Well, it’s looking like I might have to create a new picture for the blog whenever I write about Boiler Room. One with money in it. In a rare piece of decent journalism – it only took new editor Whitney Wei some three months to get a decent story, after all – they’ve discovered the site has been gobbled up by ticketing outfit DICE.
This news is not exactly a surprise. Having looked up Boiler Room on Companies House previously, the company didn’t appear to be in good shape. And having then applied – and received – a bailout of £791,652 from Arts Council England – last year, the future looked glum. But Boiler Room’s misfortune is DICE’s pleasure. They’ve now bought the company for an as yet undisclosed sum.
One person who’ll be more than happy to welcome his new venture capitalist overlords will be Boiler Room’s founder Blaise Bellville. He will no doubt get a very large sum of money out of the deal – unlike the staff who were made redundant during the pandemic by his company.
And this is something which staff at Boiler Room understand well, if a source of mine is anything to go by. Of the atmosphere amongst staff at the company, he says “Things have been bad for a while and there’s a sense it’s not about to get much better. Many staff were let go last year, so the prospect of Blaise coining it in now makes us feel sick”.
It’s certainly not a bad outcome for Bellville, the posh public school boy from an aristocratic family who attended the prestigious Marlborough College – whose current boarding fees are a mere £38,955 per year. And this outcome does at least mean the company will continue to exist.
As for what will happen in the future, expect Boiler Room to increasingly offer ticketed entry to its events – both in-person and online. Companies backed up by venture capitalists typically do not invest in things they consider will lose them money, and this fits in with Dice’s current business model.
I understand the Boiler Room name is not under threat at this time. But the idea things will continue as before is absurd. Expect things to become clearer over the next few weeks as the new owners start sizing up the desks – and Mr Bellville literally sizes up his bank account…