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Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Reports of the death of Myshowcase have been greatly exaggerated - apparently.

In a complete reversal, Myshowcase CEO Nancy, has now told shareholders the company has been sold in such a way as to protect their EIS status.

Hats off to Nancy. The deal she has done is with Miroma, who were an existing investor. How the deal is structured is not clear - certainly from Nancy's explanation. But according to her, Miroma will own all of the stock of Mychowcase and then apportion 12.5% of the enlarged Miroma to existing CC shareholders. Hmmm - how does that work again?

Questions asked of Crowdcube get the usual reply  - go ask Nancy. 

She also claims that 'as the bargain has been done at arms length' the EIS status will be intact. Right.

Miroma Group is a dormant company but is part of a chain of Miroma companies. Miroma International as the email indicates has a £100m turnover with £2.5m net profits. It's picking up a bargain but what is not clear is what Myshowcase investors have picked up.

So we imagine CC shareholders will end up with 12.5% of the empty Miroma Group - up until now owned by the Miroma CEO and as we said, dormant. Is this essentially a phoenix where the old Myshowcase will be able to off load irritating creditors? Miroma are paying a nominal amount to purchase 100% of Myshowcase. We'd expect to see Nancy taking a seat at the Miroma Group table shortly. 

Anyway it has to be better than her last email which simply stated the company was closing and would cease trading at the end of January.  Or maybe not?

Myshowcase raised £1m a year ago on CC.

Thanks to all those who emailed this in to us.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Berrywhite disappears from the Crowdcube platform after offering free shares to get over the line

Berrywhite offered new Crowdcube investors free shares at the weekend. Monday has seen the pitch removed.

The CEO had struggled for a long time to raise more cash - he had already taken the valuation down and extended the campaign. Two days ago he posted a free share offer to the next investors  - in order to push him over the line.

We didnt think Crowdcube would like this and investors threatened to pull out over it. See the last but one post for more details.

Why he bothered is a bit of mystery as Crowdcube's back catalogue is littered with pitches that never crossed the line but were funded. He needed advice, clearly.

For Crowdcube's commission I'm pretty sure Berrywhite will be funded.

What now for Zero Carbon Foods?

This post has been removed as we were getting an increasing number of spammers commenting.

The company accounts are due out in February so we see what is really what then. 

Localpropertyindex says goodnight.

The CEO of Localpropertyindex.com listed a previous company on the LSE, according to Crowdcube's 2014 pitch for the company. Well it seems he has lost this one.

Backed by some two-bit US VC firm Jensen, the company is now dark - no website no SM. Recent accounts show little activity and no cash.  - Correction - see comments below. Jensen Solutions seem to be the VCs. So investors in their SEIS fund will have lost out.

Luckily Crowdcube investors were only in this for £9k as the VC put the rest in to get to £159k, which was someway short of their target but it funded anyway in good old Crowdcube fashion.

It turns out that Gary Smith the CEO, had been involved in the IPO of Netstore in 2000. The shares were offered at £1.50. By 2001 the share price touched 12p. See here  Gary resigned in 2001. 

What's next? Who knows. It is hard to run an online property platform without being on line. 

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Berrywhite are making a mockery of the FCA

Berrywhite have been trying to raise £150k on Crowdcube for ages. Now looks they will succeed thanks to some highly dubious marketing on Crowdcube's platform.

