Richard TurnerI attended an interesting two day workshop sponsored by SouthWest Screen at the end of May. Speakers included Luke Johnson and Will Hutton. There were a lot of interesting folk from the industry  and those charged with helping the industry develop.

The objective was to identify barriers to developing  growth businesses in the creative industries. We spent a bit of time agonising over the meaning of the term creative industries before agreeing that what we were really talking about is creative digital media companies.  In practice this covers amongst others computer games, internet apps, smart phone apps and broadcast media across multiple platforms.  The general view was that it was very difficult to attract investment.  Many companies seemed to either lack ambition, the management,  or the business model to attract investment.

We have formed a group to look at the key issues companies face. I would like the group to get a really detailed understanding amongst other areas of :

  • Which sectors attract investment and why?
  • Which business models attract investment and why?
  • What are the returns an investor is seeking and over what time frame?
  • What cultural issues need to be addressed?

My suspicion having looked at many businesses in this space is that investors think that many companies have a “binary” business model i.e. if it works then you make a lot of money and if it fails then you lose everything.

In addition the intellectual property embedded in these businesses does not have multiple routes to market so cannot benefit from a portfolio approach. Plus the return early stage investors expect i.e. 10 times money over five years either cannot be achieved or that the culture of the company is not focussed around achieving exit but rather fulfilling creative ambitions.



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