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In the loop: VE Interactive’s founder accused of fraud and Brexit causes skills shortages

Written by Eric Johansson on Friday, 26 May 2017. Posted in Insight, Analysis

There was another development in the drama surrounding VE Interactive this week and a new survey suggests that SMEs don’t take cybersecurity seriously enough

In the loop: VE Interactive’s founder accused of fraud and Brexit causes skills shortages

VE Interactive’s ex-CEO allegedly facing a fraud investigation

From going into administration to being sold for a fraction of its previous £1.5bn valuation, adtech startup VE Interactive’s journey has certainly had its fair share of twists and turns. And the drama ramped up even more this week when it was revealed that the company’s ex-CEO David Brown is reportedly being investigated for fraud.

According to The Sunday Times, the former head honcho is being investigated for having used £11.5m of company money to prop up ventures owned by himself, his girlfriend and his ex-wife. Most of these investments hadn’t been declared to VE Interactive’s investors, Business Insider has learned. Additionally, the founder, who left the company in March after failing to pay employees’ their salaries, is being investigated for using the business’s money to fund his lifestyle.

Edwin & Coe, the law firm, has been hired to spearhead the investigation by VE Interactive’s new leadership team, who took over in April after the company went into administration. Brown told The Sunday Times that the allegations were "cheap jibes" and that "significant legal action [was] under way."

It certainly seems as if this story is far from over.

Most liked CEOs revealed

Tech companies may impress with mind-boggling innovations and shiny offices but their CEOs seemingly have some ways to go when it comes to winning over their employees. In fact, when Owler, the business community platform, ranked the 50 most beloved CEOs in the US from one to 100, none of Silicon Valley’s corporate chieftains made the top ten.

Having surveyed its one million users, Owler found that no tech bosses had an approval rating over 90. That being said, The software company Red Hat's Jim Whitehurst did come close after receiving an approval rating of 89.8 and grabbing the 11th spot, becoming the top-ranked tech CEO. The IT business SAIC's Tony Moraco was the second most liked boss in 14th place, followed by Texas Instruments‘, the semiconducter manufacturer, Richard Templeton in 16th place.

Interestingly, while the full list did include LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg didn’t even make the top 50. If any of the rumours about his plans for a foray into politics are true, then he may want to work on ramping up the likes.

SMEs more serious about the dangers of a fire than cybercrime

Growing awareness of the risks of falling prey to malicious hackers has seen plenty of companies up their cybersecurity spending while cybersecurity startups in the UK have been benefitting from increased funding. However, a new report suggests that SMEs are still not taking cybersecurity seriously.

Having surveyed over 500 professionals, Firebrand Training, the IT training company, found that smaller companies carry out routine fire drills twice as often as all-staff cyber drills. That’s despite businesses saying they experience cyber breaches 125 times more often than fires. The report also revealed that 46% of businesses with 50 to 99 employees think that cybercrime is not a threat to a business of their size.

Given that the survey was conducted in April, before the WannaCry ransomware infected tens of thousands of organisations around the world, it remains to be seen if the hack attack opened some business leaders’ eyes to the risks.

New immigration numbers sparks brain drain fears

Startups have been expressing worries that leaving the EU will restrict their access to talent ever since the Brexit vote last year. And those fears may have been exacerbated this week when new official figures showed that not only are fewer EU workers immigrating to the UK but that more people are leaving the country too.

The Office of Nationals Statistics revealed that immigration from the EU to the UK was down by 25,000 to 48,000 in 2016. At the same time, emigration from Europe to the UK rose by 16,000 to a total of 43,000. This shift was particularly significant in countries like Poland that joined the EU in 2004.

Commenting on the numbers, Jonathan Beech, managing director of Migrate UK, the immigration law firm, said that a “Brexit ‘brain drain’ is particularly likely in the IT, finance and engineering sectors” if the government doesn’t guarantee EU nationals the “right to work during and after the Brexit process”.

Here’s hoping that whichever party comes out on top on June 8, they take these worries seriously.

About the Author

Eric Johansson

As feature writer and resident Viking, Eric ensures EB is filled with engaging and eclectic entrepreneurial stories. While one of our freshest faces, he has sharpened his editorial teeth by writing about business, entertainment and fitness.

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