BLN News – The BLNN

The BLNN brings you curated news about entrepreneurial business that you might find interesting.

Clicking on a headline takes you to alternative (and more indepth) source for the story.

You can vew our mobile site from your PDA at http://m.thebln.com

Business Leaders Network (BLN) Membership

As we have built our community across the UK a gratifying number of people have asked how they can engage in more of our activities, not only in their own regions but in other areas in which we operate. We really want to stay in touch with, and pick the brains of other people in our network. We see a huge value in keeping our community together but we need your support in doing so. Over the summer, we will be launching a more formal (probably more expensive) Membership package, but we want those of you who wish to participate in multiple events across the year to do so without having to pay to attend each event. Please note that we do not have a 'corporate membership' scheme yet. This scheme is aimed at individuals within organisations. Company Executive Member - Aimed at CEO, Chair, CFO, Board Director level people in growth businesses.
  • Entitles individual to attend all CEO Tales drinks event at no charge.
  • Entitles CEO/Chairs to attend one BLN Discussion Dinner per year at no charge.
  • Entitles CFOs to attend all CFO Breakfast Brainstorms per year at no charge.
  • Entitles individuals to attend other paid for BLN events at discounted rates and get first sight of events.
  • Membership of BLN LinkedIn Group.
  • £ 250 plus VAT per annum
Individual Investor Member - Aimed at angels, venture and private equity investors.
  • Entitles individual to attend all CEO Tales drinks event at no charge.
  • Entitles individual to attend other paid for BLN events at discounted rates and get first sight of events.
  • Membership of BLN LinkedIn Group.
  • £ 350 plus VAT per annum
Company Investor Member - Aimed at venture and private equity investors.
  • Entitles up to five individuals from member firm to attend all CEO Tales drinks event at no charge.
  • Entitles up to 5 individuals in firm to attend other paid for BLN events at discounted rates and get first sight of events.
  • Membership of BLN LinkedIn Group.
  • £ 750 plus VAT per annum
Adviser Member - Aimed at individuals working as advisors to growth companies. (Includes corporate finance, search, PR, accounting, legal etc). This category of membership is strictly controlled and members may be restricted from attending certain events where a competing firm is sponsoring - we try to look after our customers.
  • Entitles individual to attend all CEO Tales drinks event at no charge.
  • Entitles individuals to attend other paid for BLN events at discounted rates and get first sight of events.
  • Membership of BLN LinkedIn Group.
  • £ 500 plus VAT per annum

AVEVA shares soar on double acquisition

AVEVA Group plc, the Cambridge based engineering software pioneer, has turned the tables on the Vikings by using its war chest for a double raid in Scandinavia.

The company’s continuing march to global domination saw the share price soar 19p in early trading to 1198p. AVEVA is paying around £12.8 million cash from existing resources to buy Danish company, Logimatic Software A/S and some £4.4m for certain trade and assets from ADB Systemer AS, a Norwegian company.

FT Sustainable Banking Report talks to BLN about business loans

Following our BLN BDO CFO Breakfast last week we were interviewed by the FT for a Report on Sustainable Banking. This came out today. Our Breakfast meeting discussed the state of the equity and debt markets with CFOs and FDs of high growth businesses across the region. They key takeaway from this discussion for me was that banks won't start lending just because governments tell them to. They will only do so when their shareholders start asking the banks what their growth prospects are rather than trying to assess their exposure to risk. This happened in the US earlier in the year and this is the sort of trend that the UK will likely follow in fairly quick succession. Until then, companies are forced to wait. - Join us on 15th July for the BLN Growth Forum in partnership with BDO & Silicon Valley Bank. Our speakers have created over $10 billion of company value from zero. Check them out here. Earlybird discounts available until 7th June.

Real Business – Don’t vote for a party that confuses CGT and Income Tax

Real Business pick up our Lib Dem CGT madness theme, "Thinking of voting Lib Dem tomorrow? Read this before you cast your vote. Entrepreneur Mark Littlewood assesses the damage that the Lib Dems' alignment of capital gains tax (CGT) with income tax will cause to British entrepreneurs."

Advent International buys Lord Kirkham’s DFS for £ 500 million

Not a bad day for Graham Kirkham who has sold his Doncaster based 74 store furniture retailer to Advent International for a reported £500 million.

Queen’s Awards for Enterprise Winners announced

US venture capital bounces back Q1 while Europe remains on critical list

The best places to meet entrepreneurs in the UK

This is what Real Business thinks.