Berrywhite were never going to make it. they have rasied money before and delivered nothing close to what they have promised - this blog is full of them. They have extended the campaign at least once and reduced their valuation but it was stuck. Until they came up with this - posted yesterday

Bonus shares for the next five investors who invest £5K or more

awmjennings 1 day ago
7 Replies
So far we have raised £126,140, so we are still short of our target by £23,860 and our deadline is midnight tonight.
So the next five people to invest £5K or more up to a combined total of £25K, I will double your shareholding by gifting you some of my personal shares.
Please note that the shares that I gift you if you invest will not be EIS shares.
Andrew Jennings
Managing Director
Berrywhite Limited

Some of the responses - 
You should have listen to investors feedback weeks ago on having a justifyable valuation to avoid this last minute incentives.
Best wishes
Dear Mr Bean, We listened to you actually and we did reduce the valuation:
New update from Berrywhite Natural Drinks raising investment on Crowdcube. Capital at Risk.https://www.crowdcube.com/companies/berrywhite-limited-1/pitches/qBygYb/updates/Z54QOl
Is this allowed and is it legally binding?
This essentially creates a two-tier pitch. Those paying more are buying at half price. I never saw this on crowdcube before.
Finally, what about investors who already invested over 5K before this point. It would be unfair not to give them the same deal as this would be the same as changing the valuation of a pitch halfway through but only applying it to new investors.
I think we need a crowdcube ruling on this offer.
Moreover I am none the wiser as to why and on what basis second extension was granted.
I have cancelled my token investment.
Best wishes and good luck.
Dear Charles,
Thank you for your comments. We will contact Crowdcube on Monday and raise your concerns.
Best regards,
I will pull my investment if its not confirmed that all investor in the same round are "pari passu".
I agree with comments above the right valuation from the start would have gone a long way to getting this round funded quickly. Focus on revenue growth and EBTIDA ... valuation will follow along.
Same thought as cube_charles_murphy
Are there any learned friends, with expert knowledge, who are able to comment ?
Similarly I trust the CrowdCube compliance people had a say BEFORE the bonus offer was put onto the site and formally concurred it.
Crowdcube Capital Ltd is, as it says on the website footer, authorised and regulated by the FCA.
So it seems that despite the total having shot up to 92%(from 80%), people are not happy. Do Crowdcube really think this is a sensible way to carry an FCA regulated trade? Surely not - even they must see this for what it is. 
Monday will tell....................

Friday, 19 January 2018

Having your Cake but not able to eat it? Crowdcube land another dud.

Cake has now agreed sales terms with a US organisation, returning shareholders $1.40 per share. This price, which is not yet guaranteed as it is subject to the buyers future approval, represents a substantial loss for Crowdcube shareholders.

Cake took £1m off Crowdcube investors in 2015. Now the founders, Charlotte and Michelle, have agreed a deal where they get a substantial return but investors are losers. But at least they can laugh about it.

This is a deal that gave shareholders no choice - they were not even asked; just told to sign away their shares. So much for the rights of A, B, C or any minor shareholder when founders decide it's time to cash in. And of course the poor old shareholders have to take another big hit as their EIS relief is now invalid and will have to be repaid. Thanks girls.

The US purchaser is unnamed. But the price agreed is around £9.7m or $13.2m. Back in the summer of 17 Crowdcube and the founders backed a valuation of £11.5m. The £9.7m has also to cover some outstanding debts. We had something to say about that then - here 

I know people who used Cake and loved it.

The founders are smiling as the investors, who allowed them to make their profits, sit with large losses. Oh well, caveat emptor or you could take our advice in future. Worth remembering these two as we think they will be back for more!

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Crowdcube companies' results are serious cause for concern

Meet on VC raised £200k on Crowdcube in £2014. Their projected profit for the last year was over £3m. They recently filed losses of £330k and their balance sheet is short of almost £400k. They have no function.

Apparently they changed their name to Close, according to the Crowdcube webiste. Which is almost appropriate.

Their website is 'coming soon' but we doubt that. They have 72 followers on Twitter and last tweeted in 2015.

In the long list we are compiling, of companies filing accounts recently, that have failed to come close to expectations, they are close to the top of the flops.

The Crowdcube pitch tells us that they aim to have revenues of £18m by 2017 and a value of £35m. Philip Marshman, who headed the pitch, left two years ago - once he had spent the cash. How can you have what Marshman describes as a software platform without a website or any SM presence?

Just add the D and be done with it.

