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Wonga readies $1.5bn IPO, but stigma won’t get away

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Payday advances company Wonga is actually hot home over the previous few years, providing an almost-instant online financing solution which has had attracted plenty of attention and almost $150 million in endeavor investment.

But, since the business eyes a currency markets flotation, it is nevertheless struggling to conquer its hurdle that is biggest: the stigma related to lending cash.

A slew of reports bubbled up on the week-end suggesting the organization — which offers people the opportunity to use online for short-term loans with rates of interest which are pretty eye-watering them— was talking to U.S. banks about listing on Nasdaq if you extrapolate.

Here’s The everyday Telegraph, which suggests that the organization concluded London couldn’t provide the exit opportunity that is right

“The Telegraph knows Wonga, led by co-founder Errol Damelin, is starting easy payday loans Indiana online a ‘beauty parade’ to select two banking institutions to guide the likely process […]

“A choice on a float hasn’t yet been taken, however it is recognized that the float from the London stock market was internally refused by the company’s board. a supply suggested that Wonga is searching at its strategic choices, and pointed to early 2013 whilst the most likely time if market conditions enable.

“However, there might be no guarantee of the float or perhaps a purchase, along with it staying a chance Wonga chooses to merely enhance its raft of current investment capital investors. It really is understood that Wonga has refused London being a location for an industry listing because it’s believed investors that are british more sceptical about development value and there’s a not enough sizeable IPOs in britain market.”

While its choice to miss out the Uk money does absolutely nothing to assist the neighborhood startup scene — something prone to irritate investors wanting to stimulate the European IPO market — in addition it raises the question of whether or not the company hopes it could sidestep general general public doubt by crossing the Atlantic to get general general public.

Just have a look at current headlines concerning the business also it’s clear that cash financing has a stigma that just won’t disappear completely. While crowdfunding services and disintermediating lending sites like Zopa are often welcomed, Wonga’s approach is called every title beneath the sun.

Uk politicians have actually criticized Wonga, calling it that loan shark circling the bad and saying it markets too aggressively. Nonetheless it is accused of “running bashful” of the U.K. reputation and pumping up a debt bubble that is “even nastier” as compared to one in the centre of this 2008 crisis that is financial.

Needless to say, the company attempts to shake it well. Co-founder Errol Damelin is regarding the record saying “We don’t walk around feeling hard done by”. Nonetheless it’s an accusation that is constant may cause damage.

There’s an argument that this can be press that is just bad. Pay day loans are commonly derided, however they are additionally widely used, and — for many individuals — an evil that is necessary. We definitely understand I was trying to make ends meet when I was just starting out my adult life that I used payday loan companies pretty regularly when. In tough circumstances that are economic fill a space, regardless if it’s perhaps maybe maybe not a really nice one.

But Wonga’s issues aren’t simply with PR.

It’s been censured by the working office of Fair Trading, Britain’s exact carbon copy of the FTC, for the business collection agencies tactics and threatened with fines.

After which there’s the scale problem. Whilst it’s a venture-funded startup, it really isn’t a real technology business as a result — it is a finance and advertising company. You can easily argue, because they do, that the money-matching algorithms and fico scores are technology, but by that logic just about any monetary services company — or any business that is modern in fact — is just a technology company. Scaling up appears lot similar to Groupon (s GRPN) than Google (s GOOG). And that’s a thing that will make investors wary.

Looking to cash away having a general public flotation doesn’t always re solve some of these problems, and it also truly does not re solve the PR issue. And visiting the Nasdaq does absolutely nothing to affect the popular image that Wonga is operating far from a market that loves money but can’t bring itself to cope with the dirty business of lending it.