SSL VC offloading its remaining 30% in Bluedot to undisclosed Jamaican entityWednesday, October 13, 2021
BY DURRANT PATE
SSL Venture Capital has found a buyer for its remaining 30 per cent equity holding in data insights company Bluedot Data Intelligence Limited, which it has just sold 20 per cent interest to start-up Yes Iyah.
SSL Venture Capital, which had a 50 per cent stake in Bluedot is offloading its interest in the company having decided to exit. The sudden exit is as a result of, among other things, differences with the company's founder and Chief Executive Officer Larren Peart.
The Jamaica Observer can confirm that a local firm has been identified as the selected bidder for the remaining 30 per cent equity holdings in Bluedot held by SSL Venture Capital Limited. When contacted, chief executive officer of SSL Zachary Harding confirmed our information but said the entity will not be disclosed until the deal is finalised.
He conceded that SSL is relieved at finding a buyer for its remaining 30 per cent in Bluedot, paving the way for its exit from the company, which it became an equity partner in 2018. News came on Monday that SSL Venture Capital closed a deal with Yes Iyah to acquire 20 per cent of its 50 per cent stake in Bluedot.
This agreement with Yes Iyah was clinched after a deal struck earlier this year in which Peart would reacquire the stake held by SSL Venture Capital fell through. In August this year the Business Observer reported that Peart reneged on the deal and was in breach of contract.
This was on the premise that final payment to SSL Venture Capital by Peart for its 50 per cent stake had not been made more than a year after this should have been done. The sale agreement was expected to have been closed on June 30, 2021 upon finalisation of all payments and transfer of shares.
Yes Iyah is a Jamaican private company, whose directors and principals are Ryan Reid, Michael Banbury and Sean Shelton, which recently bought Proven Investment's stake in entertainment promotions company Dream Entertainment.
According to Harding, “SSL Venture Capital has agreed with a new capital provider (Yes Iyah) to acquire 20 per cent of its 50 per cent stake, as they scaled back their current involvement with the ultimate goal of exiting and recouping the investment. One part of the transaction is now complete and SSL Venture Capital is in discussions regarding the second phase of the sale of its remaining stake.”
“Having funded their growth, SSL Venture Capital is proud of the role it has played in helping a small business (Bluedot) make it to the big leagues. We were therefore happy to enable the founder and CEO Larren Peart to continue driving the company forward without some of the constraints associated with being a subsidiary of a publicly listed entity,” Harding told the Business Observer.
He explained that unfortunately the pandemic hit at that point in time creating some challenges in concluding the transaction as originally contemplated.
In concluding, Harding remarked that, “Bluedot has established itself over the past four years as the up and coming leader in digital research and data analytics in the region. By deploying new technologies in the marketplace, they have proven to be more efficient and effective than many of the traditional paper-based players in the industry, plus offering a broader range of services.”
When contacted Peart would only confirmed that Yes Iyah is Bluedot's newest equity partner and it looks forward to growing the business with the entity on board.
The Business Observer asked whether Yes Iyah would be pumping fresh capital in the business to grow its products and services across the region, which is one of its stated intentions but he was insistent on not commenting?.
However, Peart indicated that he would be prepared to speak next week when a second phase of Bluedot's equity holding would be confirmed.
Founded in 2015, Bluedot Data Intelligence Limited is a full-service market research, social media and data insights agency that provides support services, data-driven strategy recommendations, social media optimisation solutions and management consulting services to clients across industries and regions. Its client portfolio includes government, corporations and NGOs.