East London has produced an exit at last, prompting Tech City watchers to speculate that the curse of TCIO has finally been neutralised.
In May 2011, around the time the Tech City Investment Organisation was being established, TweetDeck sold to Twitter for a reported £25 million.
Since then, the dread hand of governmental interference has, observers say, retarded efforts to make the region truly economically productive.
No other liquidity events have ever occurred since the day the organisation became operational.
Headlines such as “I’m From The Private Sector, Get Me Out Of Here”, “Time Raiders” and “Curse of the Phoney Pharoahs of Victoria Street” give some indication of the frustration and horror in the tech blogosphere about the groaning weight of billboards, penguin stands and incompetence, which were said to have created the perfect storm, scaring off acquirers.
But now the curse has been lifted, and The Kernel can reveal that Conversocial co-founders Joshua March and Dan Lester have today sold their first business, iPlatform, which describes itself as the UK’s first “Facebook preferred” developer.
Terms were undisclosed but are understood to involve a mixture of cash and stock.
Acquirers Betapond, which has offices in London, Dublin, Waterford and San Jose, have not made such an acquisition before, but wanted to scoop up “a deeper pool of engineering talent”, hence today’s news.
March and Lester co-owned iPlatform but had passed day-to-day operations over to a new management team while they focused on social CRM platform Conversocial, which continues to perform well.
Conversocial, which began life as an iPlatform product but which has rapidly outgrown its parent company, raising nearly $4 million to date from DFJ Esprit, recently opened a New York office and is understood to have aggressive expansion plans.
News of the curse’s exorcism, which offers fresh hope for east London’s burgeoning internet scene, is apparently concurrent with repeated sightings of werewolves in the Tech City offices.
Others point to the departure of Eric van der Kleij, known informally to colleagues as Imhotep, Chancellor of the King of Egypt, First in line after the King of Upper Egypt, Administrator of the Great Palace, Hereditary nobleman and High Priest of Heliopolis.
Regardless of its aetiology, with the spell broken, we should expect more good news from Shoreditch’s finest in the coming months.