An Interview with Andy Hasoon of Milamber Ventures Plc

5 mins. to read
An Interview with Andy Hasoon of Milamber Ventures Plc

James Faulkner: Hi Andy. Thanks for taking the time to speak with Master Investor. For the benefit of the uninitiated, please give our readers a brief introduction to Milamber and what it’s all about.

andy hasoonAndy Hasoon: Milamber Ventures Plc is listed on ISDX, a stock exchange run by ICAP. We are an incubator and accelerator which helps early stage media, technology and education companies through their growth journey.

JF: In that sense is it fair to say that Milamber shares some similarities with Venture Capital?

AH: No, not at all. Firstly we focus on business development activities first and funding second. We believe the fastest way to help a company grow is to secure more customers through sales. The more sales you have, the less funding you need. Also if you can crack the sales process – i.e. how to secure new customers – then it’s easier to secure funding.

Milamber focuses on the words ‘business development’ because the best way to fund and grow a company is to secure more sales and increase the company’s customer base.

milamberMilamber’s business model is impartial in delivering the best solution for the Portfolio Company’s needs. We facilitate access to the most appropriate form of capital for the Portfolio Company through the following means:

  1. Milamber invests its own money directly into our Portfolio Companies; direct investment is applied for accelerating sales and business development growth.
  2. Milamber facilitates access to the most appropriate form of external capital and Grant funding.
  3. When capital is being sought we already have in place a range of partnerships to facilitate Portfolio Companies’ access to funding sources and help management access that funding in a time efficient manner so that management can focus their precious time on the business growth issues.
  4. When Grant funding is preferable, Milamber uses its experience from previous successful applications and its Grant professionals to generate proposals that have a high probability of success; and its knowledge to specifically target Grants with lower application rates.

JF: What makes Milamber ideally placed to offer these services to fledgling businesses?

AH: Our team have all built companies themselves, and we are hands-on. We align our team and support with managements to achieve our objectives together.

JF: What’s the current composition of the portfolio?

AH: Our focus is on Media, Technology and Education companies:

Engage Works & Flux – – World-leading Interconnected Experiences Group


Music Interactive Technology – – Engaging Interactive Music Education Company

music interactive

KnowledgeMotion – – World’s Largest Video Clip Library for Education

knowledge motion

VeeMee – – Virtual Avatar Technology


Thortful – – Hottest Creative Talent in Greeting Cards


White Cobalt – – Technology to grow your company

white cobalt

So Just Shop – – Women-led Artisan Marketplace

so just shop

360 Global Net – – Disruptive Digital Technology

360 globalnet

Enswarm – – Collaborative Team Thinking


JF: Judging by the types of businesses Milamber works with, would it be fair to say that Milamber offers retail investors access to companies which they would normally struggle to gain exposure to – i.e. early-stage, new technology businesses?

AH: Because of our relationships and network we get access to some of the best tech, media and education companies, we typically get 40+ companies being introduced to us a month. These we triage down to one or two that we then spend significant time getting to know. We then work out which we think are the best ones and that we can add most value to due to our experience, know-how, network, and relationships etc., then we sign them up. So by investing in us retail investors get access not just to one or two investments but many different companies, and we are adding more companies to the portfolio and building value in the existing portfolio all the time.

JF: Is there any particular example of how Milamber has helped one of these businesses to develop that best showcases the business model?

AH: If we take Engage, they were turning over about £1.5m a year when we started working with them. They were selling to Agencies and needed to move the business model to sell to Corporates direct to move up the value chain. So we jointly launched an event called Flux. It started as a one off event to help Engage secure more corporate customers, sparked by the desire to showcase Engage and Milamber’s technology partners and give corporate customers the opportunity to experience the latest interactive technologies first-hand. The Flux one off event then became a permanent Innovation milamber 2Lounge which was launched in Q1 2014, when the doors opened to the brand new, state-of-the-art, innovative technology showroom and networking space. By the end of 2014 Engage had expanded from just eight staff to over 35 and was turning over £5m and making more money as a result of changing the business model and using Flux to attract new customers and help articulate the value they provide customers more clearly. Milamber sold our share of Flux to Engage in October 2014 and today we own shares in Engage. Engage and Flux have launched in 2015 in Dubai and the company is going from strength to strength.

JF: What’s the significance of Milamber’s partnership with The Hatch Group in the US?

AH: Hatch Group partners include Gary June, former CMO of Pearson; Evan Schnittman, former CMO at Hachette; David Joseph, who held senior roles at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Audible and EBay; and Tim Moore, leading Publisher at Pearson. Together they own about 11% of Milamber and we help their portfolio companies with European business development opportunities and Hatch Group help our companies get into the US markets, in particular with the global publishers. Here’s an example: Hatch and Milamber have been jointly working with one of our portfolio companies to open up Publishers, key Distributors, OPM (Outsourced Program Management) Companies, and Course Development Companies for strategic distribution and investment Partnerships. An MOU has been signed for over $2.5m with a leading publisher for a five year deal for one of our companies. We have several of these anchor tenant deals that help “step change” a company’s trajectory in progress with a number of our portfolio companies – this is how you can scale companies quickly with the right know-how and connections.

JF: It sounds like Milamber has a lot going on. I’m sure our readers will be looking forward to hearing more about this at the Master Investor Show in April. Where can they find you on the day?

AH: Each company we work with has clear objectives that we monitor track and ensure we execute on. And when you are working with 15+ high growth companies you have to be disciplined in making sure each party knows what they are doing to achieve your goals together. We actually have three stands 27-29 opposite the ISDX/ICAP stands which are 30-32.

JF: Thanks for your time, Andy. I look forward to seeing you at Master Investor 2016.

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