In a great sleight of hand, old Crowdcube darlings, 1Rebel, have raised £6.6m to do what they stated they would do with their Crowdcube 2015 £2.9m jackpot. Open gyms.
1Rebel originally took £1.5m off Crowdcube members in 2014 - to open gyms. By the end of 2015, they had opened two and came back for more cash - with the plan that they would open another 8 (2pa) over the next 4 years. This got them a round of applause and another £2.9m.
Now in October 2017, they still have just two units but have convinced backers at Codex Capital that they need another £6.6m to open the gyms they havent yet opened. This new deal was not in the plans and will leave CC investors seriously diluted. The £6.6m has been taken in at a valuation of £10m - so below the 2015 CC round. Shareholders first learnt of this 'progress' via an article in CityAM. Following this, management sent a SH letter out. The question still remains - have all shareholders been diluted equally? James Jack, the Chairman, has assured all CC SHs that the Board approved the down round and that these new SHs are serious business players who will help propel Rebel on to success. He didnt ask them though.
In all the previous SH updates, Rebel referred to the need for new debt finance - not equity. Using the much abused EBITDA profit gambit, they hoped to be able to borrow. Clearly this didnt happen as required. EBITDA was been hammered as a cash generating indicator post the Tech bubble crash. We could have told them that.
Of course it goes without saying that they have missed all of their Crowdcube targets and that this £6.6m was not in the plans.
This latest round of funding prevents them from closing but it also hugely dilutes the people who took the risk in 2014 and 2015 on promises that have failed to materialise.
Where has the 2015 money gone? No new units were opened which would have soaked it up - that is what it was for after all. They have delayed their accounts, so we will just have wait till Christmas to find out. Our guess is that the original model was not right and we have Rebel admitting as much to SHs. Then a couple of left field ideas wasted time and money. They were running to just stand still with loses in 2015 of £1.7m - more than twice the projected figure, which was in fact mainly historic.
Maybe that's what they mean by burning the fat?
Perhaps now with the metrics pointing in the right direction they have a chance - which is more than you would guess CC shareholders have.
As a footnote, we wonder if this down round will be featured by Crowdcube in their 'valuation' game that they publish every year? Somehow we doubt it.