Blue Star Capital’s Sthaler announces new Board appointments

Post date Dec 2021

Blue Star Capital’s (BLU) portfolio firm, Sthaler Limited, has appointed Dermot F. Smurfit as Chairman of the Group and Archie Norman as a new advisor.

‘These are hugely experienced and respected individuals who will, I have no doubt, bring great value to the business. We are delighted that they have agreed to accept these roles in what remains an early stage, high growth company,’ the portfolio group told shareholders.

It said new Chairman, Dermot Smurfit, will bring with him to the role ‘a rich experience in how to look at and help shape a business, and to simplify and overcome the challenges ahead.’

On his appointment, Dermot commented: “Nick and the team have developed a fantastic product and have some excellent partners in place. Subject to continued support from current and future shareholders, as Chairman I will be supporting the expansion of the business and focus on revenue growth to deliver against the potential of this highly innovative technology”.

In addition, the Company told investors that its new advisor Archie Norman is ‘one of Britain’s leading businessmen with a long-term track record of business change and value creation.’

It said Norman, the current Chairman of Marks and Spencer, has served on the Boards of several companies to build strong management teams that now lead major British companies. 

Following his recent investment in Sthaler, Norman has now agreed to be a company adviser.

In an update to shreadholers, Sthaler said its category of digital Identity had seen rapid growth, fueled by the pandemic, to become a $210 billion market with a CAGR of 19%.

Sthaler said it is in a strong position and that it has maintained its exclusive right to Hitachi’s VeinID technology for payments and retail transactions. It said payments are the “connective tissue” of global commerce, and that major banks ‘are moving quickly to include biometric identity that will provide the cohesion and intelligence needed to optimise commerce.’

The Company has now signed a partnership agreement with Hong Kong based gaming market experts Dynamic Partners International (DPI) “who recognise the potential for the FinGo ID with age verification for gaming in casinos and related markets including lottery.”

It said DPI will take responsibility for selling FinGo to this global market from 1 January 2022. 

The Group acknowledged that more investment is needed to enable it to grow. Therefore, it is initiating an investment round to secure at least £4.5m at a pre-money valuation of £55m.

To date, the Company said it has already secured commitments for at least £2m of this funding round, including commitments from our new Chairman on the basis his investment is matched by new and existing shareholders. Following an extensive due diligence process bankers representing high net worth individuals have agreed to place up to £2.5m, it noted.

Addressing shareholders, Nick Dryden, Chairman & Chief Executive of Sthaler stated:
“In summary, whilst we all appreciate that this business has taken time to establish, shareholders may take comfort from the solid foundations that we are progressively building with international governments and financial institutions. The initial engagements are progressing well, and we anticipate each will lead to long term revenue opportunities.”

Blue Star Capital invested £50,000 in Sthaler in June 2015. To date, Sthaler has raised funds at significantly higher valuations and Blue’s 0.9% shareholding is Sthaler is now carried in the Company’s accounts at the most recent external valuation which values it at £350,000.