Here’s the summary of the story: he is a great guy to be around with, but not so great if you want to do business with.
The story starts when I met him while he was renovating for his latest F&B business venture, Cammistry at Ground Floor, PFCC, roughly 2.5 years ago. He was looking for additional space for his office and he bumped into me. We ended up signing a lease as at that time, I did have extra space that I could rent out.
The Cammistry concept was first-of-its-kind: entertainment cum fine dining experience to the diners. A Google Review said it much better than I could:
Cammistry is basically conceptualized using cams and projection technology which is a rather unique concept in Malaysia as most use LED. There are an estimated more than 10 projectors (or more) used to create an effect that emulates a live environment (Eg airport, skylines, dynamic abstracts, party scenes, etc) whilst you dine at the restaurant. Well that said, it’s not exactly awesome but effects do deliver different ambience which..if combined with the right music.. Will deliver an amazing effect.
This is something unheard of in Malaysia, and certainly very audacious and creative!
But what is even more audacious and creative is the funding concept of Cammistry. Instead of self-fund, Kent opted for crowdfunding . He did this by splitting a RM 1 million paid up company into 100 shares, each share worth RM 10K. So by just investing a relatively meager sum of RM 10K, you can already own a F&B business. Thinking of opening a fine dining restaurant but don’t have the necessary experience and capital? Just purchase a share of Cammistry, and you are a preferential shareholder of it!
As a preferential shareholder, one is entitled to get profits and to view the monthly PL statements. One is, however, not allowed to interfere with the operation of the company.
Kent was an excellent salesman, and I, for one, fell for his salesmanship. So I paid my RM 10K and became a preferential shareholder of the Cammistry, and I waited patiently for the restaurant to open on May 2019. I was really naive enough to believe that the RM 10K that I invested in him would pay dividend far greater than what I would normally get via stocks or bond.
I was waiting to receive the monthly PL statement of my first ever unconventional investment since the opening; I am still waiting.
So what did I do during this time? I did what a patient shareholder would do, namely email, text, or call him and his wife regularly to follow up. The silence I got was deafening. He just refused to reply to my messages.
And then, the rent stopped coming in, his company, Cammistry wasn’t even paying rent. Again, he didn’t take calls or emails. It was as if my complaint fell on deaf ears.
Maybe his business wasn’t really doing fine? But still, this is simply not the right way to treat your preferential shareholder! Aghast, I wanted to quit the preferential shareholder board, and I demanded my money back. Not really because the company wasn’t making any money– I had no way of knowing that, but because the Cammistry management didn’t even fulfill its most basic obligation to us, the preferential shareholder.
So I talked to Kent and his wife in February, and they promised to refund. But the promise didn’t come too easily, I had to make many calls in order to secure that.
Half a year past, and there was still no progress on this front. Again, there was no response to my calls and messages. It seems that I was being played out again, and they were willing to default on their promise.
So if you ever think of doing business with Kent, my suggestion to you is, don’t. Just run!