Crowdcube start 2018 as they intend to go on; with yet another sad story of failure

Angelberry have been defrosted. The took £200k off Crowdcube investors in 2014. Now they have for first time since, communicated with those investors to say Goodbye, Cheerio, So Long Suckers.

This is another one we called - see here

Here is the full text of the first and final communication from the Angelberry founders - the opening line is quite brilliant! The rest is quite sad and just shows what an utter load of kack the idea these guys had, was. The sums mentioned are highly doubtful!

Before you get stuck in, we will have some good news in the next few days about a pitch that we have been helping and that we feel is worth taking a look at. So watch this space. One thing for sure is that it doesnt include any fraud.

This a summary of what follows -

Hi Suckers -

We have spent all your money and so will closing down now.

Your money helped us travel around the word for 2 years and have a ball.

None of the plans we mentioned to you on Crowdcube worked. They all came to shit.

So until the next time, so long Suckers. 

Hi All,

Sorry for the delay in this update, it’s been a tough couple of years and we have unfortunately had to take the decision to close AngelBerry ltd due to a lack of growth and profitability.

To give you an overall view of what we have been up to please see below.

What did we use our CrowdCube Raise on?
- Used our CrowdCube raise to buy our trade show stand, which we then shipped to Trade shows in Mumbai, Paris, Johannesburg. These shows were planned to recruit and sign up new Master Developers after our initial success in Dubai
- We had several strong leads, but we could not find anyone to take on the Master Developer licence for anywhere in Europe or India, which was our main avenue for growth as per our business plan
- In Johannesburg we signed up one franchisee for Richards Bay (North of Durban). No one wanted to take on the Development rights for any other African countries. We had hoped to find developers for Mozambique, Botswana, Kenya and Nigeria
- Our new office staff hires that we took on pre-funding were eventually let go once the shows had taken place and we had not secured any MD’s. Without the planned income from the sale of new territories, or cash flow and funding was massively decreased

- When we raised, we had contracts in place for stores across the GCC – 80 stores in the coming years. We were expecting big growth and store numbers from our UAE developers, however they did not stick to the agreed store schedule, nor did the expansion into Saudi Arabia or the rest of the GCC happen as promised and contractually agreed upon
- This lack of growth hit our potential to grow further as development overall was slow and showed a slow return to potential franchisees. Our master developer was not keeping to their agreed schedule because of a poor return on their investment from the first two stores
- Due to their failure to open more stores and deliver on their promises, including payment for stock and royalties, a level of distrust built up between us and our UAE MD’s – they stopped all communication in 2016

South Africa
- Our franchisee signed from the Johannesburg trade show opened her store in Richards Bay in October 2015, and was then closed by our MD’s in March 2016 due to repeated breaches of her agreement, failure to pay royalties, failure to pay for stock, failure to maintain correct and true records and repeated failure in food hygiene standards
- The expected NuMetro cinema expansion did not take off due to low sales volume, they currently have one location open in Pretoria. James met with the directors to discuss continued growth and roll out of the kiosk, but due to low sales and a relatively high build cost per kiosk they did not want to continue the roll out
- We put a lot of effort into trying to secure the Food Lovers Market deal with our SA MD’s, after running 5 trial stores across different demographics and store layouts (Cape Town Food Lovers Eatery / Food Lovers Market Nelspruit / Caltex Cryildene / Caltex Fresh Stop / Caltex Louis Trichardt ) the sales were not strong enough after our 6 month trial and did not return the required level to warrant a roll out across their stores for the footprint we needed. Even running smaller kiosks in the Caltex stores did not get us to the right level. We also tried to increase revenue through diversified products including freakshakes, waffles and donuts
- Because of this, our planned partnership with FLM did not transpire and there was no national roll out. Our plan for an AngelBerry hard pack product on their shelves did not come off either due to the unsuccessful trial stores

- Our MD sold to someone local 2 years or and left the country to focus on the South African development

