Friday, 19 February 2016

Intelligent TV - We don't think so.

You know how Western sets have fa├žades but nothing of any substance behind them?

Well Intelligent TV and its aptly named 'Seed and EIS Hour' very much reminds us of this.

This on line operation is not regulated and has strange looking 'specialist' commentators from the US. It is the sort of place you would expect Simon Dixon or Max Keisser to pop up.

This is how it works.

They run a short series of 'pitches' in their Seed hour, which members or really anyone, can watch and then intimate by clicking a box that they are interested in investing a given amount. The 'TV' aspect is horribly amateur and the pitches are generally of the lowest order - a few with placements on ECf platforms but a large number just hanging around hoping that enough people click them. If enough people do, then who knows what happens next. Maybe these names are forwarded to ECf platforms or the business can approach a platform with them as evidence of traction.

All very odd, as the site isn't and is not required to be FCA regulated. So despite promoting investment and indeed encouraging it, it is deemed to be outside the regulation boundary.

To take an illustrative example they are promoting the City Am Horse Alpha pitch that recently bombed on Investden and which Investden threatened to sue us over -

They have the ex Crowdcube Tigmus pitch listed - it failed to get anywhere near to its £300k target on Crowdcube but it says nothing about this here.

According to ITV you can still express an interest in these pitches and it makes no mention of the history of failure.

It claims that Snugs has just completed on Crowdcube but there is no record of this company on the CC site apart from their raise last year. - PS this claim has been changed by ITV and the Snugs pitch now says it used a private placement. So they can admit they were wrong! No charge guys but do try to get it right first time in future.

Again they claim that Facewatch has completed recently on Crowdcube but the Facewatch pitch completed last year.

So unless these are behind the scenes private deals facilitated by the platform, what is going on?

This is like having a cement mixer which periodically spews out pitches, some successes and some failures and then ITV come along and put the failures back in again and again  and again....... It is all very hazy and exactly what ECf does not need.

One of the pitches currently listed is an ex client of ours - to remain nameless. This business was not ready to get any funding let alone ECF funding and had indeed been promoting a large overseas order which had time lapsed. Naturally we declined to hep them. It is indicative of the type of business these guys promote.

Some pitches claim that they have been fully funded but it is almost impossible to verify the information unless they are old ones from existing platforms. It is just another me too platform trying to make a quick buck out of ECF. Its endorsement by some senior members of the ECf community like Julia Groves and Modwenna Rees Mogg is unfortunate.

Its lack of rigour in its pitch selection and clarity in its objectives is even more so. Clearly the boundary ropes need to be moved outwards to capture operations like this one.


  1. Dear Mr Murray-Brown,

    To respond briefly to your blog.

    1. We are not an equity crowd funding platform and are therefore not regulated as one. We are an Angel Association. Only registered members of the Association, not “anyone” as you suggest, are able watch the live pitches that we host. All members have self-certified as High Net Worth, or Sophisticated. Of course there are challenges in making sure that all registrations are bona fide. We have, for example, not been able to find “Rob Murray Brown” in our registered database of individuals authorised to watch our programs.
    2. The “strange-looking specialist commentators” from the U.S. are the President and Institutional Research team at Argus Research, Inc., the oldest independent equity research firm on Wall Street. This firm has a blue-chip international clientele, and formerly worked with me and the London Stock Exchange to provide research services on smaller UK public companies.
    3. You ask, who knows what happens next, after a member expresses interest in a pitch? The answer is: anyone who has read the simple infographic on our landing page, which explains the process.
    4. You refer to the City Horse Alpha campaign, without acknowledging that we described this as “Bringing you something a little more light hearted, for a flutter over the festive season! A departure from the norm in our Season Finale this week…”
    5. You mention Facewatch and Snuggs. Both featured in our pilot show in April 2015. The former graciously acknowledged the boost given to their Crowdcube campaign, by having an opportunity to explain their proposition on-air; whilst the latter, again graciously, acknowledged that explaining the product to a wider audience helped to launch and complete successfully on Crowdcube.
    6. You claim that we are “just another me-too platform”, a suggestion rather at odds with the view of the expert judging panel assembled by the EIS Association who last week at the House of Lords awarded us their top honour for Innovation. Here’s the press release:

    Your point about Tigmus is the most interesting, since it infers that companies whose crowd funding campaigns succeed must be good companies worthy of investment, whereas those that fail to reach their targets must be bad companies not worthy of investment. Closer to the truth is that there are very poor companies succeeding to raise funds because they are easy to explain and have a populist appeal, whereas other campaigns with far superior investment credentials fail because it takes too much time and effort to understand them, through written pitches and a 2-minute video.

    The Seed & EIS Hour was conceived specifically to address this problem – allowing time-poor investors to access and understand a superior set of opportunities, with added insight and information. Clearly when a campaign has previously failed we want to understand the underlying reasons, but this failure doesn’t disqualify a company automatically from our selection process.


    Shane Smith
    I am currently in: London
    UK & International: +44 7785 276 703 Asia: +668 1751 4541
    Skype: shanesmithiiir Linkedin:

    1. It has been pointed out that Snugs did not complete their pitch on Crowdcube - we thought they failed and it looks like that's been confirmed. The Crowdcube site confirmed this. So just what is you do exactly apart from spread completely useless, wrong, information?

  2. Thanks Shane. We are pretty sure that anyone with any experience in this field will find your responses not far short of hilarious so thank you for sharing. Glad to see you are currently in London :)) What's that like? We have another blog on the way which reveals a little more of what you dont do. PS love the idea that things that happened almost a year ago are RECENT NEWS!

  3. Snugs didn't complete on CrowdCube