“The pitch seemed irresistible. Save humanity and the planet, and make a fortune in one fell swoop…"
You ever hear of the former shaper to the stars Nev Hyman? Maybe not. Short memories.
Nev is a pioneering surfboard shaper, first with Nev Surfboards, later with Firewire, who has caused a ruckus with his plan to make billions out of selling pre-fab houses to Third World countries.
In a lengthy investigation by the Australian Financial Review, Nev, sixty-two and who still wears a reddish afro, claimed that within five years his pre-fab company Nev House would be worth eleven billion-plus (US) and spitting out over a billion US in aftertax profits.
Seven-time world champ Layne Beachley and INXS guitarist husband Kirk Pengilly threw $US250k into the venture; Sally FItzgibbons and her dad and bros tossed in another five hundred k.
“The pitch seemed irresistible,” writes the AFR’s Carrie LaFrenz. “Save humanity and the planet, and make a fortune in one fell swoop… But after eight years and $8 million in multiple fund raisings, the promise of the sale of tens of thousands of homes by Nev House’s founder has evaporated. Now, a group of angry shareholders is demanding answers after raising serious questions about how the company is operated.”
Nev’s plan? Sell cheap flat-packed houses to Third World countries, Vanuatu, the Philippines, Indonesia and so on, at an enormous profit.
“Glossy pictures in the investor slide pack show poverty-stricken areas and Hyman posing in a slum with plastic rubbish bags. The group said it wanted to be present in more than 50 countries by 2025. Investors were being offered the opportunity to buy in at $US30 a share.”
“When asked about high salaries paid in the early days, he acknowledges that from time to time he drew wages based on advice from the CEO. “Perhaps the digital age of social media and internet companies making billions in a very short timeframe has skewed today’s investors thinking that anything they put money into will do the same,” he says.
On and on it goes.