- We didn’t get the required number of master developer sign up during our initial trade shows which stunted out growth projection, causing us to pivot and look for commercial opportunities instead
- Without MD’s or franchisees signing up, we didn’t have the required cash flow to move forward and as a result we needed to take on more investment, this enabled us to keep the company afloat whilst we tried to secure the FLM deal
- We had to sell our city centre location to help keep the company going, in additional we raised an extra £170,000 internally
- In September 2016 we had to close our Imperial Park store due to the rent review resulting in a rental increase from £17 per sqft up to £35 per sqft making the store unprofitable, and as a result we executed our break clause
- Despite extra funding, new product launches, new menus and new branding, we could not increase the franchised store revenues enough due to the seasonality of the product
- We focused on growth which required funding to keep us going, and as repeated deals did not come off and the funding ran out, we are left with no option but to close AngelBerry Ltd

We put everything into growing the brand and company, expanded into overseas territories, negotiated with supermarkets, cinemas and service stations and gave it our best shot. We are extremely proud of what we achieved, unfortunately the required deals did not materialise and after 5 years of trying the planned development and growth of AngelBerry did not come to fruition.

We apologise to all of our investors but thank you for your support and belief in us.

Kind Regards,
James and Ryan

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Rushmore results give little clue as to what they are up to.

The Rushmore Group was suppose to run a chain of night clubs. Seven years after taking £2m of Crowdcube investors we are still waiting.

We have written about them here.

Their latest accounts just filed, show all of their assets sitting as debtors - most of this figure being amounts owed by group undertakings. Over £2m is accounted for here.

Of course if Group undertakings dont repay this debt, then the money is gone as is the company. 

We couldnt find any group undertakings and like the night clubs it all seems a bit of a mystery. 

Crowdcube embarrass us all with their latest update.

Crowdcube's new headline figure of £130m is the amount of money that people might have invested on their platform. Not what they actually invested.

Crowdcube's latest PRing fest takes the use of fake news down into the swamp. £130m invested in companies using the Crowdcube platform are the headlines. It is simply not true.

Well that all depends what you mean by the word 'invested'. We would have said that was pretty obvious but Crowdcube have reinvented its meaning. When they use it, it means 'pledged' for a short time. In our book the two are a long way apart unless you wish to purposefully mislead. Something that would clearly not be acceptable on a FCA regulated platform. 

The real amount invested or in other words, the real amount that pitching companies took away with them to use in their businesses was (according to a not headline figure from Crowdcube) only £90m. This £90m was only up by 10% on 2016, whereas the headline figure of £130m was up by 19%. You can see why they do it. 

So what is this £130m? Well it's the same as say Carillion issuing a statement (a bit late now) stating that their total revenues were XXXXm, for us only to find out that this figure represents the total amount of business they pitched for. Only 75% was in fact real income generating business. Crowdcube have added up all of the money pledged on all of their pitches - successful or not. To look at it another way, we know we are right as Crowdcube's revenues from their successful pitches were only £4m and that did not come via £130m invested. On what is now a commission of 7%, this 4.4% for the last year seems an extremely poor return.

It is highly misleading and idiots in the press like Crowdfund Insider just lap it up. Sadly it proves that despite all the claims and the new CEO, Crowdcube are still embellishing the facts and using whatever it takes to make money and mislead.

The only good news for Crowdcube investors here is that the figures for 2017 were marginally better than 2016 and that the company will only have lost another £4m - unless they have let the costs slip. After all their PRing, it has not been the year they promised 12 months ago. But they are still open for business unlike so many of the companies that have funded via them. 

Monday, 15 January 2018

Good news for Tandem

Tandem Money (ex Bank) has regained its banking licence by buying up the Harrods Bank.

Tandem Bank raised £2.34m on Seedrs in 2016 - alongside £22m million from an investor network. Unfortunately last year the company lost its banking licence when the deal they thought they had with House of Fraser fell through. Then they removed the word bank from their title and replaced it with money.

