After two failed attempts to buy the company they worked for, Nick Robinson and Tim Mackenzie worked with 3i to identify a poorly-run company for sale. They found one in such a sorry state – with losses of £300,000 – that they were able to come up with £50k each and split the company 50/50, without the venture capital company’s help. After billing £12.2m in sales and four years into trading, Robinson didn’t feel that his partner shared his long-term vision. He persuaded a different venture capital company – Alchemy – to back the buyout of his partner. The Northampton-based company, which provides IT services to companies such as IBM and Siemens, has recently brought in a finance director and sales and marketing director. Chief executive Robinson is setting his sights on an IPO in 1999.
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