The co-founders of Asset Match explain how they are reinventing the City "pricing" structure for companies aiming for liquidity.
Iain Baillie and Stuart Lucas
Role and company:
Founders and co-CEOs of Asset Match
Company turnover (and most recent ebitda/most relevant profitability metric):
2013 anticipated revenues £500,000
Growth forecast for the next three years:
2014: Estimated revenues £1,250,000
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:
Using technology and an electronic platform to redress the current City "pricing" structure for companies who wish to provide liquidity for their shareholders. We have a data base of both likely companies and potential investors, who we are contacting. We have the capacity to deliver targeted information relating to the investors preferences.
What's the big vision for your business?
Creating a functioning alternative for occasional trading of shares in private companies. AIM and ISDX do not work properly for 90 per cent of their companies. Angel investors should know that there is a low cost exit potentially available to them.
Current level of international business, and future aspirations:
None at present, we are a domestic UK centric business. The model could easily be expanded to major European economies once the UK business has been established.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:
Changing jobs largely motivated by money. There is no substitute for working for a top-tier company.
What makes you mad in business today?
Arrogance and a lack of acceptance that “City” practises of the last 20 years need to change.
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?
We hope that the artificial delineation between “quoted” and “unquoted” company shares will disappear. There is no liquidity in the lower echelons of AIM and ISDX so there is no reason for small-cap fund managers to differentiate.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?
Yes, to a degree. There is too great an emphasis on debt and bank lending for small businesses and too little on equity and hybrid mediums.
How would others describe your leadership style?
Ask them! We would hope; visionary, collegiate, inclusive, fair and supportive.
Your biggest personal extravagance?
Sport and food.
You've got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK's independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:
We think the government’s (and the BOE) response to the credit crunch has been spot on. The economy has to de-leverage without falling off a cliff, something they have largely accomplished. A significant rise in interest rates would kill the economy as personal debt is still way too high. Much of the stuff they are doing with EIS, SEIS, EMI schemes and entrepreneurs' relief seem very sensible.