Timetric closes investment round

Timetric announced that it has closed an investment round. Participants in the round included Stefan Glänzer, Alex Zubillaga, Sherry Coutu, Matteo Stefanel and Sean Park and Udayan Goyal of Nauiokas Park. Timetric intend to use the capital raised to accelerate the rollout of their network of novel statistical services.
Timetric build services which make statistics useful. They include timetric.com, a leading aggregator of public statistical data, and Timetric Portfolios (http://finance.timetric.com/portfolios), a radically simple and social tool for analysing stock portfolios. All of their services are built on top of the Timetric Platform, their class-leading proprietary service for publishing, analysing, and performing calculations on very large quantities of time-varying statistical data. Their customers include the Guardian and United Business Media.
Timetric was founded by Andrew Walkingshaw, Toby White and Dan Wilson in mid-2008. They were winners at London Mini Seedcamp 2009; the company is now based in Clerkenwell, London, having relocated from Cambridge towards the end of last year.
Timetric announced that it has closed an investment round. Participants in the round included Stefan Glanzer, Alex Zubillaga, Sherry Coutu, Matteo Stefanel and Sean Park and Udayan Goyal of Nauiokas Park. Timetric intend to use the capital raised to accelerate the rollout of their network of novel statistical services. Timetric build services which make statistics useful. They include timetric.com, a leading aggregator of public statistical data, and Timetric Portfolios (http://finance.timetric.com/portfolios), a radically simple and social tool for analysing stock portfolios. All of their services are built on top of the Timetric Platform, their class-leading proprietary service for publishing, analysing, and performing calculations on very large quantities of time-varying statistical data. Their customers include the Guardian and United Business Media. Timetric was founded by Andrew Walkingshaw, Toby White and Dan Wilson in mid-2008. They were winners at London Mini Seedcamp 2009; the company is now based in Clerkenwell, London, having relocated from Cambridge towards the end of last year.

BLN Recruiting – Events/Membership Manager

The Business Leaders Network (BLN) runs events – workshops, dinners and conferences - for entrepreneurs and investors engaged in building growth businesses. Founded in the month prior to the Lehman Bros crash, we have grown steadily over the past 18 months in a tough market environment. We now need some more people to help us! The Role Building on our reputation and existing event programme, we are now looking to develop our event programme and membership model. We are looking for support, initially part-time, to help manage a busy office, take control of the development and delivery of specific events and to develop a membership programme. We require an individual who is capable and eager to take ownership of tasks to ensure that not only are deadlines met, but with the highest quality results. With too much to be done every day, we can tailor the role to suit the right candidate’s skill set. You will liaise with existing and prospective BLN members, as well as working with other professionals. You will be able to pick new things up quickly and be prepared to work in a small team. The role will also involve putting together event booklets and delegate material, as well as managing project plans. Candidates are likely to have experience in some of the following: event management; conference production; membership management; investor relations; corporate finance; event marketing; web site management; blogging. This is a role for a candidate who is looking to work in a fast-paced and dynamic environment for 2 days per week, with the potential for additional work opportunities from home. Core deliverables: -          Communicating regularly with clients & responding to enquiries -          Maintaining & updating current records -          Identifying potential future BLN members from a range of sources -          Helping to secure attendees for events -          Ensuring a high degree of accuracy in the production of BLN documents/reports -          Ad-hoc project flexibility -          Event management assistance Hours We will be as flexible as possible in terms of working hours – we recognise that sometimes the best people for a role don’t have the luxury of a 9-5 lifestyle. The role could be particularly suitable for example for a parent who is looking to move back into the real world. How to Apply: To apply please simply send your CV and a covering letter via email to darren@TheBLN.com. We will review all applicants and respond back to you. Successful applications will be called for interview shortly afterwards.
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Richemont to buy Net-a-Porter for £350 million

It was reported in the Sunday Telegraph this week and confirmed by insiders today. Richemont has been an investor in Net-a-Porter for many years and hold a 29% stake so it is not the biggest surprise that they have emerged as the purchaser of Net-a-Porter. They have had plenty of time to size up the business and the price seems reasonable given both the growth and the brand. A good day for Natalie Massanet and Mark Sebba, the founder and CEO respectively.

BLN Internship Opportunities

Internship Period: Ongoing and urgent requirement! Can run for 3-4 months depending on candidate. The Business Leaders Network (BLN) is a national network for entrepreneurs and investors engaged in building growth businesses. We promote and arrange introductions for our members; we run a blog covering high growth business for the entrepreneurial community; we run events across the UK that promote interaction, investment and discussion between the individuals behind the UK’s most active investors, businesses and innovation clusters. BLN is looking for a couple of bright and enthusiastic team players for intern roles. Roles will involve researching, planning and delivering projects in a number of interesting sectors. They all require individuals who are capable and eager to take ownership of tasks to ensure that not only are deadlines met, but you deliver the highest quality results. You will spend the majority of your time researching, evaluating and engaging with fast growth companies but will also have the opportunity to work on the BLN event programmes. Successful applicants will have responsibility for creating and implementing multiple projects across sectors including ecommerce, SaaS, Cleantech, Digital Media, gaming etc. Other projects include developing a membership services offering, and working on a national entrepreneurship competition. Candidate Requirements:
  • Previous undergraduate work experience, preferably in contacting/interviewing people on the phone and performing research over the web
  • Professional attitude and ability to interact with senior-level executives (CEO, CFO, and VP) over the telephone, and in person
  • Strong follow-up and time management skills, as well as the ability to work on multiple projects at the same time
  • Self-motivated, "can-do" mentality and structured work habits
  • Fluent English (verbal and written)
  • Blogging experience an advantage
  • Competence with standard Office applicaitons, interest and engagement in social media and web
  • Ability to work as part of a small, focused team and have FUN.
How to Apply: please simply send your CV and a covering letter via email to darren@TheBLN.com. We will review and respond to all applicants. Successful applications will be called for interview shortly afterwards. EU nationality or a valid residency and/or work permit is required prior to the internship.
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Kublax, UK’s answer to Mint.com going into administration as it fails to raise funding

