Monday, 9 April 2018

Is this to be Crowdcube's next really big failure?


Sustainable Power raised £1.8m on Crowdcube back in 2014. Promises of money saving gas boilers seem to have evapourated - we cant find sales or the product anywhere. Losses have been impressive and the team of specialist engineers on the board have all gone. What seems to be left is a guy whose speciality is Isle of Man Companies and liquidations.

UPDATE - 

Following The Times article, we can now confirm all of our articulated suspicions about the is company are true. They lied about most of the claims they made on Crowdcube. Crowdcube did not bother to check these claims and indeed instead promoted them as verified by the platform. In what looks as close to scam as a scam can get,  the author of this mess has disappeared - presumably off shore. 

LESSONs - Crowdcube sucks. The FCA is pointless.

For all those thinking of Crowdfunding, the SP Crowdcube video is worth watching. It very cleverly engages its audience in the story of SP and how it will take over the world. Not much in the video has come to pass yet and we have some doubts that some of its content is genuine. However in the hands of a real company, this technique would work well.

We have written several pieces on SP - here - all of them bad.

Lets take a look at the man behind this enterprise first. Ashley Moore appears on his LI page dressed in white tie; his main job has been as a LIFFE trader. His page has little more information - just two companies listed. SP and City Golf Clubs Ltd. 

City Golf Clubs was put into liquidation last year. Its parent company is named as Seattle Investments LLC. CGG accounts show that Seattle Investments is registered in the Isle of Man. The Liquidator's report gives them a Geneva address. CGG went down owing considerable sums  - totalling almost £1m. Most of this was owed to Seattle Investments. 

That is a coincidence, because one of the main SHs in Sustainable Power, is an Isle of Man registered company called Tacoma Properties LLC, registered at 8 St Georges Street, Douglas IoM. This is the same address given for Seattle Investments. This address appears in the Panama Papers. Just saying.

One report we have from the IoM Government website states that both Tacoma and Seattle ceased to exist on the same date - 21 July 2017. We dont know for sure that Ashley Moore is the founder/director of either of these IoM companies - you have to pay for that information. But its an interesting coincidence.

As if things were not odd enough, a previous version of SP, Sustainable Power Solutions Ltd was finally liquidated in February 2015, having started the process well before the newco appeared on Crowdcube. Ashley Moore was the main man here too and almost all the money owed, was owed to that Tacoma outfit in the IoM. 

In the video we mentioned at the start, there are claims made. These are claims that Crowdcube would have been duty bound to check under the terms of their FCA licence. One is that SP already had a 2e boiler delivered and saving money for a Sunderland care home run by the Gentoo Group. We have not been able to verify this. SP claim to have BSI certification. We checked this with the BSI register but could not find any Sustainable Power Ltd. That claim was made as part of the Crowdcube campaign for £1.8m. That does not mean it doesnt have one, just that we couldnt find it. It seems unlikely that a care home would take on an experimental boiler that was not BSI certified as safe. SP's website has the BSI logo but this is easily downloaded for free.

In the Crowdcube verified pitch, SP stated the following -

B. ACHIEVEMENTS TO DATE
The Spice 2e unit has passed its British Standard Institution (BSI) Certification for the installation of demonstration units into its customer base and a live trial has been installed into a care home in Sunderland.
The unit was installed 3 months ago and we estimate that it is currently running over 23 hours a day and delivering over 4,000 litres of hot water on a daily basis to 35 rooms and 11 bungalows.
The Spice 2e can be installed quickly in under 2 hours by one of our service engineers and is delivered to site once the services (water gas, flue and hot water tank) have been fitted. As we are predominately installing in plant rooms all these services are already close to hand.
Sustainable Power has signed an MOU with ESP www.espprojects.com for 2,000 units as soon as they become available and indicated to a further 90,000 suitable sites in the North East alone. Three demonstration units are currently being installed in their client base one of which has already been running for several months.

"We have found that the unit has been capable of seamless integration into the existing building services... We are confident that this unit has significant potential in a wide range of applications and the inherent robustness of the design is a significant improvement on comparable units on the market." Don Lord, ESP Director

Separately, Sustainable Power have signed a further MOU for 1,500 units on the same terms for several sites under the stewardship of Nick Tubbs’ Redtree Housing (a sustainable housing developer) for the Sherwood Housing project (http://www.redtreellp.com/background.asp)

We are currently in discussions with various main stream M & E contractors and housing associations in order to replicate this agreement throughout the UK.
We wonder if Crowdcube ever saw any of these documents?

Ashley names Colin Howel as the new company chairman in the pitch  - and messages everyone during the pitch -

Dear Investors,
We have recently taken on a new chairman who has over 35 years’ experience in large scale production and asset management. Colin has come on board as an active Chairman and will be bringing not only his manufacturing knowledge to the fore but will also be allowing Sustainable Power utilise the key personnel from the companies he currently owns to add /there experience to the commercialisation process.
Colin is currently the chairman and major shareholder in the companies listed below.
• http://www.ricor.co.uk/
• http://www.presscomm.co.uk/
• http://tc3mobile.com/
• http://www.unicornam.com
If you have any questions at all or would like to meet up for a chat please get in touch via 07768 981 111.
Kind regards,
Ashley Moore, Founder and CEO of Sustainable Power

However in the pitch he has spelt the chairman's name  - Howel. Odd! Checking Colin Anthony Howell's CV here there is no mention of SP as a company that he has been involved with. That mobile number doesnt get answered! Oh and this Colin Howell is almost certainly not this one - https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/colin-howell-plans-for-life-after-prison-28574524.html

The telephone number on the SP website 01869 327133 is disconnected. It is also the telephone number for a local, now defunct, eatery. The website new's page hasnt been updated in several years. There is no where on the website to purchase their product or even ascertain a price for it. Delivery and installation details are 'on hold'. Emails to the company have not been answered.

When it quacks like a duck and swims like a duck, then it is probably a duck. Of course the beauty of the IoM emblem is that no matter how you throw it, it always lands on its feet. Time will tell but the signs for Sustainable Power and £1.8m of Crowdcube investors' cash are not good.

Supposed to deliver huge savings, we just wonder if this 'business' was ever likely to deliver anything? 

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