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Sad news about 4Ground going into Liquidation

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This topic contains 115 replies, has 39 voices, and was last updated by  chaingun 1 month ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 76 through 90 (of 116 total)
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  • #1411554

    zorg
    Participant
    9380xp

    Wow they make great scenery a shame if they do go under.

    #1411574

    limburger
    Participant
    7411xp

    @wkeyser TTCombat had produced (resin) miniatures in Rumbleslam before they had Carnevale.
    As such they had some experience already. I think they had some experience (and probably more luck in choosing a manufacturer) to produce the resin models.

    The guys at 4Ground started from ground zero with this type of tech.
    As such this was always going to be a potentially difficult learning process.

    Also don’t underestimate how much time is needed to run the day-to-day operations of a (small) business with the added workload of creating a new product and handling communications with a bunch of savages kickstarter backers (which is both time consuming and soul crushing).

    The site looks different, but it is alive and ticking :

    https://4groundpublishing.co.uk/

     

    #1411575

    onlyonepinman
    Participant
    10433xp

    There is some uncertainty around this at the moment but that’s the nature of the liquidation process – the involved parties are not allowed to talk about it.  It’s easy to see why people are concerned though – just because you accept the risk when  you back doesn’t remove your right to be angry if a project fails.  Investors get angry all the time when their investments don’t pay off, Kickstarter shouldn’t be any different.

    However the current lateness of the project really shouldn’t be a cause for concern. At the moment it’s 10 months late, ish.  One of the the first projects I backed was Conan by Monolith – It was over a year late. Human Interface Be a Better Human is currently on a boat on the way from China and due to start delivery in August – 18 months late. Kickstarters very rarely deliver on time and the bigger it gets the bigger the delay will be.

    #1411615

    sundancer
    Participant
    12049xp

    18 months late

    Now how did that meme go? Ah, yes “Those are rookie numbers!” say I a Star Citizen Backer…. XD

    #1411617

    tankkommander
    Participant
    2326xp

    any money put into a kickstarter has to be “If I lose this I don’t care” attitude and very disposable much like any money people bet/buy shares etc with.

    Because otherwise you are enforcing a shop dynamic or something which isn’t that (at best its a ‘beta’ shop dynamic –

    No. For the projects we are looking at backing KS is a pre-order system. It just happens to be a pre-order system that actively circumvents all the consumer protection legislation that has been set up.

    The sooner the law is changed to catch up with KS and their ilk the better.

    If you have deep enough pockets to write off cash for poor quality products, products that don’t deliver what was promised, or just run off with your cash then good for you. I just don’t see that supporting KS is doing anything other than perpetuating a model that screws consumers.

    If KS really was an investment platform then it would be nice to own shares in CMON for backing their first games as I would be getting regular returns on my investment (or a big payout when they sold out to the big boys).

    #1411627

    robert
    Participant
    9011xp

    Crowd funding platforms are an investment market, you provide money to a company who offer some future return as the reward for this investment.   Investing does not have to mean stocks and shares – your return is the product that they send you.  I think crowdfunding platforms are hugely beneficial for our economy and bringing new, risky ideas to the market, and have allowed a number of small businesses to flourish and grow.  Yes, it isn’t perfect, there have been some companies who have been fraudulent in their actions, others who have been run by incompetents but for companies who normally wouldn’t be able to get affordable or unsecured loans from traditional markets, crowdfunding is perhaps the only source of “finance” they can get in order to get their idea or product to market.

    I don’t believe we need laws to regulate crowdfunding platforms, people should be intelligent enough to protect themselves in these cases.  We should not allow a few bad apple to spoil the cart and what would be a better solution is for crowdfunding platforms to regulate themselves better.  This has been discussed on Weekenders and XLBS before.  There is no easy solution, I’m certainly not intelligent to come up with one, but one thing I don’t believe they crowd funding platforms do well enough is get companies to explain how the money is going to be used.  Perhaps, get companies to submit actual development and production timelines and to require companies to give regular updates based on these timelines.  The more information people have, the more an informed choice they can make whether they are going to invest or not.

    #1411723

    nakchak
    Participant
    5537xp

    Bottom line is this with crowd funding

    Only invest what you can afford to loose. 

    I personally only ever pledge what would be beer money, double win for me as I often have more than a head ache to show for it and I take the healthy choice by default.

     

    For the tin foil hat brigade, I hear there are some flat earth research crowd funding campaigns out their who would welcome your “insightful comments” and money let’s keep your confirmation bias based “theories” out of this.

