Another seven days have passed and still no news from Houseology, last week Stuart McGhie suggested an update might be posted in the next seven days… Well, those seven days are up and we have nothing.
They’re still happily posting interior design related tweets on Twitter and it also looks like their website has had a bit of an update, I think the ‘Trade’ section is new and the category section doesn’t look quite finished.
Things are clearly happening, recent (mixed) reviews suggest items are still being shipped – It’d be nice if we could just be told exactly how things are going.
After an email and a few Tweets, I’ve managed to coax Houseology out from their prolonged radio silence! In the words of Stuart McGhie (Finance Director according to LinkedIn):
“We have had a brief update ready to go for a few weeks now but just not managed to push out as the timing hasn’t been quite right. I can only ask that you remain patient for just a little while longer and something should be posted in the next 7 days.”
Houseology haven’t given us Seedrs investors since October 2016 despite several calls from investors to do so. This comes despite daily tweets and some relatively recent TrustPilot reviews.
Accounts filed in March (2017) for y/e 30th June 2016 show losses for the year at £2.1m so they’re now running a P&L account in excess of -£5.6m, add to this the fact that they had over £900k due to creditors in the coming year, a cash balance of £140k, stocks of £155k and debtors of £257k and things don’t look too rosy. I can see one of a few things on the horizon; another raise (given their lack of updates, I can’t see this going well on Seedrs, if they do raise I predict CrowdCube), they wind up when they run out of money in the not too distant future or they go into zombie mode eeking out the money as long as they can in order to survive.
I’m also not sure what the ‘investments’ on the micro accounts are for – the three companies cited all show overdue accounts (OHSO Interiors Limited, OHSO Homes Limited & OHSO Design Limited) all of which have the same sole director, one Kathleen Mooney. Digging into the CH documents some more and the story gets more confusing – I’m not sure what’s going on with the confirmation statements (some appear to be blank) or the directors, I’m not even going to speculate how they tie together.
I tried emailing a couple of weeks ago and got zero response, I’ll try a Tweet and see if that prompts them into action.
I’m a sucker for a cycling related pitch and back in the second half of 2013 I and 112 other investors took a punt on Bird Cycleworks (trading as Bird MTB) designers, builders and sellers of a range of high-end mountain bikes direct to consumers. This week they take the award for most sustained radio silence of any of my Seedrs investments. We last heard from them on October 19th 2016 when they announced a new model.
I’ve had a scout about and they seem to be doing alright, their Facebook feed seems to be well organised and they have demo days coming up over the next month or so. They also announced a new race team at the end of Feb, partnering with the cycle clothing brand Morvélo, this seems to be contributing well to their image with a few decent results under their belt already. The only concern is the disappearance of their Twitter feed and the resulting broken link on their website.
Their accounts don’t look too alarming either, although they only have accounts made up to September 2015 available on CH. Their loss account only grew by a few thousand on the year before. It also looks like they’d taken on twice as much stock as the year before – a positive sign of growth. Being a seasonal market, much of the stock is on-boarded in time for the start of the season, from what I understand there are significant lead-times for many of the components so it makes sense that they hold a lot of stock to allow them to build bikes with sensible delivery dates. There are many a bike company who have suffered from poor reviews as a result of late orders – often caused by a lack of component stock. I can well imagine it being a difficult balancing act, trying to decide how much stock to hold, something I’m sure they’ll get better at as the company matures.
The MTB (mountain bike) market attracts a certain kind of person and a certain more laid-back way of life – What with my city desk job, it’s one I’m jealous of. I get to head out on the bike far less than I’d like, but if I could chuck it all in and be financially comfortable and do something I really enjoy, I’d setup a cafe/bike shop or if I had a lot of spare money, a bike park. These guys aren’t in it for the money, they’re in it because they love it. I didn’t invest for a return, I invested because I’d buy a bike from these guys and I’d like to think with my investment the potential discount and personal touch they offer will be worth it when I can justify a purchase to the other half… Hopefully they’ll be around that long, or at least long enough to get them off the top of the radio silence list!