Troubled online firm up for sale

Ascot Drummond, the online accountancy practice, has called in administrators after failing to secure second-round funding.

Backers refused to put up more money for the firm, which had amassed only 575 clients. Previously, it received £6.25m in funding following talks with Mercury Private Equity.

Ascot Drummond was the brainchild of chief executive Humphrey Drummond, who won the Venture Capital Report Prize for the concept in 1998. Drummond and co-founders Robert Wright and Ali Hakeem evolved a system where documents were scanned in Dundee and then sent to Pakistan. Employees in Lahore would then complete tasks such as bookkeeping and return documents via the web.

In the current dotcom climate, attracting buyers for the company could prove difficult. Administrators from Southampton-based Fanshawe Lofts were called in last week and will try to sell the company as a going concern.

‘We have had over 50 expressions of interest,’ said Anthony Fanshawe, partner at the firm.

Ten staff and a number of directors, including Drummond, have been made redundant so far.

– Ascot Drummond’s website is at

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