A creditor of Active Ticketing has filed a petition to wind up the UK mobile ticketing start-up, which is believed to have raised millions through equity investment and bond sales since its launch in 2015.
London-based Active traces its genesis to Eskimo Media & Technology, which achieved prominence in late 2013 with its NFC-based Samsung Smart Ticket, developed for Samsung’s short-lived Galaxy Studio Live concert series. The technology behind Smart Ticket was later licensed exclusively to Active Ticketing and renamed Stikit, which was pitched to investors as a “mobile technology that removes the need for paper or physical tickets to events, a medium that is expensive to manufacture, costly to monitor, open to fraud and provides next to no cross-sell or up-sell opportunity”.
Despite high-profile partnerships with Mastercard, Ipswich Town FC, the Mobile World Congress, the Force India Formula 1 team and, most recently, ATC Management (Kate Tempest, Frank Carter, the Temperance Movement) – and predictions by founder and CEO Lee Booth the company would generate net revenues of £13 million in 2016 – the company never filed any accounts, with its first set of books overdue as of 3 April 2017.
Active was incorporated in October 2015 as a public company, with tech entrepreneurs Booth and Scott Boocock as directors. They were joined by Ed Goring, whose family own London’s Goring Hotel, on 3 December, with Boocock, then CCO, leaving in March 2016.
The company originally intended to launch with an initial public offering (IPO) on Nasdaq’s European First North stock exchange in April 2016, although this plan was apparently shelved and Active was re-registered as a private limited company on 1 November 2017.
Active originally intended to launch on Nasdaq’s European First North stock exchange in April 2016, although this plan was apparently shelved
The company also sold corporate bonds “to be used to fund the final stages of the IPO process”. A source tells IQ that Active raised “millions of pounds in initial equity”, while bondholders are believed to have contributed a similar amount.
An investor information memorandum forecast earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of £10.4m in the year ending 31 December 2017.
The petition to dissolve the company, filed by Beckenham-based contractor R4L LLP on 23 February, was followed by a court hearing on 14 March at the Rolls Building (pictured) in London, home to the High Court of Justice. According to an investor in attendance, the hearing was adjourned until 2 May after Booth told a judge he would pay all creditors back in full (as well as pay investors interest owed: 7.6% per annum for two years).
Commenting on the potential demise of Active, a person with knowledge of the situation says its “key problem” was that, outside of a few high-profile trials, it “couldn’t gain adoption in the industry” and therefore lacked a “tangible” long-term business plan.
This was identified as a risk in the information memorandum, which notes the company may struggle to gain “access to sufficient inventory to meet demand and key events that may not be available”. However, describing partnerships that apparently never came to fruition, it continues: “AT [Active Ticketing] seeks to mitigate these risks by partnering with at least one of the key ticket providers and to work with federations and national venues to ensure sufficient supply.”
Booth did not respond to a request for comment.
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