thank you to each of you who have offered support, provided feedback and being such an important part of our journey so far.

In the last week, we have signed a significant debt facility with a leading UK Bank. The facility will allow us to continue to expand Daisy Green throughout London and represents a significant and early institutional backing of our business which is rare amongst our peers. We have several great Central London locations which we are very close to announcing which will make amazing Daisy Green destinations. You will continue to be amongst the first names invited to our opening parties!

As part of the facility, we are sadly required to repay our bonds. And quite soon. On the 9th of December, we will repay all of your principal investment along with your 4th interest payment. We are proud to be the first Crowdcube bond to redeem their bonds early.

We are hugely excited about the future and we’d love for you to continue to be a part of our growth, as customers and hopefully as investors once again. We’re exploring options to allow you to get involved which we hope to be able to share details on very soon.

Please continue to stay in touch and thank you once again for the huge part you’ve played in growing Daisy Green to what it is today."
 
If you have any queries, please feel free to contact prue@daisygreen.com.

Best wishes,

Crowdcube on behalf of Prue and Tom, founders of Daisy Green
 


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

ESign UK back for another attempt on Crowdcube.


It is an odd system that doesnt tell investors - their own clients no less - that a potential opportunity has tried and failed and tried and succeeded to raise on the same platform in the last 3 years. 


ESign UK Ltd are that opportunity. Now they are back for what we think is go 3 or possibly 4, one of which raised £64k in 2014. They have never come close to the projections provided in each attempt. Here is one they cooked earlier in 2016 which failed -

https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2016/02/82270-electronic-signature-service-provider-e-sign-returns-to-crowdcube/

We couldnt find this information on the current pitch but thought you would find it useful. 

Why is it hidden? You need to ask Crowdcube that one. 

Im sure they would claim the David Davis Defence - 'well we didnt say they hadnt been on here before and failed or succeeded'. Helpful little man.

You can be sure that things are not what they seem when a company starts talking about its traction and growth in terms of 3 or 4 years windows, with increases in stats that have little significance. A 300% increase in revenues for a company turning over £10k means it is now turning over £30k - which when it claimed its turnover would be in the several millions, indicates either gross incompetence or worse.

More useful information might be that Crowdcube projections showed the company making a net profit of over £1m for YE February 17,  for which the company is due to file accounts this month. We would be fairly sure this is someway off reality.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Rushmore Veryslow with accounts


The Rushmore Group raised a total of £2m on Crowdcube back in the day - or 2011 to 2013. Very little in their three Crowdcube campaigns has materialised.

As we all know the tortoise beats the hare but in this instance the poor old boy is more likely to meet his natural end before we see any progress. For once this is quite an interesting story which we have posted here 

As of today the company still operates just the one London and just the one New York venues. That was not the plan sold. Losses to YE Dec15, were £1.6m. Nor was that.

Hopefully the old guy is just about to appear round the bend with the 2016 accounts - no hurry.

Grubklub file further large losses


Grubklub raised £290k on Crowdcube in 2015. The latest accounts, filed 4 months late, show further large large losses against projected profits.


It is getting quite hard to make the same story sound interesting. But here goes.

We wrote a short piece about these guys and their creative use of figures here

Grubklub were supposed to making profits of around £210k for their last filed year. Instead they reported losses of £175k. Further equity raises have caused dilution. 

At some stage we suppose that Crowdcube investors will add 2 and 2 together and get 4 instead of £10m each.

Mara Seaweed results disappoint again.



Mara Seaweed raised over £500k on Crowdcube in 2015. Late filed accounts for YE Dec16, show losses of the same. Of course projections showed a very different story.


We have written plenty about Mara - here. It was an odd Crowdcube campaign.

Mara Seaweed make a collection up market seaweed condiments. For some reason they got themselves a listing in Morrisons. Anyone who knows this supermarket knows they are not up market. That speaks volumes for the confused approach this business has developed.

Recently two directors resigned - one being the founder of the highly successful Rabbie's Tours. That also speaks volumes for the way the business is being managed.

Back to the figures and the company was late filing these last accounts. Projections used on the Crowdcube platform showed the company making around £200k of net profit for this period. In fact they made losses just short of £500k - accumulated losses now sit at £1.4m. Cash is tight and our judgement is that they needed to raise more capital in 2017 but havent.

