Sunday, 7 June 2009

Ovum, Prince’s Trust, KnowledgePeers, Kashflow, Chris Dines, Duane Jackson, Lord Young…and me

(By Richard Holway 6.00pm 7th June 09) Last week quite a number of strands of my life came together:

1) In late 2000, Richard Holway Ltd was acquired by Ovum. Cutting long stories short, there followed a deep decline in Ovum’s fortunes as its telecomm research businesses was badly hit. In 2001, Chris Dines was appointed CEO and (with a little help from me, I hope) rebuilt Ovum to the point where it 1) managed an AIM IPO in March 06 and 2) received a bid from Datamonitor valuing it at c£43m in late 2006. Post Ovum, Chris formed KnowledgePeers (see banner advert above!)

Knowledge Peers is an Advice Network for people who run businesses in the UK - typically CEOs, directors and functional heads of companies in the £1m to £100m turnover range. It launched 6 months ago, and now has 3,000 companies accessing its services which include an extensive range of video guides.

2) You are aware of my role as one of the founding members of the Prince’s Trust Technology Leadership Group in 2002. My ‘induction’ was due in no small part because of the arm-twisting abilities of Lord Young. But my passion for the Prince’s Trust is because I believe that our disadvantaged young people need our help and that the Prince’s Trust, with its mentoring programme, is the best I know to provide that help

3) You cannot have failed to notice my keen interest in Cloud Computing. Indeed I believe that the move to Cloud – already well entrenched with consumers – will be (is already!) the #1 driving technology in the period to come.

4) You might also have noticed that I have mentioned a small UK company called Kashflow several times. Kashflow have a Cloud-based accounting system for SMEs (with the emphasis on the ‘S’)

Kashflow was founded by Duane Jackson (who had a pretty troubled background) with the help of a grant from the Prince’s Trust. A few years ago, Kashflow hit a purple patch and needed some further funding. Lord Young provided that and now serves as it Chairman.

5) In the last year Kashflow has managed to irk the largest supplier of accounting systems to SMEs – Sage – as well as receiving a number of ‘expressions of interest’ from other companies. Rumours have suggested valuations of £1m+ – indeed the Daily Mail on 10th Apr 09 suggested £10m, but I’m past believing what the DM says! If this came to pass I am sure it would be one of the most successful Prince’s Trust-backed businesses. Indeed, knowing Lord Young, I suspect The Trust would benefit financially if such a valuation was achieved!

How do all these ‘bits’ come together?

Duane Jackson agreed to do a video interview with Chris Dines which is now available to KnowledgePeers members. It is (in my view) extremely good and I strongly advise you look at it if you are interested in any of the areas above. Chris has made it available to UKHotViews readers if you Click here (you will have to register your name etc – but it is free!)

No comments:

Post a Comment