Kublax, the UK's answer to Mint.com is to go into administration as it reportedly failed to raise further financing. Kublax was one of the most interesting outputs of Seedcamp 2007 and promised to allow you to manage all of your bank accounts and credit cards in one place. Despite a reported $1 million first round and some of the most established early stage internet investors on board, the business could not raise further finance. Sad news that highlights just how hard, and expensive, it is to create a business from scratch in the web space.
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Real-time location going mainstream with British firm at forefront

Airbus and Ubisense announced a ten year partnership to deliver precise real-time location systems at multiple Airbus facilities. Simply put, Ubisense helps companies like Airbus keep track of valuable stuff across large facilities and locations. The take up of real-time location systems has taken a while, largely because most of the solutions have been technology, rather than solution led.  Ubisense uses its own proprietary technology alongside other best of breed solutions to solve real problems for diverse industries including agriculture (precise real-time cow tracking anyone?), the military, manufacturing and aerospace.

Cleantech? Tesla CEO flies private jet to Washington to ask congress for loan

The irony. Congress berates Big Three automotive companies for flying one their corporate jets to ask for bailouts. while Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors flies into Washington on his private jet (and takes 10 flights in the year charged to Tesla the company) to finalise the details of Tesla's loan. Victory for capitalism? Greenwash? Hypocrisy?

AMEE closes $5.5 million Series B to measure the carbon footprint of everything

Amadeus Capital Partners led a $5.5 million round of investment into AMEE. AMEE aims to build a system that can measure the carbon footprint of anything. As regulatory and consumer pressure increase in an effort to tackle climate change, this is an emerging sector that could be worth up to $4 billion a year by 2017 according to some analysts.
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Cognitive Match pulls in $2.5m for realtime content-matching

The Cognitive Match startup is applying artificial intelligence, learning mathematics, psychology and semantic technologies to match content (product, offers, or editorial) to realtime content. Last year it raised a Series A investment from Dawn Capital, rumoured to be in the $1m+ ballpark. Today Dawn has stepped in again with a follow-on Series B investment of $2.5m which the company will use to accelerate its growth. That takes it’s war-chest to around $3.5m

Rumour – GSK to close Harlow facility and neuroscience across UK

Rumour: GSK, following their announcement reported in the FT on 31st January of a likely 3,000 job cuts globally, are to close their Harlow branch, formerly the Smith Kline Beecham flagship facility, with the likely loss of 2,000 jobs. Workers at the facility were told they would be made redundant on Thursday.

Autonomy raises guidance. Economic climate is, “winter with snowdrops”

Get behind us recession! Autonomy Corporation raised guidance on 2010 earnings and reported 43% rise in pre-tax profits. Saw spending on discretionary items up in fourth quarter of 2009. Mike Lynch anticipates increasing guidance further, 'if things carry on as they are'. He described the economic climate in their annual results presentation as, 'winter with snowdrops, just short of a full spring revival'.
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Bridgepoint sells Pets at Home to KKR for £995 million

Good news! And so private equity lumbers into action again. Pets are big business.

$350 million of VC funds hope they have found a Better Place for ROI

Following on from a $200 million funding round in 2007, Better Place has raised a whopping $ 250 million Series B round valuing the business according to investors including HSBC, Lazard Asset Management and Morgan Stanley Investment Management.  Better Place was founded by Shai Agassi. Better Place plans to set up battery swapping stations allowing consumers to lease batteries and swap them as they get low with freshly charged ones. Definitely innovative but if this gets big, you can expect them to have serious competition from all sorts of angles. Not for the faint hearted. The company does not expect to have product in the market until 2011.

Atlas shrinks the world

One of Europe’s original Transatlantic venture funds, Atlas Venture,  is consolidating in Boston. The redoubtable Fred Destin will relocate where he will focus on levering his European experience by building US companies. Christopher Spray, Managing Partner  of the European operation will remain in London to manage the European portfolio. Graham O’Keeffe and Regina Hodits will transition to Venture Partner roles.

Corporate venturing back? Alstom & Schneider Electric launch venture fund

Alstom and Schneider Electric launched a EU 70 million fund to invest in early stage  environmental and clean technologies.

News Apps – another way for entrepreneurs to ‘steal’ someone else’s news?

Many of the popular paid for news reading apps are NOTHING to do with the organisations whose news deliver - the two most popular New York Times Apps are not made by the New York Times, the BBC Mobile News Reader is not from the BBC. Industries in flux are truly profitable places to be if you are a fleet footed entrepreneur - or a lawyer.

Microsoft & HP to invest $250 million in cloud platform

Or as their pres release says, "HP and Microsoft Simplify Technology Environments With Solutions Built on New Infrastructure-to-Application Mode". Snappy.