    Fact is their are legal reasons for silence at this time, even if they did a mythic and spam us with what’s up Wednesday’s (not a criticism consistent comms is brilliant but sometimes it feels like they are sent to be weekly rather than telling us anything new) showing blow molded packaging trays from the get go you still would not know what’s going on until the liquidation process is complete.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  nakchak.
    #1411863

    4ground
    Participant
    250xp

    Not much to add at the moment but we are very pleased to let any one following this know that we are able to make an official statement on Monday as we will be free of many of the legal restraints that are affecting us.

    Regards,
    Cad

    #1411867

    noyjatat
    Participant
    5768xp

    Cheers Cad 🙂

    #1411897

    dawfydd
    Participant
    4642xp

    Projects I’ve backed that have encountered delays and/or production issues:
    Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster
    Star Citizen
    Conan
    Through the Breach
    Relic Knights
    Robotech RPG Tactics
    Mutant Chronicles: Resurrection
    the Infinity RPG
    Siege of the Citadel 2nd Edition
    MYTH
    Mercs: RECON

    And those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head. there have been at least a few others that failed and/or were delayed but that is the very nature of crowd-funding. For some of these Creators these can be whole new endeavors in areas they are lacking crucial expertise, there can be project bloat due to stretch goals that adds unforeseen costs, and any number of other mishaps that can occur. Very rarely will failure be out of malice or intent (barring some notable exceptions cough-palladium-cough), and the creators will normally have taken a substantial hit along the way in  terms of their personal finances, mental well being and personal life.

    As it’s been noted already, crowd-funding is never a sure thing. If you can;t afford to lose the money you are putting in, don;t. no matter how big or well established the company is there is always a chance things could go awry, and it’s stated as such in the Kickstarter terms of service. And honestly? Kickstarter and their like are really kinda useless to complain to once they have their cut of the funds….

     

    #1411919

    caledor2
    Participant
    2858xp

    @4ground Thanks for the heads up Cad.

    #1412105

    onlyonepinman
    Participant
    10433xp

    @tankkommander that’s not true, kickstarter isn’t a pre-order system.  If it was, we wouldn’t actually see any failed Projects, the worst we might see is a short delay due to shipping or manufacturing.  I have backed many kickstarters 55 since 2013) and I can’t think of any that were finished articles prior to going to kickstarter and some of them have suffered long delays.  For all the Projects I have backed and the majority of those promoted here on BoW the kickstarter still funds a substantial amount of development and probably all the manufacturing or at least that’s their intention.  Although it might feel like a preorder it definitely isn’t.

    #1412106

    onlyonepinman
    Participant
    10433xp

    @dawfydd I have backed 55 kickstarters 2 didn’t fund and 4 are still active leaving 49 Projects that have either delivered or I am waiting for. Out of all of those Projects only 1 has delivered on or before the due date the others hsve all experienced development and or production issues causing delays of anywhere between a few weeks or a couple of years. 2 Projects have failed completely, and the creators have largely admitted as much so I have pretty much written the pledges off. There’s a very small chance I might get something but it’s highly unlikely. That’s the nature of the beast, it’s like any other investment – it may not actually provide a return and you should bear that in mind when you back.

    #1412118

    dawfydd
    Participant
    4642xp

    @onlyonepinman I’m currently at 904 Kickstarter projects backed (!), not counting the odd one or two on Indiegogo. Now admittedly about half of those are just me throwing in a few quid to show support, possibly gain access to any pledge manager they offer and to see updates. Of those I’ve pledged more serious money there have been less than 10 where the project has failed to deliver or could only partially deliver, and in at least one case the creator was upfront as soon as they realised they could not achieve what they wanted and immediately issued full refunds. There are several others that are currently in the progress of delivering rewards to backers but they have at least sent out something, whilst others are still in production. the key thing that any backer has to keep in mind is that whatever delivery date listed on the project page? The odds of them hitting that are so unlikely, you’ve got better odds playing the Lottery. Like you I’ve had a couple of projects deliver on time or even early, but in most cases (especially tabletop games and video games) stretch goals and project creep just throw all predicted timescales out the window.

    I just start to get weary of how many times I see folks bitching in the comments of projects about how a project is running late, even after the creators have been in or made a post explaining the situation.

    But your right, sometimes the creators come out and say they can;t complete the project and you have to write it off. There are options for recourse, but in most cases you do just have to accept you won’t get any return on your investment.

     

    #1412512

    4ground
    Participant
    250xp

    A copy of the statement from facebook.

    Regarding 4Ground, 4Ground Publishing and Tymeagain Ltd.

     

    Tymeagain Ltd. is delighted to finally be able to let it be known we have successfully purchased the brand ‘4Ground’ along with all tangible liquidated assets of the company 4Ground Ltd.