So now that they own a loss making bank, what's up? 

Progress apparently. Well, we will just have to wait and see.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Odyssey Airlines - A Journey To Nowhere

Odyssey Airlines is a one off. It is a company that has raised millions, including one of them on Crowdcube, only never to take off. The highest anyone at the company ever goes is to their 4th floor office.

The latest accounts, out a week ago, show that the company has increased its losses by over £1m to £4.8m, has no real idea when it might fly and has to repay a debt of over £2.5m in March this year. The bank account was empty and the net current liabilities stood at minus £2.7m at YE. As far as we can tell money raised since is a drop in a large ocean.

In the same statement the company claim to be a going concern. Going nowhere perhaps. As their name suggests, they are more myth than matter.

We sent them an email a year ago but have never had a reply.

We were contacted by a shareholder who bought into their PR on Crowdcube. He has not had any communication from them in over a year. He knows nothing about what they are trying to do and suspects they dont either. Crowdcube have been useless at bridging the gap. They simply dont care - commission has been paid, sought it out yourself.

It is the usual Crowdcube serving of ridiculously ambitious plans, covered in PR gravy with lashings of bullshit on the side. Followed by a pudding of total mystery, served with the lights off. It leaves a long, lingering, foul taste in the mouth.

Comments from our egocentric would be pilots, always welcomed. 

Saturday, 13 January 2018

MyGravity sold to Loyalty Angels but nothing about it on Crowdcube

In a highly significant move, one of Crowdcube's recently successful pitches has been sold to Loyalty Angels. A fact we missed back in the Spring of 2017.

The odd thing here is that we can find no mention of this momentous exit anywhere apart from on MyGravity's Chairman's Linkedin page where he states - 

Last Friday Loyalty Angles Ltd completed on the acquisition of MyGravity Ltd - of which I was Chairman, which owns a Loyalty App called My360. This is a great deal for both companies and we achieved an excellent valuation for MyGravity's shareholders. Congratulations to all involved and good luck to the combined company. 

We have taken a hard look for the anticipated PR that a 'excellent valuation' for Crowdcube investors would generate. But there is nothing. Not one piece. That's why we missed it. Recent accounts filed this month show the company made further losses, had failed to raise the money that they predicted and were as at March 2017, insolvent. This was just weeks after the company changed hands. The only reason we know this is because the last confirmation statement shows all shares have been transferred to Loyalty Angels.

Greg Gormley seems to have been the man behind the move. He is the single largest shareholder in LA and was made a director of Mygravity in February 2017.

For some light relief, the last Confirmation Statement for LA states that A Shareholders get 'One Vole per share ' which will give Mr Gormley 340,000 voles. And I thought Bitcoin was a little risky.

We asked the ex Chairman to comment - we'll let you know what he says. Maybe something from Jeremy, at Tales of the Riverbank would be appropriate. 

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Despite what we said, Brewdog slams through its £10m in under 100 days

In what looks like a surprising result, Brewdog will now easily get to its minimum target of £10m raised in the final 4 days of the BFP5 campaign.

We say surprising as for the best part of 70 days of this 100 day campaign, it looked less and less likely that the Dogs would get over £8m, let alone £10m. 

Back in October 17, there was a good steady stream of investment up around the £100k per day level. Then around the middle of November it started to slowdown and by December it was nearer to £50k than £100k per day or around half the required rate. So from 20 December, the amount still to be invested was £2.9m - around £110k per day. But the daily input was stubbornly stuck at around £50k. 

By the 5 January Brewdog still required £1.8m in just just 11 days, with the trend heading the other way. But those boys just dont ever give up and since, they have raised all but £400k of that amount, with the last two days seeing £750k coming in.

This is certainly not a pattern we have seen before in any ECF campaign in 6 years. Yesterday for example saw 536 investors when the average per day has been just over 200. This campaign is run by Brewdog, not an independent platform. So how they have turned this around we will never know but it is some achievement.

