Feeds

How's Cameron's favourite Shoreditch startup doing? Oh.

Last.fm scrobbled deeper into debt

Intelligent flash storage arrays

If Cameron and his Number 10 advisors are to believed, the future of the British economy powered by Shoreditch web startups is going to be so bright, we'll all need sunglasses. The Conservatives have sought to promote Old Street's webtastic firms as epitomes of entrepreneurship.

So how are they faring? Let's look at one that was singled out by David Cameron in his 2010 speech extolling Silicon Roundabout - Last.fm. “Brought to you by 70 passionate kids from our office in East London, we play our part in changing the way music is discovered and enjoyed, forever," Last.fm boasts on its website. "Hey, someone’s got to do it.”

According to the company's accounts, Last.fm's losses increased in 2010, the last year for which records are publicly available. The annual loss grew from £2.89m in 2009 to over £5m in 2010. That was on a turnover of just £7.992m in 2010 (2009: £7.283m). Administrative expenses increased from £2.95m to over £8m.

A year ago, the Guardian suggested that Last.fm was moving "closer to profit" - but that isn't evident in the financials. It's moving in the opposite direction.

US broadcaster CBS acquired Last.fm for £280m in 2007 and treats it (somewhat generously) as a 'going concern'.

Cameron meets a Shoreditch nontrepreneur

David Cameron wants more successes like Last.fm, channelling funding via the Business Department to the controversial quango Tech City UK, which promotes webby startups. TCUK has burned through £1.79m so far - including over a million on administrative expenses.

"Tech City sends a message about the whole of the UK,” said Cameron in November.

Mind you, so do those accounts. Last.fm has accumulated debts of £29m over its lifetime.

Since the mid-1970s, when it broke away from the post-war consensus, the Conservatives have been wary of industrial intervention - of using taxpayer money to promote loss-making industries. Back then it was British Leyland - today it's nontrepreneurs. Is the Conservatives' 21st Century industrial policy really got any wiser? ®

Bootnote

This isn't the complete picture, of course. Just as with a pyramid scheme, the first in (and first to bail) can prosper. Angel investor Stefan Glaenzer reportedly made £22m from the sale of Last.fm and the co-founders £19m each.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.