     

    This information release is, we hope, the easiest way for followers and collectors of ‘4Ground’ to know more of what has happened. But if you would like to know more about what is happening, we would like you to contact us on [email protected] and we will answer what we can.

     

    Why it happened; first, a bit of the history, 4Ground Ltd. (4G) was incorporated as a limited company in 2011, at the time of incorporation it had just one shareholder, that being Tymeagain Ltd. (TY) which was, therefore, the 4G parent company.  This is a standard operating practice ring-fencing a name by creating a company to physically protect that identity from a third-party registering that name.  This action usually means the parent company has considered the likelihood that eventually that range/label may require its own space as a separate legal entity, in the interim all annual trading returns are filed each year stating this is a non-trading, wholly-owned subsidiary of the parent, often such a legal entity is referred to as a dormant company (also known as ‘shelved’ or ‘mothballed’).

     

    In due time the 4G range/label had become identified in the market as a leading brand, it did indeed continue to flourish.  At a later point in time, 50% of the ‘mothballed’ company’s shares were offered to and then acquired by Adam Cresswell-Jeal.  This was in preparation for it finally being the right time to commence trading; therefore 4Ground Ltd. would no longer be dormant.  From this period onwards Tymeagain Ltd. retained 50% of the original 100% ownership but 4G was no longer a brand within TY.  As a trading company 4G started to file actual annual trading returns to companies house (so from being a TY brand it had now broken away to be trading independently of TY.)  Later Cad (Benedict Cresswell-Jeal) was also brought on as a shareholder owning 26% of the shares with Tymeagain and Adam Cresswell-Jeal split with the remaining shares.

     

    From the moment a company breaks away from its parent company, it has no credibility (poor credit) in its own right.  It is usual for the parent company to still help in every way possible (financially, logistically) but the parent company cannot do this gratis (without reason).  It is usual in this instance for there to be an intercompany account ledger set up between the two companies, to better prevent the likelihood of gratuitous trading between the two companies.

     

    Historically the intercompany accounts ledger between TY and 4G has recorded all such instances, for example, every time TY provided working capital, or for the renting of 4G premises/space to operate/warehouse, etc. renting the TY owned manufacturing equipment/machinery, etc. and sundry another intercompany trading.   Legally, within reason, nothing is to be considered for free in intercompany accounting; therefore where taxes would usually be incurred between unrelated companies, these same taxes must be incurred between related companies).

     

    By the end of 2016, 4G and TY were having a lot of duplication of tasks, such as government information request returns, insurance/indemnities, etc.  This we identified as being collectively a great inefficiency, we obviously wished to achieve better efficiency in our collective day-to-day working practice.  It was at this time that it was decided that TY would change its known trading/working practice – under English and Welsh law it is possibly illegal in some instances for a registered trading company to trade in a field/market differing greatly from that which they had originally stated on their incorporation (please note it is not usually considered illegal, but for any company to know if at any point they cross the line it is easier to just disclose all types of trading/marketing they work in).

     

    As was widely known 4G at this time already had both in-house, and independent designers, 4G owned the right to profit from the manufacture of all these designs but it did not own the intellectual property of independent designers.  It was decided that TY’s relationship with 4G would be that of an independent designer and that as well as intercompany accounting 4G would also pay TY royalties as it was now yet another independent designer working with 4G.  At this point, all TY staff would transfer their employment to 4G, with a continuum of service under the contracts they had from TY.  At this time no machines (eg, lasers) were sold to 4G, all machines remained the property of TY and 4G continued to show the rental for said machines in their intercompany accounts ledger

     

    The liquidation of 4G has had nothing to do with the model building kits we make or kickstarted projects, or any other reason bar one!   As a company our main business of manufacture was for the UK heritage marketplace, making wooden toys and games for many hundreds of heritage and visitor attraction sites if you have been to any castle in the UK and bought a wooden sword or bow and arrow then almost certainly it was made by us.  This year 4G’s sales to historic sites were £100k less in the first quarter compared to 2018, this was caused by uncertainties caused by the March 29th Brexit issues which had massively affected sales to historic sites as they were unsure of the number of European tourists that would visit our country.  This loss in sales caused 4G to have financial problems, at the same time TYs credit to 4G had increased, in fact not going into specifics but the amount had reached over £250k.  The directors of 4G called in their accountant to discuss the situation and the accountant advised them to liquidate the company.  Kirks were called into place to act as the insolvency practitioner and the process was started.

