Dear readers, welcome to Basement Talk,
Leasing Life’s monthly diary page, filled with the latest gossip
and insight on the less visible aspects of the asset finance
Not so smart
For many months, Smartfundit.com has
patted itself on the back, issuing press release after press
release about how great the company was doing and how revolutionary
its end-to-end online platform was.
Last month, however, Smartfundit.com Ltd and
its parent company, Corporate Computer Lease Ltd, both went into
administration, and both have now ceased trading.
Yet only last December, the online platform
received a £3.5 million (€4.1 million) venture capital injection
from BayTech Capital. What has gone wrong? Or perhaps more to the
point, where has the money gone?
“I’ve never really been good with personal
money,” admitted Justin Floyd, one of the company’s founders, in a
recent blog post, “but have always ferociously guarded the company
cash, particularly when I’ve received it through investment.”
However, Vantis, the company’s administrators,
have confirmed that it was a “lack of working capital” that
resulted in Smartfundit.com going into administration.
In any case, there certainly have been many
rumours circulating about what happened at the company, with
fingers being pointed at its directors Suki Gallagher and Justin
Floyd, the VC investors BayTech, and even the platform itself.
Many pundits now claim that Smartfundit’s
“end-to-end” funding platform wasn’t end-to-end at all, but was, in
reality, front-end only.
So, was this the case of a recession-hit
company? Was its business model not good enough?
The full truth has yet to emerge. Meanwhile,
lawyers at CMS Cameron McKenna are said to have been instructed to
look into the affair.
Many lessors have lost a sense of
vision as a result of today’s drastically altered business
environment, but none so much as Stephen Bassett, a director of Oak
Leasing, who abandoned his eyewear at the table of a west London
restaurant after a meeting of the LL advisory board this month.
After negotiations with John Bennett
over right to title, LL acquired the spectacles and now holds them
in its secure News Vault. Bids start at two quid.
Has Lombard got something to hide?
Or is it paranoid that its CEO will say something he might regret
Either might be the case judging by the
reaction of one of its public relations people when the MD of
Lombard Vehicle Management, Stuart Houlston, was invited to be
interviewed by a leasing journalist last month.
Not possible, responded the PR person – he is
not “media trained”.
Considering the fact Houlston has been in his
post for six months, such a reaction was quite odd. Perhaps now is
the time for PR folk to unleash the tongues of their
What happens when leased assets are
linked to crimes?
This question is likely to be asked in
connection with a yacht called Overdraft. Kinga Legg, the Polish
36-year-old millionairess, leased Overdraft just a few days before
she was murdered in a hotel room in Paris at the end of May.
It is understood that Ian Griffin, the British
businessman later arrested over the murder, was on route to the
65ft cruiser when he was picked up by police.
No doubt it will be sometime before the
vessel, believed to have been on lease for one month on a daily
rate of £5,000, ends up safely back in the hands of its bank