New TLD applicant hoped to raise up to £100 million, targeted 40%+ annual returns.
In August a Florida man filed a lawsuit claiming he invested $123,000 into a business to run the .bim new top level domain that didn’t get off the ground.
The suit names Domain Venture Partners PCC Limited, which is an applicant for 60 top level domain names.
Domain Venture Partners’ (DVP) applications were all filed in conjunction with Famous Four Media but through various subsidiary names.
I just got a copy of a pitch deck for Domain Venture Partners — you can see it here (pdf).
The deck is undated, but the PDF metadata says it was created on September 18, 2011. It includes a quote from Peter Dengate Thrush from June 20, 2011 and refers to a private placement memorandum that would be issued in or around September 2011, so the document was certainly created between June and September 2011.
DVP planned to raise up to £100 to invest in 60 top level domain name applications, according to the pitch.
There are a number of interesting components to the pitch, but ultimately it shows the fluidity of new top level domain plays a year ago.
First, you’ll find few similarities between the approximately 60 domains DVP planned to apply for back then compared to what it actually applied for. For example, the pitch deck shows 11 city applications. DVP didn’t end up applying for any city names (which would have required city approval).
Second, the document cites a long running relationship with Verisign to serve as the backend partner. It also claims that Verisign will refer opportunities to DVP. This is in line with the allegations made by the would be applicant for .bim who filed the lawsuit. It makes sense; Famous Four Media CEO Geir Rasmussen sold the .name registry to VeriSign.
Yet by the time applications were submitted, DVP had switched backend partners to Neustar.
Here are more interesting aspects to the pitch:
* One of the TLDs mentioned is .bim, which is the subject of the lawsuit
* The company targeted a “conservative” annualized return of 40% through its five year life with the possibility of over 350% per annum.
* It claims a relationship with legal counsel Hogan Lovells, which it describes as “the only ICANN approved legal counsel”. This is curious as ICANN doesn’t approve legal counsel for new TLD applications. It also shows local Gibraltar counsel of Triay & Triay, which appears to have changed by the time applications were filed.