In 2016 they had raised more equity capital (never mentioned on Crowdcube in 15).  We would imagine sales have been disappointing, although they were never projected to be that exciting.

One can only hope that they have seen a better 2017 and have a solid plan for 2018, or else.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Zapaygo have an interesting past.


We dont often comment on new pitches - but Zapaygo Investments Ltd, now live on Crowdcube, is an exception!


With 345 Twitter followers and 644 likes on FB, this payment app is valued at £9.5m. 

Zapaygo could to be found this summer offering investors on the Angel Investment Network, a valuation of only £6.6m pre money for a £900k investment. A deal, we have to assume, Crowdcube didnt know about.  On July 14 2017,  Elliot Hall, the founder, posted a notice  - here.

It is clear  from this, that the round was to be closing soon and it reads

''We will be pausing as far as any further investment is concerned and driving up the value of our business by going live with many venues''. 

So what are they now doing on CC - Hill Walking? It goes on to say that this round was oversubscribed. There is no evidence that £900k has been raised, although the value has certainly gone up! However Elliot Hall says the £900k was raised, plus some - here on Angels Investment Network  - 

  - https://www.angelinvestmentnetwork.co.uk/testimonial/elliot-hall-zapaygo/890

This unfortunately is entirely contradictory to the figures these guys have used on Crowdcube  - covered off as usual by Crowdcube's lazy, myopic DD Dept - where there is no sign of this £900k plus. You begin to wonder. But wait....

Zapaygo(v.1 to v.5), which one is a Q you will have to consider at the bottom of this post, were shirt sponsors of Championship side Brum City for 2014/15 and 2105/16 according to their CEO - here. However something must have gone wrong in the wash as the shirt for 15/16 had another name on it. 

The company does have signed deals with NEC Group and Verteda EPOS and has just announved a new agreement with Rimilia Holdings. All look good as conduits to collect potential numbers to press ad revenues out of.

The new version of the app is on iTunes. The owner of the app on there is down as Zapaygo Ltd not Zapaygo Investments. There appears to be no legal link between the two (see below). They say on the Zap website it is also available on Google Play but the link disagrees.

Zapaygo UK and Ireland Ltd tried to raise money on an ECF platform called Eureeca based in Dubai in 2016. The CEO of this Zapaygo here, Mr Hall, was tweeting this campaign in support of it. Having spoken to the CEO of Eureeca, we can confirm that this campaign failed and raised no money. Mr Hall has confirmed that in the last 6 years, he and friends have out in around £1.5m. 

Zapaygo Group Ltd, originally Zapaygo Ltd, a company whose two directors and major shareholders make up 2/3 of Zapaygo Investments' Directors, changed its name to Z&T Ops UK Limited. Of all the Zapaygo companies, this one has been funded but has a BS in the red at the last filing.  

Zapaygo Invetsments has what can only be described as a very shallow capital base from which it is launching this £500k campaign. The company claim in this CC campaign, that the founders and directors have invested money in the company - well £100k is a not much when you consider they are now claiming it's worth nearly £10m. The campaign goes on to state the company will offer an ICO as part of its plans to launch a new cryptocurrency. Nice.

The Confirmation statement dated 8 June 2017 is misfiled. The company at that date had 1m shares allotted not 100. So one is forced to assume that the £90k invested in May and June 17 in two separate tranches has been left off this Confirmation statement for some reason. Or maybe it was actually £900k but someone missed a zero. Slippery little blighters and these guys seem prone to mistakes. It certainly makes making any sense of this company that bit harder.

The CEO and CFO do not own any shares in Zapaygo Investments Ltd, as of June 8 2017. All 100 shares are owned by Elliot Hall, who previously had a company called Zapago Ltd dissolved in February 2017. Y you might ask? The same Elliot Hall punting the company to the Angels Network. The CFO has no credentials and was involved a few years ago with a company which lost investors over £1m.

Looks like Zapaygo have been trying for a while. We found this gem from February 2015 - 
The company featured seems large and very successful but a little digging reveals a shell owned by the one person with nout in the bank. There is a pattern there somewhere.

Just to top things off, this company projects that from where it is now, by the end of its second year, it will be making over £2.8m EBIT.

Processing and ad revenues will be followed by data mining giving the company 3 revenue streams for now.

