The Business Investors Group has invested in excess of £25 million since it was formed in September 1997. Below is a testimonial for one of the investments carried out by members of BiG.
Quick TV was formed in November ’06 by Tod Yeadon and Nick Bell in order to provide services to businesses in the broadcast, the internet and mobile sectors.
The principle benefit provided by the company to its subscribers is the better use of video through viewer interaction. At the time the main viewer response mechanic in broadcasting was premium-rate calls and texts. Video on the internet was largely the domain of social users and there was virtually no video at all on mobile phone handsets. So it took a considerable leap of faith for anyone to put their hard-earned cash into a start-up with no revenues in its chosen market sectors.
In early ’07 North Star had provided funding to Quick TV for a Proof of Concept, used to demonstrate that the technology is viable. The broadcast market was selected for the deployment of this fund and after several months of buying, begging and borrowing a demonstration of an innovative interactive service was made live on the BSkyB platform. This was followed by an offer by North Star of seed capital from a fund named COIF, the condition being that a substantial percentage of the minimum funding requirement should come from private sources.
With property values still increasing rapidly and the stock market performing at record levels it was no easy task to persuade investors to come on board but in the late summer of ’07, Tod and Nick were invited to make a presentation to BiG at the Riverside cricket ground. Despite not having the airtime to reproduce a live demonstration the presentation was well received and soon afterwards several members, led by Tom Speir, committed sufficient funds which, when combined with management’s contribution, was sufficient to get the business underway.
A year later the company was preparing to launch the Quick TV service, its primary focus having shifted from broadcast to the internet. By then Tom had been appointed Chairman not so much for his familiarity with matters digital but for the experience he brought to the job. At this point it was time for a top-up funding round (as always expected – the business was running under budget and on schedule but needed a more substantial marketing budget) but the recession had hit and funding had become scarce.
Once again North Star came in with an offer from the COIF fund and once again a significant part of the private money was found through BiG members.
The full commercial launch of Quick TV’s online service takes place in early ’09. Despite the prevailing economic conditions prospects are good due the demand for video on the internet holding up well and the quality of the service making it both unique and attractive to potential users. The role of BiG members in helping the company to this point has been of great significance, both in the unhesitating provision of funding when needed and the strategic guidance of the company during its crucial development phase.