Strategic options for 1st Mile and Houmøller Group – business models a strategies at 1st Mile

1st Mile is a consultancy specialized in raising capital and funding for innovation projects, particularly within the energy and sustainability industry. Clients vary from 2-person start-ups to company leading players such as Vestas, Grundfos, and GE. 1st Mile develops the innovation projects, sets up the optimal partnership and targets the business plan towards funding programs in Denmark and the EU. A typical project is 20 million DKK and 1st Mile typically secures half of that for the client, the rest secured by own funds or investors. The 1st Mile team is approx. 10 experts within business strategy, consulting, technologies and finance.

The owner of 1st Mile is Houmøller Group, a holding company who also holds 8 business angel investments made by the sole owner, Søren Houmøller, who is the early-stage investor in Denmark with most green innovation investments in the portfolio. Houmøller Group is selected by Vækstfonden as a leading business angel, who can offer a loan by Vækstfonden when investing equity. Thus, Søren Houmøller owns 1st Mile and stakes in 8 other companies through Houmøller Group.

Søren Houmøller has been approached a few times by companies who want to acquire 1st Mile in earn-out models. He is reluctant to pursue such a model, fearing that it will leave him with proceeds below the true value of the company but handing him a new set of undesirable obligations that take away the freedom he has today to lead and take the company in the best direction.

Therefore, the thesis project should investigate three strategic options.

  1. Sell 1st Mile. What are the models for such a sale and how could Houmøller Group be compensated? Which roles would Søren Houmøller have, and what would be the financial impacts?
  2. Build on the existing platform. Which business models are there for growing the 1st Mile business, what are the investments needed and what would be the financial impacts over time? As a potential element of this strategy, what are the options for building an investment vehicle as the next step for the business angel activities?
  3. Continue with the current setup. What is needed to run 1st Mile in a sustainable business model and what are the financial impacts over time?

The deliverable from the thesis project should be a report and a presentation describing and comparing the three strategic options.

Søren Houmøller will be available for discussions and coaching throughout the project period.

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