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A few months ago I was at The Comms Business Gala Dinner in London sharing a table with the guys from Fused Group, the Manchester based converged solutions provider, Nortons, the High Tech M & A boutique and Solution 1, a Siemens focussed solutions provider.

Let’s just say that there are some strong personalities at Fused Group !! The guys were having fun and were clearly a very strong and united team. In common with many small to medium sized businesses they were having some “ interesting “ conversations with their bankers and other potential bankers.

Of course around that time some banks staff were running around like headless chickens, half trying to carry out the latest instructions of their failed and bailed out masters – de-risk, de-leverage ?? – and half watching out for their own jobs and alternative places to work. It really depended on which bank you were with as to how much headless chickening you got.

Apparently Fused Group was a financially strong business and a model that was working well so they were looking to expand.

It was great to hear that they secured investment from High Net Worth Individuals ( HNWI’s ) recently enabling them to continue their growth and development.

They have moved into new/larger premises, added demonstration facilities and plan to add departmental management. We will keep in contact with Fused Group and see how they progress in the future.

Banks have never been a great source of funding to the ICT industry – I always think that this stems from an attitude of some bankers thinking that there are no assets to seize if things go wrong. ICT companies are basically people, processes and maybe some Intellectual Property – no really valuable fixed assets like buildings, machinery and equipment.

The current economic crisis has further emphasized that the only people with the balls to invest in ICT companies are, generally speaking, HNWI’s i.e. successful entrepreneurs and not banks.

Banks are not prepared to risk ( unless we are talking about investing is sub prime derivatives which they seem to love !! ) and will therefore not reap any rewards either. It would seem that some banks are destined to become low risk, low growth, money handlers and as such they themselves are not worth investing in !!    

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