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SpinVox: From Spinning to Death Spiraling?

The bad press continues for SpinVox. It's gone from allegations that the company's services were more hand-crafted than automated to questions about alleged widening financial losses and its burn rate of capital.

Last month, I had mentioned SpinVox, which has a service that turns voicemails into text messages. There was some negative press by the BBC, questioning whether the service was actually as automated as the company said, or if it largely done by people in outsourced call centers. And then someone spinning for SpinVox suggested that its own blog offered proof -- by assertion -- that the BBC piece was wrong. In part of its post, the company claimed that it "currently operates profitably" and that it would be cash-flow positive in 2009.

Maybe the definition of positive has changed since I majored in math years ago, or maybe there was a huge turnaround in the company's affairs, but The Sunday Timessays that it saw unaudited accounts for 2008, suggesting that losses increased by 30 percent over the previous year. The report also says that it had to :

Spinvox, whose service converts mobile phone voicemails into text messages, was forced to raise an emergency £15m from shareholders earlier this month, only 17 months after backers stumped up £50m.It also took out a £30m bridging loan from fund manager Tisbury, where Spinvox chairman John Botts is a director. The loan is due to be repaid in December, suggesting Spinvox may need to tap shareholders again in the next few months.
According to The Register, last month SpinVox offered to pay staff in stock. The company's answer?
SpinVox routinely offers its employees the opportunity to benefit from the success of the company through share ownership either through award of options as part of an employment package or at anniversaries, through save as you earn schemes and occasional offers. Our current offer has been taken up by over 50 per cent of the company.
Could it be that the employees took stock because they thought it might be the only thing they could get? If the reported facts are correct, SpinVox is spinning out of financial control.

Image via stock.xchng user Cheshire15, site standard license.

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