     

    Kirks provided contact with all the creditors to inform them of the situation and employed the services of an official auctioneer to assess and value all 4G’s assets.  Kirks were agreed by the creditors as the official Insolvency Practitioners and approached TY as an interested party to buy the assets that 4G owned.  TY agreed to the price and bought the stock, assets, and materials of 4G.  The directors of TY then had to prove that they were not “pheonixing” and that their trade use of a prohibited name was legally acceptable and that they were not attempting to circumvent the law.  This was finalised Thursday (04/07/2019) and was ratified in the London Gazette.

     

    We are now able to communicate further with fans and customers about what is happening as we are under less (not zero) legal constraints.  So, let us deal with some of the rumours that have been passed around by members of the community and some of the questions we have received:

     

    Q) That 4G was liquidated due to a Creditors Voluntary Liquidation rather than a Members Voluntary Liquidation?

     

    A) 4G owed TY a very large sum of money, when liquidating, a company may only base its liquidation on its state of finances.  Due to the money owed to TY, 4G was not solvent (the reason for the liquidation) and as such had to perform a Creditors Voluntary Liquidation.  Without the debt owed to TY, the company would have performed a Members Voluntary Liquidation (or would not have had to liquidate at all).

     

    Q) When 4G liquidated other companies in the industry were left owed large sums of money in some cases as much as six-figure sums?

     

    A) This is untrue, due to the legal concerns there are some companies in the industry that were left with some debts as we were unable to preferentially treat any of our creditors.  None of the debts in the industry were in six-figure sums, not even in four-figured sums.  The only company owed a six-figure sum was TY.

    Q) What will happen to the Legends Of Fabled Realms Kickstarter?

     

    A) The Legends of Fabled Realms Kickstarter was instigated by 4G as such the directors of 4G had a choice, they could list it as a formal debt, have it written off and have the Kickstarter backers go through the liquidation process and receive whatever they would receive.  Or treat the Kickstarter backers as orders.  If we treated the backers as orders we could argue that as they had not claimed or been supplied with any remuneration from the liquidation we were supplying the backers with their orders as goodwill (the same as mail orders placed before the liquidation).  The problem with this is that if any of the backers claimed they would disbar us from providing them with any goodwill items since they would then be a preferential debt. This meant that we could supply the products to our Kickstarter backers (that had not claimed) without any potential issues caused by preferential repayment of creditors.

     

    With regard to The Legends Of Fabled Realms itself, we are able to continue with the production of the game and we will be completing it as soon as we possibly can.

     

    Q) Why was none of this communicated with the wider world or Kickstarter backers?

     

    A) TY and 4G were under legal constraints that caused the companies to be unable to communicate any of this fully.  The directors of 4G are legally required to make every effort to remunerate their creditors.  As such they could not inform, hint or advise, anyone that 4G was about to cease trading as if that was the case it could be seen that they willingly caused the creditors to receive less remuneration, breaking the law.  TY could counter this by accepting the dispatch of the orders as an act of goodwill, and under the auspices of the insolvency practitioners, to not damage the 4G name which they had just acquired.

     

    Q) Why was this stated as a restructuring?

     

    A) Because if it wasn’t for 4G’s debt to TY it would be, we have wanted to reintegrate the two companies for a while, the downturn in work for 4G forced our hand early.  We would have preferred to do this later, but business law is business law.

     

    Q) If this has happened before what will stop it happening again, are my orders safe with TY?

     

    A) This should not happen again, the main issue is unlikely to be repeated as the period of most activity in the heritage industry will have already been passed by the October Brexit deadline, also additional debts to banks, loan providers, etc. are not something TY has been burdened with.  Since May 22nd TY orders have increased rapidly, so much so that we should be advertising for two new jobs within the next week.

     

    Your orders are safe with TY but you don’t have to just take our word for it.  We are using PayPal and sage pay for our order system, both of which have a form of chargeback system that you can use.  If your order is not dispatched from us within 15 working days you can, and if you are unhappy as the product has not been dispatched, should use these systems.

     

    Q) I’m a trade customer how does this affect me?

     

    A) It doesn’t.  You continue ordering and receiving products as you normally would.

     

    Q) I’m someone that owed 4G money and I am being chased by the Liquidator?

     

    A) By law they do have to chase you, the best thing to do is contact the liquidator and discuss the issue.

     

    Sorry for the long message, we have tried to cover everything we can.

     

    Finally we want to say thank you to all of you that have supported Cad, Hellyn, Kev, Andy, Luke, Cid, Emma, Dan, Robbie, Jamie, Jacqui, Stephen, Janet and Myself through this and to say thank you to some of the special friends and Kickstarter backers we have out there that wanted to help and wished us the best.

     

    Kind Regards,

    Ben

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  4ground.
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