Tag Archives for London

The Way to Win!

I found this on the web about the short history of VCCP, an advertising company:

“Chime announced yesterday that it was paying £14.5m in cash and shares for VCCP, the group behind the successful marketing strategy for the O2 mobile phone brand as well as campaigns for Coca-Cola, the financial services group ING Direct and Dyson vacuum cleaners. A further £15.5m will be paid to VCCP depending on future performance. The company’s founding partners – Charles Vallance, Rooney Carruthers, Adrian Coleman and Ian Priest – each own 20 per cent of VCCP, with the remaining fifth held by 19 senior managers.”

So started in 2002 and sold in 2005.  Interesting two of the founders of VCCP had been through the loop before: “VCCP was founded in 2002 by the four partners, who previously worked for other London ad agencies. Chime also owns 51 per cent of the ad agency HHCL, where Mr Coleman and Mr Priest used to work.”

It just goes to show the strength of the advertising cluster in London.  Perhaps the Cambridge Cluster could learn from it.  I wonder what business plan resource the London advertising enterpreneurs use?  They seem to be single round financing deals but with the founders realising the importance of including as many as possible in the equity.

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Playfish leaps up The Cloud with VC power

LONDON - MAY 31: Party revellers enjoy the atm...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The Scobleizer uses his Flip video to great effect in these two videos:

“Playfish’s CEO talking about how they are building games for Facebook, part I and part II.”

Playfish builds social games (20million monthly players) and was formed by people who had already built a games business in the old game world and now are building games on social network sites such as Facebook.  The videos show how the games uses the social network, how they get tens of thousands of feedback, how a game can quickly be upgraded (a hundred upgrades not possible on a DVD), how the have no servers and everthing is in The Cloud.

Another company building on Facebook’s platform and reacting to the demographic data already available.

Playfish has raised $20million from Accel and Index Ventures and has quickly developed a 24 hour development operation with offices in London (HQ), Beijing and Silicon Valley.  Of course the founders of Playfish had done it before and so would have got a good deal from the ever generous VCs.  The real lesson is to build a business and sell it and do it again and again.

Building a business in The Cloud with VC power seems a great way to swim, lots of air and lots of water drops to power the fish along. I wonder what business plan resource they used?

Form thePlayfish website:

“What are Social Games?


Social games are games designed to be played together with friends.

Traditional computer games focus on standalone game play on consoles, your PC or on your mobile. Games that do allow you to play together with others online normally require you to buy the game, go online and try and find like-minded new friends who are also playing the game. This is something that usually only the most dedicated gamers are prepared to do.

Our social games are different. We create games that let you play together with real-world friends and family using the infrastructure built by social networks. This is in some ways a return to the roots of games. You play with the same people you would play cards, board games or go bowling with in the real world. Sharing the game experience with friends makes it more compelling and fun.

At Playfish we believe social games are a big part of the future of the video games industry, and are working hard to be the leading company in this emerging sector.”


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Cornish Cuisine makes a festive treat

Pommes gaufrettes and smoked salmon — “‘FISH &...Image via WikipediaThe last couple of weeks has been one of much drinking and eating, walking and kite flying.  The top of the food chain so to speak must be the tasty smoked salmon supplied by Cornish Cuisine to Doble Quality Foods, suppliers to the catering trade in Cornwall and South Devon.

I tried the half-price smoked salmon from the very helpful staff at Sainsburys but it paled, literally, by comparison to the best from Cornish Cuisine.  The latter was so good that my son and his beau were presented with a pack to return to the big smoke on London.  I just wish I could take some home but a side of salmon is even too much for me to eat even on tasty cob bread from the St Agnes Bakery

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Black Cabs in London

Parachute RegimentImage by Steven Turner via FlickrIt is great sitting in the back of a Black Cab in London using the iPhone to check the route.  The driver just chuckled and said everyone does it now!

The next driver had a Sat Nav, iPod and and iPhone on the dashboard.  So guess what he does?  He sings and soon his lovely voice was filling the cab…

So third time lucky I talked to the driver of my last Black Cab of the day.  A quiet man and we talked.  I had just met my son so was sitting back saying how proud I was of his work as a management consultant.  Well, we should all be proud of our kids.  It was a short journey and I just had time to ask “Do you have kids? What do they do?”  “My son is on his way back from his tour in Afghanistan”.  Now that is brave and made me feel humble and slightly foolish.  Why did I not empty my pockets and ask the driver to buy the lads a drink when they get together?

I thought of him as I stood at the war memorial in Glyn Ceriog on Remembrance Sunday and we sang the Welsh and United Kingdom national anthems.  Two hundred strong voices from all ages.  When the wreaths were laid, a car door opened and an old serviceman supported by his two daughters strugged down the road and up to the memorial.  What were his thoughts as he got back into the car whilst the heavens opened?

Entrepreneurships and a business plan are tough but let us keep it all in perpective.

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Law firms charge

London by SPOT SatelliteImage via Wikipedia Highly qualified founders of firms spinning out of a university need to be compensated by a high first round valuation for the careers they have forfeited to start a company.  For example, newly qualified solicitors in London can earn £100k per year; senior partners in large professional firms can expect to earn over £2million per year and salaries of senior people – equivalent to successful entrepreneurs will start at £500k.

So if we have four founders, they have “given up” earnings of 4 * £500k = £2million per year say over ten years amounting to £20million.  So the minimum the company must be sold for after ten years is £20million.  But when we do our busines plan with Equity Fingerprint, we have to allow for dilution.  So if the founders are left with 25% after ten years, they need to sell the business for £80million to be as well off.  Of course, you can apply all sort of discounts and NPVs but if you allow for salaries and pensions of top Civil Servants the figure will be the same.

Of course if you want to live the good life, you will need a couple of houses and yachts and cars and the odd football club.  So you have to motor to keep up with your city slicker friends!

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Can a founder pull a sickie?

Top: London skyline, Middle: Palace of Westminster, Bottom left: Tower Bridge, Bottom right: Tower of London.Image via WikipediaNew research by market researcher TNS shows that 33% of workers in London regularly pull a sickie to cover up a hangover or looking for a new job. Who wants to be a founder and miss out on one of the treats of the working world? Sad.

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