They have SEIS AA but we think this is a bit iffy. Zapaygo's trading is under 2 years old, so its fine. But the trade is it carrying out has been, it could be argued, carried out for at least 4 years in various forms by Elliot. He is now the CEO of the SEIS company. That is strictly speaking against SEIS rules. As HMRC operate a self assessment tick box exercise for AA, you can never be sure that when you hit the jackpot and HMRC actually delve into the company, they wont change the ruling. They retain the right to do so. It is a grey area as no one has yet cashed in via ECF.

Good luck to all those who sail in her.



Friday, 1 December 2017

Cauli Rice comes back for a Fifth time to Crowdcube - that has to be a record!



When this campaign completes and it already almost has on day 2, Cauli Rice or FullGreen will have taken £4m off Crowdcube investors. Yet they have never once managed to produce figures that compared to the ones in the various campaigns.


It is a truly incredible story. If you check out the Ocado/Waitrose reviews of the product, they are mixed to put it politely. The smell seems to be the main problem. Now it would appear that the founders are pinning their hopes on the US army to buy in volume - assuming they wont mind the smell?

You can imagine the squads at Camp Pendleton signing - 'Cauli Rice, tastes like .ice, smells of .ice, Hmmm Good, Cauli Rice'. Sir YES Sir. You can fill in the missing letters.

The valuation this time is just above the £9.5m from early 2017. The company claims this is legit and yet again wheels out friends, Blue Box, to verify this. Well Im sorry but the previous valuation was based on the previous one and the so on. So if the original is nonsense (and it was) and the promised growth has not appeared for the last 3 years (which it hasnt), then this one is equal nonsense. However just for variety Blue Box have decided this time to use DCF as their chosen method. You are having a laugh guys?

Yet more promises of fantastic new listings come forth in the new campaign - like the other 4 campaigns. Trouble is most of the other ones fell through. Irrelevant but mind bending stats on the position of Cauli Rice in the world's rice hierarchy replace the real numbers. Suffice to say that for yet another year, the company is loss making. In the last raise in early 2017, they showed profits for 2017. In the earlier raises, profits by now had made them millionaires. The pitch shows no profits for 2017 and only a promise of one in the UK for 2018. We have all heard that one before.

Cauliflower rice is a great product. Its available fresh at most supermarkets, you can very easily make your own for next to nothing and it takes a just a few minutes. So why would you want some foul smelling (tasters notes) packet, long shelf life, alternative? And it purports to be a health food!

Good luck to all of you already on board, we have been warning you for years about this and the previous product these guys marketed - Righteous Salad Dressings. We were right about Righteous, so you'd better hope we are wrong about Cauli. You can find numerous posts here.

Full Green ahead.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Seedrs joins the failure party


Seedrs funded Ridelink runs out of cash and calls it a day - just 5 months after taking over £1m off investors.


Well if you cant beat them, then join them. As Crowdcube failures continue to pile up, Seedrs clearly had no intention of being left behind.

If you choose to believe anything you read or hear on an ECF platform, this company looked like a good bet. Geared up with £4m of investment and going places according to their CEO, Ridelink was 88%owned by Rocket Internet - an incubator based in Europe. The company had a trading record and tens of thousands of signed up customers. Mind you it had a turnover of just £90k for YE16, which must have raised some queries? In the campaign video, one poor guy actually set up a home based car rental business using Ridelink. He had bought 3 cars so will now be wondering how to pay for them. What could possibly go wrong?

Well we dont know yet - we asked Seedrs but they have not replied. In some correspondence from Ridelink they just say they have run out of money and are recommending people use Drivy instead. That sure is a novel closing gambit. In a face saving move, the email goes on to say that Ridelink is joining up with Drivy, which they say is great news for everyone.

Drivy acquired Buzzcar back in 2015 and is heavily backed by big money.

Hold on a moment - were there not investors in Ridelink involved here? Maybe Drivy are also sharing their company with them? And dont forget, the rewards promised by Ridelink to Seedrs investors. Good luck claiming those now.

We are not convinced that all the information made available to investors was accurate. There seems to be little sign of the £4m for example. Time will tell.

Finally we found this alarming but not uncommon note in the accounts for YE 16 - its second year. The directors paid themselves over £300k in the year with the largest single payment being £140k. This is astonishing for a start up making large losses and only in business because of other people's money. It should also be noted that neither 'founder' was a shareholder which would immediately ring loud alarm bells for us.  

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Did Shaw Academy use Swagbucks to create massive 'client' surge just prior to Crowdcube campaign?



