A children’s nursery franchise set up by the son of a millionaire Scots hotel magnate has been struck off the companies register five years after it raised over £100,000 through a crowdfunding website – without opening a single nursery.
Stakis Day Care, which was founded by Evros Stakis, son of late hotelier Sir Reo Stakis, who emigrated to Scotland from Cyprus at the age of 14, was struck off in May by Companies House – five years after the entrepreneur unveiled plans to open more than 80 nurseries around the UK.
It raised capital on website Crowdcube, where investors forked out £101,230 to get the business off the ground. But no nurseries were ever opened and the company has now been formally dissolved by Companies House, leaving the 46 investors who put money into the project out of pocket. The largest single investment made was £8,110.
Stakis, whose address is listed with Companies House as a property on the grounds of the Doubletree Hilton hotel in Dunblane, announced in 2013 that he would open a headquarters for his company – including a nursery for up to 100 children – in an undisclosed location in central Edinburgh.
On Crowdcube, investors can put money into a business after the entrepreneur behind it uploads a Dragons’ Den-style video pitch, images, and supporting documents.
A statement on Crowdcube’s website says: “If a business you invest in fails, neither the company – nor Crowdcube – will pay you back your investment.”
A notice of compulsory strike-off of the firm was posted to Companies House on 22 May. The Registrar of Companies at Companies House may remove the company from the register (striking off) if they have “reasonable grounds” to believe that no business is being carried on.
The last set of accounts for Stakis Day Care, which was incorporated in December 2012, were submitted to Companies House at the end of last year, however they were exempt from providing full information under section 477 of the Companies Act relating to small firms. All of the company’s other directors apart from Stakis resigned in 2013 and 2014, including Dr Graham Orpwood, emeritus professor at York University in Ontario, who Stakis claimed at the time of the company’s launch would provide early learning in science and technology.
As part of the Crowdcube pitch, the entrepreneurs claimed that the company would list on “one of the merging stock markets”, such as the Danish Investment Exchange “within three years”.
Stakis was uncontactable for comment. It is understood his Dunblane home, which was last sold in April 2014 for £700,000, has been empty for some time.
Along with his five siblings, Stakis was left out of his father’s multi-million pound inheritance after he said he had provided enough for them during his lifetime. Instead, Sir Reo Stakis, who died in 2001, left £50,000 to his former secretary, Frances Timoney. He also gave £100,000 to his brother, Christakis, and left the remainder of his estate to Lady Annitsa, his widow.
However, when their mother died in 2006, her will revealed that she wanted the remaining family wealth of £6.5m to be handed over to her children.
Stakis is listed as head of European development at Equinox Hotels.