The Idle Man, a menswear fashion brand, crowdfunded on Crowdcube back in 2015 raising a respectable £793,000 from over 400 investors.
A couple of years later, The Idle Man returned to Crowdcube seeking £500,000. At that time, in a blog post, CEO Oliver Tezcan touted the success of the company since the first capital raise:
“Our growth over the last financial year of 104% is a pretty good place to start. Our first Crowdcube campaign allowed us to invest in our content strategy and brand marketing, helping us to build awareness and grow our customer base. We were also able to bring our photography and tech functions in-house to really finesse the user experience, and the site is almost unrecognisable from 2015,” said Tezcan.
Today, The Idle Man is no longer independent as the company has been “acquired” by the parent company of Oasis and Warehouse for an “undisclosed sum,” according to multiple reports. In an email shared with Crowdfund Insider, the situation prior to the acquisition was even more dire as The Idle Man had effectively gone bust having gone into administration. Every campaign page on Crowdcube has been scrubbed (unfortunately).
The saga of The Idle Man highlights the reality of early-stage investing. Many, if not most, young companies will eventually fail. The Idle Man, it seems, had a good run of it for a few years but in the end, the competition was simply too much.
The email distributed to investors simply stated:
“We are getting in touch to let you know that The Idle Man has gone into administration. I’m sure that this news will be extremely disappointing for you as an investor in the company.”
On a positive note, The Idle Man was EIS qualified and thus investors are shielded somewhat from a portion of the loss.
As for Tezcan, according to a report in the Retail Gazette, things are looking up as he still has a job and the brand will continue. Tezcan stated:
“This is the start of a very exciting journey for us, we will now have a platform from which we can scale up, attract new customers and develop our own brand wholesale proposition and international business.”
Every investment holds an element of risk. Early-stage investments are some of the riskiest and investors should only participate if they are willing and able to shoulder this risk. The best bet is always to hold a highly diversified portfolio whatever asset class you hold in your portfolio.
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