The real story Chanel 4 News didn't tell you!

Following my post about the Channel 4 News coverage of Open Coffee, Mark Cunningham, who is the CEO of got in touch with me via my meebome widget on the blog. He also posted a comment on the post.

Mark was very angry about the slant that C4 News had taken, essentially representing the current scene as simply a repeat of the heady excesses of the (first?) internet bubble. At his request, this is a transcript of the IM we had, which I am posting at his request.

MC: They filmed around 15 mins asking how we were funded who we met what stages we went through and so on. I will give you a full run down but the big lesson is see the edit before it goes live

I was commenting on the clip which gave the impression that funding came on the back of one of the meetups
which I didn't think had happened

You are correct. First we met advent; they liked the idea a lot however the amounts required were a little lower than they like to invest so to make the management of the seed investment they looked to get an Angel they work closely with to over see the investment.

MC: Let me correctly time line it, tell you what happened and exactly what we were asked and if you want to post it you can otherwise just ask your readers to beware cameras bearing gifts

johndwilson: robin klein is one of the investors I seem to recall
MC: Robin is out chairman and he is fantastic. Robin is a seriously top guy. TAG were brought in by Advent to oversea the investment as the rev stream is very similar to early TAG or pre TAG companies Robin has been involved in. Brent (Hoberman) came in after TAG. That was supposed to be the general edit,

Brent invested because the idea was great,
TAG (represented by saul) because the team worked and Advent were in because of the capital required.

e explained, the whole initial pitch to close was infact three weeks from first e contact to close, however we only finally got everyone in one place at a Second Chance Tuesday, which was the one saul was presenting at in November. After this it was largely a formality as the deal itself had been done we were simply tidying up the agreement and investment vehicle structure.

thought it was an SCT event. made for a great "story" though for TV news.

MC: Of course! we met saul at a SCT for the first time which is what we were being asked, in the context of the interview. we had already met Robin and Frederic, we met brent after the SCT, but by that time the initial deal was pritty much closed. This was all explained to the researcher and the interviewer, the question itself was relating the length of time from finally getting Robin, Saul, Frederic and Brent in one place and getting the investment in. Like i said the devil is in the detail and that privilage is not ours that lives in the hands of C4.

MC: to be fair Keith and I were fairly worried about the angle of the story as soon as we got to the even that evening there was too much camera time spent getting close ups of champagne, the roof top hot tub ect

It was obvious at this point the story was not about London the new hot investment scene and the development of a UK/Eurpoean emergent internet tallent to rival the valley, the show was going to be about would you risk money with these guys and at that stage it was too late. We left deciding that it was a really bad idea to be on camera in the evening shots

he next morning the camera crew came to the office and fired of fairly sensible questions is this a bubble? ans No, if it were then c4 would not have invested so much in OnDemand its own TV delivery portal,,hahaha yes good answer...and so on

Basically it looked like the report might just save itself from decending into sensationalist nonsence. But alas not. The cruel reality is the party was filled with great people who have some fantastic ideas, London is booming right now, there are great opportunities as people get more into moving from a analog solution into digital presentations, there are web apps that genuinly beat the current off line limitations into the floor and they had the perfect opportunity to tell the story

We fed them a try moving house with us and try doing it on your own - property story, hope story we could have given them any one of 1000's currently using the site to get comments, we have 300 beta comments from users who recommended everything from code improvements to local car washes in a new area. But Channel 4 wanted to get a picture of kids drinking inthe Sunset with a strap line like boom or bust, it was a giant waste of time for them and it dammaged the chances for young business people looking for a place to get a start and to discuss ideas.

Frederic Court our team member from advent who has been nothing short of brilliant said the difficulty with the coffee mornings like this is unscrupulous investers call them filter coffee mornings, because the give the VC community the opportunity to kill what could be a great idea by de formalising the pitch process. Having been through the mill I tend to agree. Ideally they should be "money free" so you can meet people and swap ideas, and perhaps then provide a path to meeting VC funding, if and only if that is the correct source of funding for your business.

Sorry for the rant, you can correct the spellings if you want to post it, but please no editing. There is enought of that going on already - kind regards Mark Cunningham, CEO


posted by John Wilson @ 6:35 PM Permanent Link newsvine reddit


At 8:28 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Hi guys here's my take on it (I hadn't read your post when I wrote it)

At 10:31 PM, Anonymous Stephan Tual said...

Fantastic, thank you for the explanation, I too was rather flabbergasted by the whole video when I first saw it.


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