Matt Lenzie and Jeri Dutz put on a great show last night at law firm Nabarro’s stunning new offices on London Wall. The occasion was the launch of The Enterprise Network, or TEN for short, an exciting opportunity for investors to have first refusal on Leisure and Entertainment opportunities in central London, sourced by TEN’s highly experienced advisory team, which includes former Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association, Bob Cotton OBE, Paul Clark, Director of Luxury Family Hotels, and hotelier and former winner of the RAC Hotel of the Year award, Robin Sheppard.
Guests were treated to drinks upon arrival as well as a bird’s eye view of London at night from the 17th floor, a perfect backdrop for a discussion about some of London’s hottest hospitality deals. Matt started us off with a breakdown of what the TEN network can offer its members; an exclusivity window ensuring members hear about deals before anybody else, priority access to events, the benefits of the advisory teams expertise, tax efficient savings, and no membership fees.
The stage was then set for John Finnemore of Nabarro, Senior Associate in the corporate team, to talk about some of the pitfalls that investors are likely to encounter as they try to invest their money wisely. John is of the opinion that lawyers talk too much, so he kept it brief, but it was certainly illuminating; I’d wager not many of the audience expected to be warned about the dangers of cheques written on the side of a cow! Of course John was speaking metaphorically, it’s very important to establish what contracts founders of start-ups have been signing with other people before you ask them to sign your own, and equally as important to discover whether they have protected their intellectual property. John can still recall being sent an invitation to invest in a company in which the very code that made up the company’s value proposition was revealed in full!
Next to speak were Matthew Wyatt and Joseph Lennon of Weller’s, an accountancy firm, albeit one that sees itself as an advisory and consultancy business first and foremost. Matthew and Joseph are used to working with business owners who are struggling to obtain finance from the banks. They both sit on the panel that reviews all of the deals Wellers are presented with to assess their viability, helping those they select to secure financing in the form of tax efficient investment from High Net Worth individuals or syndicates. The team help to ensure that HNW’s pay no more tax than is necessary. Clients include FengSushi, Tell the Chef, Trinity, and The Draft House. Weller’s also work closely with the Oxford Brookes School of Hospitality Management, and as such are a valuable and highly prized addition to the TEN advisory team.
Ruth and Robinson
Christian Elmes, partner at EIP, presented the first of TEN’s investable deals: Ruth and Robinson are a new bar and restaurant operator, who are looking to bring a touch of Big Apple glamour to London’s nightlife scene. They have acquired a large venue in Clerkenwell and it will be run as a joint venture with Brooklyn bar Colony, which has the distinction of being the world’s first crowd-funded bar.
As Christian observed, space and labour are 2 of the leisure industry’s biggest pressure points; well Ruth and Robinson certainly have the space, and have somewhat ingeniously arranged for staff from Colonie to come to London and assist with the launch and early stages of the new bar’s life, a formula that worked very successfully at Pizza East, operated by the Soho House chain.
£2 million of funding has already been raised but a further £200k is still required so TEN members are cordially invited to share in this opportunity. The management team have a proven track record, with 17 years of experience and an impressive average IRR of 35%. Their most recent exit, Drake and Morgan, winner of the Best Exit category at the EIS association’s annual awards ceremony, returned 5.7 times cash to its investors. EIP feel strongly that investors can expect more of the same when it comes to Ruth and Robinson.
Brittney Bean and co-founder Ross Curnow have already made it in the music business, having founded Songdrop, a multi-source music technology company, and have now turned their attention to the food industry, more specifically, the business of making and selling the best Fried Chicken in London!
When Brittney’s mission to find good Fried Chicken in her neighbourhood proved fruitless, Ross suggested she should try selling her own: Mother Clucker was born. Her tea brined, buttermilk soaked, twice battered recipe is the key to Mother Clucker’s success, and of course it helps that Brittney grew up in New Orleans; Cajun fries, black eyed peas and mac and cheese are all on the menu alongside mouth-watering morsels of “CluckWitch” chicken. The team launched in March of 2013 and have already been reviewed by Zagat’s and Conde Nast as well as serving at many popular pubs and bars.
Brittney and Ross are working alongside an ex worldwide sales consultant for Pret a Manger as they look to expand. They are happy to extend an invitation to investors to take a look at their extremely detailed growth projections and finances, and of course to pay a visit to the US Army Ambulance they are cooking from in the Truman Brewery. Try before you buy! Now there’s an offer.
Champagne and networking!
To round off the evening, EIP partner, founder and occasional bon-vivant Martin Sherwood regaled us with a few tales from his early days as an investor in hospitality. He recalled being invited to invest £1,000 into a hare-brained scheme to buy up property in a run-down part of London known as Covent Garden! He cobbled together the funds and some 18 months later he received a cheque for £7,500. Luckily this one wasn’t written on the side of a cow!
Champagne and canapés followed after a business card raffle was held, with lucky winners receiving a 1 night stay in Robin Sheppard’s hotel Gotham in Manchester, a free meal at Mother Clucker, and 3 bottles of craft lager specially flown in from Brooklyn. It was an excellent opportunity to do some networking, discuss the deals and get to know some potential fellow investors. It may be cliché to say it, but a good time was had by all. As Martin might say, the old ones are often the best ones.
To find out more about the TEN network, become a member or discuss the investment opportunites, please contact Matt Lenzie, email@example.com, 020 7487 8316, or Jeri Dutz, firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 7487 8351