Crowdcube's withdrawn Shaw Academy campaign could have been using fake numbers to create investor interest. 


Well this one isnt a first but it is odd. Many companies use the coupon system to inflate their user numbers - Groupon Wowcher etc. 

But it appears that Shaw Academy where actually paying people 100 Swagbucks (worth around 50p) to sign up for courses, even if they never intended taking them. Of course then Shaw could claim that they had xxxx signed up members. 

Maybe this is why Crowdcube suddenly pulled the £2.2m successful pitch just days before it was due to complete.

Anyone at Crowdcube care to comment, apart from 'well its not our job to check'?

Here is what we were sent - 

https://www.reddit.com/r/SwagBucks/comments/729f7r/quick_100_sbs_with_free_shaw_academy_no_cc

Monday, 27 November 2017

JAM Vehicles in midst reorganisation and refunding has lost first mover advantage.



JAM make the Jivr bike, an electric collapsible commuter bike. They raised money on Crowdcube in 2013 but have yet to deliver anything other than excuses.


JAM raised £160k on Crowdcube and then pre sold bikes to the tune of £120k on Kickstarter in 2015. Now after quite a rough ride through the KS forum, the company has admitted that they are not in position to deliver any bikes without a massive reorganisation and considerable new funding. Dilution awaits those bold enough to see this design as a classic back in 2013 - the same ones who failed to see the obvious flat tyre when it came to the business side.

JAM are not coming back to Crowdcube but have opted to go down the private Angel VC route using that they describe as a boutique bank. This seems a shame if they do not offer existing shareholders a deal. Class B SHs have no preemption rights - all the Crowdcube investors are B shareholders. They stated back in June that they were raising £2m. This we assume is the same £2m that they are about to raise now - or so they say. We dont know the valuation but suspect it will not be favourable to the Crowdcube SHs. They just have to suck it up, despite being the only reason that Jivr reached this stage.

Whilst all of this has been dribbling on, Jivr as a bike, has lost all of its first mover advantage and now faces considerable competition from existing market leaders. 

There are ways to attack a market with a new product and this certainly isnt one of them.



How the Crowd has no power in reality


The London Doctors Clinic raised over £800k on Crowdcube in 2016. They had already seen £1m invested by Oakfield Capital Partners, which gave them a controlling share in the company.


So when the company decided this year to raise another £2m, which had not been mentioned only a year ago in the Crowdcube campaign, investors had the right to vote on a 20% uplift clause.

According to Crowdcube's own site very few existing Crowdcube investors backed this change  - it might after all lose them 20% pro rata of any ROI should the company exit. It certainly has diluted their existing holding. Despite what appears to be an overwhelming NO, the raise went ahead and the company took in another £2m  - only £85k from Crowdcube investors. So much for the Crowd taking back power.

We dont know how the company is doing, as their accounts are now over 2 months overdue and they have a compulsory striking off filed against their name. It probably doesnt signify much apart from poor management. But then, that was why they raised the £2m - to improve the management side. It is just a shame they didnt tell anyone they were going to have to in 2016.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Justpark look set to smash their Crowdcube target in latest round of funding.


Justpark raised over £3.5m on Crowdcube in 2015. Now they are back for another £1.5m, although we expect the real target is much higher. So how does it stack up?


If you listen to the company, then its all going swimmingly. So let's not do that.

In 2015, they only gave historic figures for the financials expect for that year. Now again they only give historic figures, so a comparison is difficult. However, we do have one and that is for 14/15.

Revenue figures are spot on but its the gross profit and COGS that send out a more worrying message. Not of course a message mentioned in the current pitch.

COGS were £263k but actual COGS for that year were £371k. So that's a 41% increase in COGS for the same value of revenue. Gross profit likewise were £828k but were in fact £626k again on the same revenue - a considerable shift in GPM. The overall expenditure was below the expected level and this seesm to be as a result of employing fewer staff. This might in turn explain the high number of complaints at that time that the company couldnt be reached if there was a problem.

Now we do know that the company has had issues with service levels and this could explain the changes - but this is not explained in the current pitch. When companies ignore the obvious in an attempt to disguise issues, you have be a little worried. 

