In which I belatedly pick up on something in the Scienceblogs.com saga

July 20, 2010

Ran across a link to this press release dated 7/24/2010.

About Innovium Media Properties Corp.

Innovium’s venture investment portfolio is devoted to Seed Media Group LLC, a private media and technology company focused on the professional and consumer science markets. Seed’s award winning brands include Seed® (www.seedmagazine.com) and ScienceBlogs® (www.scienceblogs.com). Innovium trades under the symbol IN on the TSX Venture Exchange (“TSX-V”) and IH7 on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (“FWB”).

Huh that’s funny. It has been going on since, well, at least since June 2008.

Oh, there’s a website for http://www.innovium.ca/.

Press releases..press releases. Hmm, here is one from 2005:

September 08, 2005
INNOVIUM CAPITAL CORP. REPORTS
NOBEL PRIZE WINNER DR. JAMES WATSON JOINS SEED MEDIA GROUP
Toronto … Innovium Capital Corp. reports that one of its investments, Seed Media Group, announced
yesterday the appointment of Dr. James Watson as Special Advisor to the Board. Dr. Watson received
the Nobel Prize for his co-discovery of the structure of DNA.
James Watson holds honorary degrees from 33 universities including Harvard..

So pretty much from the beginning then. Egg on my face. Guess I should have known a little something about the place I was blogging for, eh? My bad.

Okay, this puts me right out of my depth but I think this is the chart for the stock valuation of the Innovium Media Properties Corp

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19 Responses to “In which I belatedly pick up on something in the Scienceblogs.com saga”

  1. albatros183 Says:

    so what do you think about mass migration?

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  2. drugmonkey Says:

    what migration?

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  3. Neuro-conservative Says:


    A number of years ago Innovium’s Management and Board of Directors made a calculated decision: we would, at propitious times, sell off our portfolio investments and reinvest the proceeds into an increasing participation in Seed Media Group (SMG). To date, Innovium has committed C$14 Million, including accrued dividends, to Seed. The consequences of this choice are still unknown.

    Seed has suffered all of the constraints and travails typically affecting early-stage opportunities, irrespective of sector. There never seems to be enough money. Management is forced to multi-task. Short-term needs may conflict with long-term goals.

    Every business requires a catalyst whose dream motivates first him, and then everyone around the proverbial table. When we met Adam Bly, Seed’s CEO, we envisaged him to be such a personage, and, five years later, we still do. Adam possesses an all-encompassing vision of the sciences and the role they play, and will play in the future. Science encompasses social, cultural, environmental, and attitudinal dimensions and is emboldened by the sheer sense of “fun” engendered by intellectual discourse and problem-solving at the highest level. Adam’s vision is linked to an overwhelming sense of social responsibility: science will solve our problems and make our collective world a joyful and enriching place.

    Should Seed’s growth over the next few years fulfill our expectations, Innovium will likely pursue additional opportunities in related sectors. The risks are obvious: we have put all of our eggs in one basket, but Innovium’s increased ownership means that its Management has a heightened participation in Seed, providing value-added counsel and oversight.

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  4. drugmonkey Says:

    nice n-c. so they are screwed?

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  5. drugmonkey Says:

    this is probably not good.

    Innovium had a 2010 first quarter net loss of $717,000 compared to net earnings of $379,000 in the first quarter of 2009. For the three months ended March 31, 2010, the Company recorded a negative operating cash flow, after changes in non-cash working capital items, of $215,000 compared to a negative operating cash flow of $277,000 for the first three months of 2009.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20100528-904293.html

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  6. juniorprof Says:

    Seeing that you bloggers are the only value Seed has at the moment I would say that the parties getting screwed are all of you. Was all that 14 Million CAN sunk into the magazine? Hard to imagine it was spent on the blogging enterprise based on all of your complaints… The Watson thing is a nice touch, BTW. I can only imagine how much you enjoyed that. I think one of your Watson posts was the first time I ever commented on your site. That seems like ages ago.

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  7. drugmonkey Says:

    well, to be honest it was a pretty much straight up deal. we did the content, they paid the payscale (for the most part and up until recently). just because they implode doesn’t mean the bloggers got screwed. until they fail to cough up the last payouts or something..

    all that other stuff is more or less our pipe dreaming that it would go on for longer and be more economically stable. management makes bad decisions and drives companies into the ground all over the place….

