Why it's a mistake to 'never say never'

SE wasting money on a no-hoper? Don’t bet on it

John PenmanApologies to a good friend and a former colleague, but we could not resist running this piece (below) from former Sunday Times Scotland columnist John Penman written in 2009, especially in the light of events in the past week.

The ex business journalist tore into Scottish Enterprise for investing £400,000 of public money in a small firm called HubDub which had “no obvious revenue stream”.

He went on to say that it “is a relatively small operation and, even if it is wildly successful, it will never create hundreds of jobs.”

Well, HubDub became FanDuel, the fantasy game company which has just raised $275 million in the US and is now worth $1 billion, making it the most successful Scottish technology start-up ever. This week it completed the acquisition of Scotland’s biggest app company.

What’s more, it has indeed created hundreds of jobs – 243 staff in Edinburgh, Glasgow, the US and Canada and has a US headquarters in New York.

To be fair, FanDuel is different proposition to HubDub. Even so, it shows that sometimes a “gamble” pays off.

If Scottish Enterprise had taken this advice and left the company to the private sector it would have missed out on a stake now worth well in excess of $100m.

John now works for Lloyds Bank and supports Partick Thistle.

Sunday Times Penman

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