Turned down by venture capitalists, chief executive Andrew Miles got Taran Microsystems up and running by trading equity to a key supplier for credit with an option to repurchase it. Six years later, the computer workstation assembler has over £8m in sales, 18 employees, and little debt. Suppliers haven’t always been so accommodating, however. One promised to supply cheap memory chips to the Hampshire-based company from the US. Since another of Taran’s customers used the supplier, Miles confidently handed over £60k up front. The supplier disappeared for six months, then reappeared, claiming it knew nothing about the deal. Miles lost the money, but isn’t bitter. He says the experience taught him to be more critical of deals. He claims to have since saved two customers from making similar mistakes.
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