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  8. Neuro-conservative Says:

    If I am reading their most recent quarterly report correctly, their current assets (cash/cash equiv + short-term investments + accounts receivable) = $114,000CAN. That doesn’t seem too good; however, it appears to be up slightly from the previous Q. Since I am not an accountant, it is hard for me to fully understand exactly how this investment vehicle works, and I don’t think it is possible to directly infer the balance sheet of SMG per se from these reports.

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  9. RBH Says:

    The other thing the financials suggest is that Seed has been regularly drawing down its line of credit from its investors, including Innovium, which means it’s not at breakeven on an operating cashflow basis. It doesn’t appear to have been using the credit line for capital investments, but rather (reading between the lines) for operating capital.

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  10. Neuro-conservative Says:

    A commenter at Pharyngula makes the call:

    For the three months ended March 31, 2010, the Company recorded a negative operating cash flow, after changes in non-cash working capital items, of $215,000 compared to a negative operating cash flow of $277,000 for the first three months of 2009.

    From the link in msg #363 SC. This explains most of what is going on.
    Seed Media Group is bankrolled by Innovium, a small venture capital company whose main investment seems to be SMG.
    Operating cash flow first quarter 2010 was a loss of 215,000 USD (or maybe Canadian, Innovium is Canadian).
    This doesn’t say much directly about the cash flow of SMG itself as the actual financial connections between the two companies might be public information somewhere but isn’t known to me right now.
    But we can all tell from what is happening that likely Seed Media Group has negative cash flow or a positive burn rate.

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  11. Greg Laden Says:

    Well, my backup site, gregladen.com, has yielded measurable cash in adsense ads since I moved over there during the”strike.” At this rate, I’ll have 500 or so, even with the trickle of traffic that site is getting now, by the end of the week.

    (The above monetary units are US pennies.)

    But seriously, I suppose these are “the investors” of which Adam Bly speaks.

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  12. […] is indeed very strange, as Drugmonkey implies, to suddenly realize that we are being talked about in the strange world of corporation information […]

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  13. namnezia Says:

    My question is, how does a site like WordPress make money without any obvious ads or corporate sponsorship?

    Like

  14. bsci Says:

    This is just depressing. Innovium and their investors are the ones who really screwed up/got screwed. Looking at their 2009 Annual Report that’s linked by Neuro-conservative, they clearly note they went all-in on Seed Media. At the same time they create a picture flowchart of the company where all arrows point to the printed version Seed magazine, which had stopped printing mid-way through 2009.

    On their current website, they say Seed, SMG’s flagship magazine, is the foundation of the company’s publishing businesses and serves as a significant generator of content for the company’s asset library. (followed by something about scienceblogs)

    http://www.innovium.ca/invest_seedmedia.html

    To put the magazine front and center is either gross ignorance by Innovium or potentially fraudulent. Could major investors really not have realized that there was minimal income and minimal chance of income from the magazine that was part of their primary investment?

    Assuming Innovium was merely incompetent, the only way I see out of this is for them to force a major leadership change at SMG. (either new leaders or radically new structure/oversite). SMG and scienceblogs still have real value as brands. Putting essentially a new company under those brands might make it possible for them to recoup some of their investment.

    If the worst case happens, I suspect that Innovium will be looking how to get any income from this crash. Anyone have enough spare cash sitting around to buy a domain name that currently gets millions of unique hits per month?

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  15. bsci Says:

    Out of curiosity, have any sciblings contacted Innovium’s managment to make sure they have a clue what’s going on? As the real people losing money, they’re probably more interested in turning this around than anyone at SMG.

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  16. Reading this sentence from the report:

    “The risks are obvious: we have put all of our eggs in one basket, but Innovium’s increased ownership means that its Management has a heightened participation in Seed, providing value-added counsel and oversight.”

    It sounds like Innovium is aware of the situation and is “helping” to manage the company.

    Like

  17. drugmonkey Says:

    Yeah, Sandy, perhaps this was the reason the print magazine went digital-only

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  18. I’m sure you’re right DM. VC involvement might help explain the pepsi business, too.

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  19. […] illumination about Innovium as the VC firm behind Scienceblogs.com was certainly instructive. I doubt that it has any real impact on my decision making with respect […]

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