From blue jeans to an internet start-up company, Shami Ahmed has travelled a long way from humble beginnings working on a market stall. Owner of the famous Joe Bloggs Jeans, he is turning his hand to the internet and is about to launch Legendary Investments, an ‘incubator’ fund dedicated to investing in internet ventures. Around 80% of the stock in Legendary will be controlled by just three people. Ahmed himself will hold 50%, with Michael Fry, a former director at Thorn EMI, among the company’s other non-executives. As yet, Legendary has not appointed a finance director. A spokesman for the company said Legendary would wait until it ‘was big enough to warrant the appointment of an FD’. Whenever that time comes, he or she will have their work cut out. With a share issue on 2 March such a project has its concerns. For one, there is extra national insurance on employee share gains to contend with as online auction house QXL can testify after recently being presented with a £15m bill. Ahmed has been quoted as saying he wants Legendary to be a ‘strategic partner not just an investor’ in e-business. Hoping to raise £3m from the shares, Ahmed could be that, but he will run the same risks as all investors in dot.com start-ups. With some outfits facing immensely high investment costs, substantial losses so far and no sign of profits for years to come, the scramble for dot.com shares may still be fierce but the risks involved may be high.
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