Our main problem with Justpark, apart from the above is that they have no real control over the service they offer. The spaces are owned and controlled by the public - who are nothing if not unreliable. The issue of arriving at your space to find it either too tight, full or simply not there, with the owner unavailable, is one that appears too often in negative reviews. So if, for example, you cannot get parked you miss the wedding or funeral you planned to attend. To be fair the reviews have improved in the last year. But unlike Airbnb, the transaction value is very low so space owners do not really care. Justpark do compare themselves to Airbnb, which is a mistake. 

So you have to ask can the company resolve this issue - clearly no as they have no control over it. 

So can they live with it and increase their revenues by enough to make some money ie profit? Can they keep the GPM steady and stop the rise in COGS and operating costs above the level it currently sits at, against increases in revenues? That's the key balance and they have a long way to go to get to BE.  Deals with Local Authorities and major property owners such as hotel chains will help - but may come as a discount to GPM.

The rest is for you investors to decide. 

We team up with Syndicate Room The Due Diligence Guide for Investors - out now for free




Well here it is - the new and only guide for investors in the SME market, explaining how best to carry out Due Diligence before you part with your cash. Download it for free here


The guide, written by this blogger and updated on line as new information comes to light, is a very quick but comprehensive help to carrying out DD. If you dont bother with the DD, then you are a fool. And you are not helping anyone. In doing a good job on DD you can help the company you are interested in and that in turn that will be a help to UK plc. The last thing we need is a whole raft of useless companies soaking up the investment offered by ECF. Anyone familiar with this blog will be aware of that!

We have called many of the failures that we now see - when they were pitching for your cash. Read this guide and it will help you do the same. Filled with examples (anon but real cases) it's a quick overview reflecting 35 years of business experience alongside one the UK's best ECF platforms.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Scruples Free GF Foods Director declared bankrupt


This is a name worth remembering - Stuart Richard Allister - the CEO of the now defunct Crowdcube success GF Foods.


The administration is still ongoing. What has been revealed by the work to date (Sept 2017) is the directors had outstanding loan accounts and '' a number of payments that the directors have made/owed indicate the amount could be substantial'. And that the accounts were in such a poor state that it has been extremely difficult to work out exactly what is owed to whom and where the money has gone.

The administrator goes on to say that his investigations have unearthed a number of things that make him think there are grounds for claims against the directors of the company.

The CEO has been declared bankrupt.

Crowdcube allowed these guys to use their platform not just once but twice to con people out of £345k. This is only part of the estimated £1.8m in unpaid debts that GF have left the administrator to sort out. Well done boys.

We have written about them before here warning of their record of lies and deceit when it came to the claims they were making on the Crowdcube platform. Unfortunately for some, they didnt listen.








Thursday, 23 November 2017

Hats off to Grind


Grind's £750k Crowdcube completes in a day and goes into overdrive.


Grind appeared on Crowdcube in 2015 with a successful £1.3m bond. Whilst the projections then have not quite come to fruition now, they have certainly made progress. And the signing this week of SSP, the transport hub specialists, to help role out their branded Coffe bars in railway stations and airports, puts them them in a good position for the next few years.

Here is hoping that this is one company we can look back on and see how it was helped by ECF and made investors some money. Still a very long to go and using a 3 month run rate to state the revenue instead of much poorer real figures, aint great. But hell, its better than most. Expect more raises along the way.

Berrywhite launch downround on Crowdcube

Berrywhite took £293k off Crowdcube investors in 2014 at a value of £5m. Now they are back again for another £150k at a pre money value of £2.7m. 


Well at least that bit is open and honest. Oh wait, no it's not, we had to dig around to find that they had previously been on Crowdcube and at that value - its not mentioned in the pitch. Whats makes it worth £2.7m is highly questionable - it certainly is not the managements skills at sales projections!

So what else is not mentioned?

All the usual really - previous projections had the company making net profits of £1.675m for YE Dec16. They actually filed a loss of £220k. And so it goes on. Despite what they say in the current pitch, we hazard a guess that the 2016/17 turnover was around £600k when it was projected to be over £7m. So why would anyone believe anything they say?

Nothing really wrong with the product or the team. It's just that despite all the hype the former doesnt really sell very well. It would help if one could rely on the information they give out or have any confidence that Crowdcube bother to check it.

And do they think the 6p Sugar Tax is going to make that much difference? We dont. 

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Crowdcube - watching a train wreck in slow motion.





We were sent this from Crowdcube's website - it pretty well sums up their value to the world...... We especially liked the references to this site as the place to find the real information!! Little Brew is still not closed. In light of the very recent Shaw Academy fiasco, we wonder if Crowdcube are now employing the sons and daughters of their interns.


