Ever since I set up the IT Ventures (ITV) division of SystemNet Data back at the turn of the century I have been attracting all sorts of deals. To give a quick history lesson. The IT Ventures was set up in 2000 to do deals in the technology space and was merged into the Irish business of Naytencourt in 2002. Naytencourt bought Systemnet Data. ITV merged into Natencourt HQ and became Naytencourt. Naytencourt closed in 2009 and was reborn 2010 as Court Capital Partners, which was largely decommissioned in 2018 with the remaining business merged into The Trade House.
Since day one a very smart and trusty database has been logging all deals and opportunities that come through the door. I also got a large number of prank calls, for example, someone wanting to sell me the England football team for a fiver! I also had more than my fair share of Nigerian prices wanting to do “deals”. I never logged those in the database sense. Mentally filed is the phrase I think I am looking for! I will talk about some of these another time!
The result is a database of over 20,000 business opportunities. This continued through with The Trade House Magazine which added another 7,000 opportunities in the space of 2 years. Some are fairly standard such as reseller agreements for some fantastic software and hardware products, some fantastic websites for sale and investments in businesses like SystemNet Data.
However I did get some rather weird and wonderful ones. This morning I was having a nostalgic look back at the database. Here are some of the more interesting things that I have been called about.
- A gentleman’s bar and grill with an interesting sideline – drugs. The owner was quite open about it which was even more surprising. Naturally, I declined.
- A vodka distillery in Russia
- Yacht moulds for a range of trailer sailers.
- A South African IT company which very nearly became SystemNet Data South Africa. This was an excellent business and it is a crying shame that the deal fell through.
- A castle in the West Midlands UK, that was crying out for a hotel and lifestyle activities conversion.
- A chain of British hot food takeaway shops in the Far East.
- A football team and ground/”stadium” in the North West of England.
- A private beach in the South West of England.
- A 5-star hotel and Beach resort in Dubai. Asking £214,000,000!
- A company producing cladding similar to that involved in the Grenfell fire. This was quickly declined!
- The UK dealership for a range of Malaysian electric cars
- An integrated business management and finance app that was ahead of its time. Much earlier than Xero or FreeAgent with a SalesForce like app bundled on.
- A high profile Central London Hotel
- An Oil Rig for sale for £16,000,000
- A hotel with interesting links to English royalty.
I remember working on all of these well, most of them were a pleasure to work on. Unfortunately, some were not a pleasure to work on, I think you can guess which those were! There are others but I think that these were the most memorable.