11 February, 2015

It all seemed like a good idea at the time

In 1996, on good advice, we set up two family trusts - one to own the family home and the other our long-term investments.  3 years later, we established Isambard Investments Ltd (originally called Pentangle for some long-forgotten reason) to hold our more venturesome investments.  At the time, the tax department was signalling a very aggressive attitude to venture investing even though they were long-term investments, so we wanted to isolate them from our more passive investments. In 2001, we added Isambard Ltd, to be the vehicle for my professional services as a director and occasional adviser. It all seemed like a good idea at the time, but the reality was unnecessary complexity and cost with multiple books to keep and tax-returns to file. 

Moving forward to 2015, a saner environment prevails.  Isambard Ltd continues to be a useful vehicle for me - at least for now - but we have rolled all those asset-holding entities into a single trust, and we've shut down Isambard Investments Ltd and the other trust.  Result - much simpler book-keeping and much reduced ongoing fees for our lawyers and accountants, much as we still love them!

For those interested in how our venture investments fared, I think we did pretty well:
  • Washouts: Compudigm, Bergman, ValueCuncher, OpenBorder.
  • Ok result: Fronde
  • Winners: Deltec, Subsea, Xero, ikeGPS.
The winners made many times what we lost on the washouts.  We still hold some Xero and ikeGPS, and we've got one start-up in hand: Limber Jobs. So no pressure, Rod, Glenn & Leon, Natalie & Toni, but we have high expectations of you!

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