From the CC discussion board about Little Brew...

 

EIS loss relief

lalsarin 3 months ago
9 Replies
Hello,
In the investor update in March 2016, Stu sadly confirmed that he was selling all of the brewing kit and would be evaluating the future of the business. A decision about this was to be made "several months". I have respectfully stayed silent waiting for a future announcement.
However, I have heard nothing in the last 16+ months. I do note that the company's accounts are over one year overdue. Can Stu either confirm that the company is to be wound up - which would allow loyal investors to claim loss relief from HMRC - or put out his plan of what is happening with the business?
While I am sympathetic to the struggles of the business and the stress that this brings, leaving this in limbo has simply mean that no one is able to move on. Investors have entrusted Stu with their money, and without his action cannot claim the loss relief that we are due. Please can we have a response asap.
R
109%
0 days left
  
FYI, my emails to Stu have bounced and seem to be not in service. Perhaps Crowdcube staff could comment on this please?
  
For any other investors interested, Crowdcube are investigating. They are going to contact Stu and find it it where things stand. I'll update when I hear more.
R
  
Any news?
I see that the compulsory strike-offs at Companies House were suspended in May 2017. If there is still some value to be had here, then let's hear about it
A bit of communication and corporate governance wouldn't go amiss
  
In a nutshell:
I emailed Crowdcube saying that the website and Stu's email were down. They replied saying that because the website and email were down, they couldn't get hold of him....
I then replied suggesting that they tried another method of communication, such as phoning him (surely they have his number?!), writing to him (his address is listed on companies house) or through social media (he has a LinkedIn account).
On 15 September Crowdcube replied saying that they have tried multiple methods of communication in the past but will try again. I have heard nothing back and have low confidence that CC will hear back or help investors by forcing through a wind-up or agreement of zero value with HMRC. Other crowdfunding models, with other investor structures, would be much more active in this.
Options for us now are:
  1. Do nothing and wait.
  2. Try to contact Stu directly. I will have a go at this when I come to do my tax return later in the year.
  3. Agree with HMRC that the shares have negligible value, as allowed in EIS rules, and claim the loss relief.
  
Thanks for your efforts. If you do manage to track him down, please let us know as he may be more prepared to 'engage' if he is contacted by a number of shareholders.
I quite agree re other crowdfunding models. I have stopped actively investing on here as the lack of portfolio management, communication and general corporate governance is too frustrating. Caveat emptor!
  
Mtmale, I'm exactly the same - I've stopped investing on this platform all together after a corporate governance disaster here ended in a successful criminal prosecution... I thought that was a bad once off, but then I started reading Rob Murray Brown's blog about this site...
  
Same here. Quantock Breweries is also an interesting case...
  
Hi,
From a past experience where I had an unlisted investment that went wrong, with a complete lack of information, I claimed for it to be of negligible value by briefly explaining the circumstances on my tax return and it went through fine. Bear in mind that if any future value arises (albeit unlikely) this then has to be declared to them.
  
Interesting. Thanks Jimbob. Just a shame that Stu appears to have given up without wrapping up.


Shaw Academy's Crowdcube pitch is cancelled at the last minute


In what looks like a farce, even for Crowdcube, the succesful Shaw Academy ECF campaign which had raised over £2m on Crowdcube, has been pulled by the platform.


Apparently Shaw's were in breach of the Crowdcube rules. Are there any? How often have Crowdcube been in blatant breach of the FCA rules? Well there are over 800 posts here. For Crowdcube to give up the commission on a £2.2m success, when they are so desperate for cash, this must have been one mighty breach. Shaws say they have done nothing wrong. Well they cant both be right.

Shaws appears to be a highly successful, well established, on line educator. We wrote about them as we thought the reason for their Crowdcube success was entirely due to their rewards system. Nothing wrong with that  - its just clever marketing.

Shaws for their part tell a different tale - they found Crowdcube very difficult to work with - join the club. 

All in all it's a very embarrassing episode - to cancel a highly successful campaign at the last moment - why wasnt it pulled earlier? As with all things Crowdcube we will never know the true story because they are so open and honest. It's kick it under the carpet time. Shame, as this month has been the best one Crowdcube have ever had. They are still a long way off the required monthly completion rate to BE but it was progress from the depths of despair in September and October.