Ivan's no phantom millionaire

As the institutional investor behind Ivan Massow's Financial Services company I was amused to read Dominic Prince's article, "The case of the phantom millionaire" (13 December). It seemed to cast doubt over claims about Ivan's fortunes.

I recognise that it is difficult to assess privately listed companies, but Prince's analysis has several shortcomings. First, he fails to recognise that our original deal with Massow (purchasing 26 per cent for £1 million) was struck in early 1998 on 1997 figures, and much has changed. He has missed the fact that this summer another investor entered the share capital of the company at nearly double our valuation. In the past six months Ivan and his team have been working on an exciting Internet venture which alone could be worth £10 to £15 million as it is, thus the overall value of £17 to £22 million.

While I recognise valuing Internet start-ups is hardly a science, it is something we do at Catalyst, a venture capital firm, every day. I can assure you that the valuation on Massow's is conservative compared with other properties we have seen. As you know, brands have extraordinary value in the Internet space and the company is now very well known. Moreover, our valuation above was done in response to other major companies who are seeking to invest in Massow's.

In any event, Ivan is most certainly a millionaire, even by our original purchase price.

Rodney Schwartz
Chief executive, Catalyst
London WC2