David Boddy, a New Zealander (pictured above, right), came to Britain in the 1970s and spent seven years working for the Conservative party under Margaret Thatcher. In 1995 he invested £500,000 of his own money in launching a rescue bid for Eventability, a failing conference and exhibition organiser. He then bought Rapier Productions, another events organiser, for £750,000. The move was not successful and it was only with his third gamble, the purchase of the web-design specialist Upstream Communications, that things began to turn round. The company, now called Em:seven communications, organises events and helps clients develop websites, intranets and e-commerce channels. An upswing in the electronic side of the business has increased sales 90% a year, from £572,000 in 1996 to £3.9m in 1999. Boddy expects the e-business side of the company eventually to overtake the events side, especially after his purchase this April of Acumen Solutions, an internet-design business that specialises in projects for the healthcare sector.
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