Miroma Ventures CEO on investing in Pinterest & Jamal Edwards' SB.TV

Marc Boyan talks about tech start-ups that can go on to become billion dollar companies

If you haven’t heard of Miroma Ventures, here’s why you should sit up and take notice.

The company, which has one of the UK’s fastest growing tech companies Miroma International under its umbrella, has invested in Pinterest, online fashion magazine Who What Wear and Outdoor advertising company Outdoor Plus.

Last month, the company invested in SB.TV, the online YouTube channel led by Jamal Edwards, in a deal that valued the digital company at £8m.

And Last week, Miroma Ventures joined Hailo investors Forward Investment Partners to invest £1m in Appear Here, an online marketplace for shop space founded by 21-year-old entrepreneur Ross Bailey. We catch up with CEO Marc Boyan to talk about investing in tech start-ups

Q. Why did you decide to invest in SB.TV?

I’ve followed Jamal and SB.TV for a few years now, and have seen the growth, interest and increasing influence that Jamal has over youth culture. The opportunity to scale was too exciting to walk away from.

Q. As for someone who’s just 23 years old, how was it to negotiate the deal with Jamal? 

It was great, Jamal knows what he’s good at, he outlined what he wanted on the contractual side, and then he passed it on to his lawyers. (Leaving the boring stuff to the OLD lot)

Q. What impressed you about Jamal?

His passion, his drive, his feet are firmly on the ground, and his vision.

Q. Jamal wants to open channels on fashion, comedy, sport, business, games and gadgets – what are your expectations from it?

Our expectations are to grow the SB.TV platform, to create new verticals, and have SB.TV as leaders in media innovation online.

Q. Do you see SB.TV becoming  a billion-dollar company? 

Yes, why not. As the value of content, data, and distribution becomes more important in the world, SB.TV is in the perfect position to capitalise.

Q. Tell us a little about your background? When did you set up Miroma Ventures?  

I used to swap football stickers, I always filled my book first, had many leftover and people wanted the stickers I didn’t need… 15 years on I set up a barter company, specialising in swapping media for products. In 2010, I set up Miroma Ventures as I realised the best way to keep on the pulse of the fast growth in technology and media is to invest in the area.

Q. Why did you decide to invest in Pinterest?

We made a really tiny investment as we co-invested with another investor. Pinterest long tail is absolutely perfect for generating advertiser revenue similar to Google’s revenue model. The half life of a Pinterest pin is 1000 times longer than your tweet…

Q. Tell us about other investments that excite you?

Appear Here and My showcase.com are ones that excite me. MyShowcase.com is Avon meets Space NK all online so it’s quite scaleable and has a great management team. Appear here is the Air B&B of commercial property, matching retailers, brands to landlords with space to sell - taking the paper out of the transaction.

Q. Tech entrepreneurs complain that capital gains tax is driving out investors from the UK. What can the government do to attract more investors like you?

Tech entrepreneurs need more tax breaks. EIS and SEIS schemes are a good start, but could be wider-ranging, and help attract more money into high growth companies.

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