Hats Off.  

Rumour is Hopstuff is looking at a listing and selling off some assets for a new project; as well as a new raise.

Ambition is a wonderful thing - in the right hands. Leave the nest too early and you will likely end up dead. 

We have written a few pieces on Hopstuff, it has to date been a success - an almost unique situation for a Crowdcube funded business. But now we hear that the founder has asked for advice on a listing in the next 12-18 months and raising some cash against assets - for a new project.

Hopstuff doesnt make money in the real world - its projections do. Its current valuation of £14m is based on what might happen next. We think there is a good chance that the required happenings may come about but only if they concentrate on getting there....not something else. The company is talking about a new raise early this year - as well as the news on a listing and asset sale. Profits are projected  - they always are. 

Their plans are already very ambitious - and have taken a slight fork. They are now due to be opening bars (taprooms they call them) in number, even though the original two have not yet been truly tested. We did suggest to him that he might want to rein in the ambitions a little and consolidate but like most entrepreneurs he knows best. He still thinks his comparison to Brewdog is a valid one. 

So why the headlong rush? Is it a Millennial thing?

We dont know. But we do know that the reason that many successful early stage businesses go bust is because they over trade. They over extend their risk based on false, often untested assumptions. He must have his reasons.

Now is not the time for new projects or enquiring about future listings. Now is the time to deliver on your last set of projections and for ensuring as far as possible that plans for new openings work. It's like they havent learnt a thing from the delay in opening the new brewhouse and the lease issue with the Taproom - things never go to plan. 

How many businesses have we commented on that have had similar ambitions that have failed miserably. Taylor St Baristas, River Cottage, Rushmore Group, Ethos Global, One Rebel, Hen Restaurants, Pizza Rossa, Chilango etc etc have all promised and tried to expand via new openings and all have failed - some with dire consequences. We cannot list one that has succeeded to date, apart from The Dirt Factory, who 2 years after funding have still not opened their first unit. Getting it right is not easy and for sure out of 5 new units, one at least will end up a dog for reasons that are perhaps not even apparent now. Well that's our experience from 30 years opening new units of various kinds.

The hazards are many  - all untested by Hopstuff. The rewards enticing. 

This will of course fall on deaf ears. But just so we can say told you so. Alternatively you the investors might want to drop him a line. And of course, if we are wrong, then much humble pie and hat eating will be on the menu. Our record speaks for itself.

The demise and resurrection of some old crumpet

Crumpet Cashmere took £150k off Crowdcube investors in 2014. Pippa you know who, 'loved ' their stuff. After a liquidation that has taken 2 years, the same founder is still running under the same name, racking up more losses and more debts.

How is that possible?

The founder Dana Juricic has now tried this game several times. We wrote about her here . Back in 2014 she arranged a pre pack deal for her first attempt, Crumpet England which had gone down owing £750k.

So when in 2015, a year after taking Crowdcube's money, she was failing again, she arranged the sale of all the company's assets to a company recently set up, called Ruby and Rude Ltd. She is the owner of Ruby and Rude. She paid £36k for the assets which she had had valued. The company debts were over £400k.

The liquidator, Mr De'ath - can this get any crazier? - accepted this deal!

Now Dana is trading as Crumpet Cashmere Ltd, even though this company no longer exists. 

Whatever - as you might expect the newco which is really called Ruby and Rudy Ltd, is loss making and she is piling up some new debts which she can run away from when the time is right. 

This one might make a movie.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Kokoon - what the hell is going on hear?

Kokoon are a mystery. They have raised enormous sums based on a product that is still to be completed and the Kickstarter crowd are baying for blood. We did warn you Crowdcubists.

We all know that Kickstarter projects get delayed and some never deliver. But it is unusual in our experience to find one that has pre sold on KS to the tune of £2.8m, with delivery for February 2016, and that then has raised £1.65m on Crowdcube in August 2017 and has to date failed to deliver anything other than excuses. In this Crowdcube pitch they, Kokoon, promised the product was now ready for sale and talked about a large retailer's purchase order arriving 'in weeks'. Delays were over. Regretably, that was all a lie.

