Entrepreneurs and Sheep

First Meeting of the Year

Lawyers Nabarro are 3Cs Community hosts again but in new offices in the City at London Wall up on the 18th floor. Now a very plush auditorium, the room is the former site of the dealing room in The London Whale Scandal where a J P Morgan dealer lost his employer US$ 1.2 billion with a US$ 572 million fine on top.

Offering among other things, free draft legal documentation and fixed fees for raising finance, they are very busy with 120 capital raising deals completed so far.  As a courtesy to the host concerned, meeting organiser Colin Spiller usually delivers a debrief next morning, but too many deals being done and no debrief required.

The City and All That

Think of the City of London and you may think of Dick Whittington and rather old fashioned institutions & events where the best known perhaps is the Lord Mayor’s Show in November. London is sometimes described as a twin city with the City of Westminster being the political bit and the City of London the financial. Whatever the former thinks of the latter, the government relies on the City to borrow money. Each City has their own Lord Mayor, but these are not to be confused with other recent London mayoral upstarts, where the incumbent is Boris Johnson.

So the City does business and while influence in some trades and professions has declined, no guilds or companies let the grass grow under their feet and all are involved in charity and supporting local communities. Some like The Worshipful Company of Carmen offer apprenticeships and bursaries, for those who want to work in the transport industry.

New Kid on the Block

If you want to become a venerable City institution, first step is the form a Guild where the Guild of Entrepreneurs is the newest one and Guild of Air Pilots another new one. The latter has recently become the Honourable Company of Air Pilots. The Worshipful Company of Educators is another new one while The Worshipful Company of Basketmakers is much older – once described by The Evening Standard as the Company of Basket Cases!

Forming the Guild of Entrepreneurs took four years of doing the rounds of the other Guilds & Companies, adding an inch to first speaker’s and Warden of Guild of Entrepreneurs Dan Doherty’s waistline. The terminology used in doing business with the various bodies in the City of London can be quaint. The existing guilds/companies who might support your creation, are called “non-objectors” while the entrance fee is called a “fine” and the regular subscription called “quarterage,” is paid annually. For the Guild of Entrepreneurs, the entrance fine and quarterage is £350 with any new member being expected to make a minimum charitable donation by Standing Order of £15 per month.

To become a member of a guild/company one needs to be Freeman of the City of London giving you certain privileges: being able to wear your sword unsheathed; have a silken rope if you are to be hanged; get married in St Paul’s cathedral; if drunk and disorderly, have the City of London Police escort you to the City boundary but most famously, drive your sheep over London Bridge. Freemen who have their own guild occasionally do this raise money for charity.

The Cinderella of the National Health Service

Ogenblik presenters Deborah Werbner and Lisa Erickson want to use wearable technology to help those with mental illness where the condition still carries an enormous stigma, affecting one in four adults at some point. Their talk mentions internet addiction where on the same day, I read of a Chinese guy who resorts to chopping his hand off as a remedy.

Ferguson Hill Studios

Based in Camden, Ferguson Hill Studios have a range of high end speakers from £250 to nearly £5,000. They are the third high end speaker presenter at 3Cs Community but differ from the previous two by outsourcing manufacturing to China. Previous presenters have made a strong point of manufacturing in the UK. All the same they have some very high profile customers, and by a small margin win the vote at the end of the meeting “If you had £100,00 to invest, which product would you go for?”

At one point 3Cs had a sophisticated programme for deciding the “best” speaker with about 20 different inputs. Proving Occam’s Razor perhaps or that simplest is best, a simple show of hands gave the same result, so that whoever would have spent the meeting tapping keys, can now enjoy the meeting.

Float UK

Bob Agnew the final speaker, offers another business where simple seems best with his float tanks. Resting on a bed never completely relaxes the body as the blood vessels at the bottom get squeezed. Solution, immerse in warm water that is 50 per cent denser than that in the Dead Sea. A feeling of weightlessness follows offering complete relaxation. There are a few float centres in the UK but most are run by enthusiasts who open for business when they fee like it – hardly a viable business model. Three centres are in London with sessions costing up to £55 but there is a lot of demand and Bob’s problem now is getting the resources to create a proper business.

A couple of friends and family spring to mind but the current locations are too far. Most interesting perhaps is that an immersion stops the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease for 2 -3 days, suggesting a huge potential market in care homes.

Curiously, the immersion technique reminds me my reading of The Ipcress File (novel) where at the end, a tank is found in which people were brainwashed by being immersed in blood heat temperature water and subjected to waves of sound. The tank was dropped in the film but not the waves of sound bit.

Pitches and Next Meeting

Three speakers already lined up for the 25th March 2015 at UCL Advances meeting but contact Colin Spiller for pitching at the 20th May 2015 meeting at Bootlaw.


George Emsden
Now retired, George is busier than ever: working through an OU Maths & Physics degree, blogs, volunteering at Muswell Hill Soup Kitchen and Haringey Winter Shelter plus being a very proud granddad.

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