Sunday, 19 February 2017

As Crowdcube celebrate 6 years of Alternative Facts, Pod Point takes the Piss


Podpoint raised £1.8m just 11 months ago on Crowdcube. Now they are back for more and proclaim that they are one of the UK's fastest growing tech companies.

However it is not quite that simple. 

In their 2016 pitch, the company gave investors incorrect historic financial data for 2014/15. They, along with the FCA regulated Crowdcube, published so called historic figures for that year, showing a profit. In fact once the accounts were filed (after the pitch) they reported a loss. That is pretty shabby.

In the projections for 2015/16 they showed a small loss of £70k. Remember this 'projection' was published when well over half of the year had been completed. It is now clear, from the new Crowdcube pitch, that the real loss for the year was £3.226m. The chasm is mainly made up from a turnover that was barely more than 50% of the projection and costs that were much higher. Future years are now completely different to the projections presented just 11 months ago. Makes the claim to be such a fast growing company look a little trumpish.

The turnover for 2014/15 was according to the historic figures given, £6.4m. The turnover given in the latest pitch for the 2015/16 was just £5m. So this incredibly fast growing company slowed down in 2015/16 by a whopping 28%. That's clever for a fast growing entity. 

Nowhere in the 2016 Crowdcube  pitch did they mention raising more cash. 

Despite their dismal performance, the company has miraculously increased it's pre money valuation from £26m to £35m in 11 months. 

Now we have this new pitch coming just weeks before they are due to publish the 2015/16 accounts, which on past history will be worse than the Crowdcube stated figures. If I was interested in this company, Id certainly want to see the filed accounts now - not just after this round of funding.

This is not about whether this company can go on to make it - it has considerable backing from some serious sources. It is about the use of what now appears to be intentionally highly over optimistic projections and a total lack of regard for accuracy in reporting the historic figures, inflamed by a crazy system where valuations always go up - not matter what happened to the profits and turnover. Kellyanne Conway must be in the room.  Can you have any faith in their new projections, given the extraordinary gap in the last set?

The company says the undershoot in revenues is down to a change in tactics. Larger corporate deals with revenues pushed out by a few years, have taken over the place of smaller cash generating deals. Well that is a surprise given this 'revelation' occurred in 2016 before July(YE in June) but after March (when they completed the CC raise based on small deals). If the smaller deals where in fact there to be done, why would you reject them? Why not do both? Who's to say what they will be doing this year. 

It could just be a case of their new backers Draper Esprit wanting to use Crowdcube for some free exposure and useful PR. It would not be the first time Crowdcube investors have been cannon fodder. An interesting idea when you consider that Draper Esprit are backers of guess who as well.

Although as someone has pointed out below - the US firm Charge Point have raised between $50m and $100m for expansion - some of it in Europe. So maybe they could look at a short cut buy Pod Point and give the poor backers of Crowdcube businesses a hard ear,ned return. Then again maybe not. 

2 comments:

  1. Ok but I think this misses the point. Someone is going to have to install these charging points and they are going to have to invest alot to get them going. Is there anyone else? If not then I think they have what used to be called first mover advantage!

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  2. ChargePoint raised $100m in the US in the past two months specifically to expand into Europe...

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