We warned readers that the project was on the cusp of coming off the rails. Not because the product isnt any good or because it is some elaborate con. Simply because the guy running the show is a shambles. You still invested. 

Now, as yet another deadline for production passes by like some endless goods train pulling into Port Headland, the volume of complaints on KS and the number of demands for full refunds, has risen substantially. There is still no set date for completion of the first production run  - in fact there is no set date for its start. The product has changed (for the worse according to backers) beyond recognition. The £2.8m pre order cash has all been spent and this must now be considered a liability given none of the headsets have been delivered and people are asking for their money back. It is all going rapidly to shit.

Here are some of the recent comments - 

now, actually after a few month it became very obvious that project management isn't our developer's best skill ... so I didn't mind about all the delays and changes through the years. But from the first design concept I had hoped to get headphones which would be suitable to use while sleeping, especially as a side sleeper. I think the (almost) finished project is far away from that point ... and that is the real issue.

I sent a direct message to @Tim as well as the project yesterday asking for a refund. Tim came on 3 hours ago and didn't reply to my message. I also tried to send an email to the kakoon.io email address provided, but it is not valid.
Long story short, where is my refund?
Please do not ignore us.

I’m backer #12, I have lost faith on your product and your updates full of excuses. I would like to get refund!!!

Can someone call the police in England? Tim Antos is the name.

One word comes to mind....shameless.
According to your crowdcube documentation you envisage the headphones having a life of a mere 2 years - your backers have waited significantly longer for the product to arrive.
You need to stop the excuses & deliver what you promised.

When are y’all gonna get it? This isn’t “miscommunication” or “unforeseen” anything. They knew when they made that video they were misleading us. That they didn’t have the product anywhere near the level they said they did. Maybe they HOPED they could deliver, I don’t know. But they knew they weren’t presenting things as they were. They’re liars. Quit appealing to a conscience that they don’t have.

There are 2,400 comments  - most of them negative. It is what happens when you have a product developer in charge of a business - chaos. Kokoon for your own sake please ditch Tim and get yourselves a real CEO before it all goes tits up.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Has Autotrip lost its way with the latest accounts

Autotrip have raised equity finance twice with Crowdcube - from what appears to be 500 shareholders, they have a total raised of £490k. Or so we thought.

Looking at the latest filed accounts to YE Mar17, they appear to have virtually no equity finance - or £202 to be precise. This is some achievement considering last year they had £137,516. The latest confirmation statement confirms they still have 500 shareholders. 

A little odd.

We wrote about them before here 

In the so called accounts for YE Mar17, they declare a profit of over £250k which is clearly complete nonsense, given the fact that in that year they raised another £435k on Crowdcube, which as we know has not been shown. This might be a timing issue but the original share cap of £137,516 has vanished. In fact, figures from the previous year show that the latest accounts are totally wrong.

So either they have filed false accounts or they haven't a clue how to file accounts - possibly both. If I was one of the 500, I would like to know either way. Accounts are important for companies - even in this crazy world. 

Alexander Nicholson, the lead in both Crowdcube raises, has resigned. Hmmm.

Friday, 5 January 2018

SHOCKER!! Crowdcube outdo themselves with collapse of Myshowcase.

We can hardly believe this story. Just 12 months after raising £1m from Crowdcube investors, Myshowcase is closing down.

Here's how Crowdcube promoted the business in January 2017 -

  • Experienced team with proven track record of business exits
  • Over £2.75m equity raised to date, investors include 24Haymarket
  • Named one of The Sunday Times’ Top 15 fastest growing startups in 2015
  • #2 best online beauty retailer by The Independent, 2014
Crowdcube included them in their list of alumni who have cracked the £1m raise ceiling just two weeks ago! Looks like this has now fallen in ...............


