Friday, 22 December 2017
Dubious claims lead to Choc+ closure and Crowdcube investor losses.
Choc+ (Hopscotch Brands Ltd) took £168k of Crowdcube investors and has now called it a day, according to an email seen by this blog.
The founder had already resigned this last summer which says a lot about the company.
Tha founder - Simon Coyle - claimed in the Crowdcube pitch to have been the man behind the success of Kshocolat. He founded Kshocolat in 2002, although it wasnt very large early on and seems to have been a sole trader operation with him retaining his job at Diageo. This is how Crowdcube chose to describe it in 2015 -
Simon has extensive experience in the confectionery sector, having founded and grown the Kshocolat confectionery brand from one store in Glasgow to an international brand available in over 30 countries with sales at retail of over £2m, forecasted to reach £3.5m at one point.
We should start by saying this one is odd. There is no record of Simon Coyle being a director of Kscocolat at CH. There is is no record of a limited company called Kshocolat. We think this must be a brand name. There is no direct connection between Coyle and Kshocolat apart from the PR.
There are numerous articles on him and the brand around 2008 - here is one from the FT. So it all looks like a great success story. Certainly investors on Crowdcube were led to believe that Simon's success with Kshocolat, would translate into ROI with Choc+.
Hey presto, in 2010, Kshocolat, or Dovetail Confectionery Ltd (our assumption is there is a direct link between these two and that Kshocolat is the brand name), went into administration and was bought out by a Welsh company, Bon Bon Buddies Limited (see note 24 2010 accounts). Oddly, BBB's main man was also the main man at Dovetail, although he had resigned from the latter. We think this is what happened but its difficult to be sure. Whatever, Simon Coyle's name does not appear at CH with Kshocolat. K Shcolat Limited which was incorporated in 2010, when Coyles firm went into admin and is owned by Bon Bon Buddies, was called Project Glasgow, where Coyle lives. Coincidence? Confused?
The end of the line is that Kshocolat collapsed in 2010 but in 2015 was being used by Coyle and Crowdcube as the main shining light to entice investors to invest in Choc+, which has now also gone west - or at least is closing down. Reasons for the collapse of Kshocolat in 2010 are vague - but the opening of a London store may have squeezed cash flow - as the FT piece points out. Another clue maybe in this piece in The Drum, which claims the company never made any profits despite strong sales. And this piece suggests the management were clueless.
We just wonder whether, had investors known these facts in 2015, if they would have handed over £168k.
Simon Coyle now appears to have just the one company - Hiccup Brands. Enough already.