The CEO Nancy Cruikshank (typo?), can be seen and heard allover the internet in her role as the ultimate guru for female entrepreneurs. Lets hope most of then do not take after you Nancy.

Here is the final email sent to investors -

Regrettably, we announce that MyShowcase will close at the end of January 2018. MyShowcase is solvent so we will be able to pay everybody and will leave no debts at all upon closure.

Since we took our first order on May 29, 2012, over 47,000 customers have benefitted from our personalised beauty shopping service. Over the years we have been recognised by our peers for our innovation and achievements, including being voted the #2 best online beauty retailer in 2014 by The Independent, listed in The Sunday Times' Top 15 Start-Up Fast Track 2015 and winning the 2016 Excellence ("best company") Award from the UK Direct Sales Association. In 2017 we successfully launched the Genie, an online personalised beauty service and Beauty Elite, the best beauty loyalty programme in the UK.

Despite all this, we have been unable to achieve the necessary growth to build a profitable and therefore, sustainable business. We have been unable to raise additional funds to develop a direct to consumer business, to complement our Stylist business.

We are all very sad but we are also proud of what we have achieved, together. We would like to very sincerely thank our loyal customers, our hard-working Stylists, our wonderful Brand Partners, our devoted HQ team and our supportive investors. We couldn't have achieved so much and come this far without all of you. We wish we could have gone further, but time is not on our side.

All three of MyShowcase's Founders have invested money into MyShowcase and nearly 6 years of our lives. We fought hard to make MyShowcase a success. We are sincerely sorry that we must now agree with our Board that it's time to close the business, as it is neither profitable and sustainable or able to raise a further round of funding to go forward. If you have any questions, please feel free to email Nancy, CEO, at nancy@myshowcase.com.

With a heavy heart,
Nancy, Rodrigo & Olivier

Our Conclusion - maybe a con or maybe the management were/are complete air heads or this CC round was a last desperate attempt (we have seen this before) but no one told investors that. Not possible otherwise. Not clear if the 'no debts' statement includes you CC investors - seems unlikely though as if they had that sort of spare cash (£4m total equity finance) why would they be giving up. Nice to know your support is so valued.

We were just putting together a rather long and sorry list of all the Crowdcube funded companies with recent accounts who have failed to get close to their projections, when this bombshell landed. List on the way shortly. 

As if this farce wasnt enough, Crowdcube have yet again been caught with their pants down. They claimed to have raised over £1m for Myshowcase but the filings at CH show that the CC nominee account is for just £280k not £1m. Come on FCA, you must do something to stop these bandits.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

We did warn you!

So here we are at the start of another year - this one is labelled 2018. What have we learned about equity crowdfunding? 

I suppose the easiest way to put this is to show you a Q&A I had with a reader in the summer of 2015 - so two and half years ago. Things have improved marginally since in that we have seen 2 exits but both for tiny uplifts and there are now at least 4 companies that have funded on Crowdcube that may make it. Whether at the valuation they were sold at and the dilution since, this gives investors a real ROI is another matter  - 

  • Rob, do you see any winners out of the crowdcube platform to the benefit of investors?

    Some of the management teams I am seeing look shocking, but there are one or two I was going to back until I found you :)!!!
  • Not really. If you look at it logically why would there be? Maybe one out of the first 1000 CC pitches to fund will make money for investors - maybe. So that's in another 2 years time or so that it pitches and another 5 years before it sells for £££££. If like me you joined and invested in 2011, that means you have waited till well after 2020 for a single result. That is a very patient position to hold for more than 10 years, checking pitches every month etc. As of today not one of the 250 CC funded pitches has returned anything, 10 or so have gone have gone bust and many of the ones we have research on from 2011 to 2014 are nowhere near the projections used to sell the equity. Its not a sensible way to build sustainable businesses and without subsidy (SEIS and EIS) it would have died an early death. Really its just a play thing for bored overpaid city dwellers!!