Surfing entrepreneur denies claims business is a wipe-out
A Gold Coast surfing entrepreneur says he's not about to throw in the towel as a group of rebel shareholders make waves with claims that his latest venture has been a wipe-out.
Nev Hyman, a veteran surfboard manufacturer whose business partners have included surfing superstar Kelly Slater, launched a company called NevHouse in 2013 to turn plastic waste into low-cost, cyclone-proof kit homes for developing nations, remote communities and the homeless.
The company, whose current backers include surf star Sally Fitzgibbons, won the 2017 Pitch@Palace, a global entrepreneurial award founded by since-disgraced royal Prince Andrew.
It built 15 houses in cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu and set up a division supplying granny flats to the public.
But a 'minority' group of disgruntled investors has launched a revolt, claiming that NevHouse is 'dead in the water'.
Their gripes include allegations of past financial mismanagement, shoddy corporate governance and a failure by the company to deliver after seven years and more than $8 million in shareholder investment.
NevHouse has also been rocked by board and executive movements and settled legal action with a former CEO.
Mr Hyman, however, claims he has majority shareholder support and is determined to realise his vision of a company that 'does good for humanity while providing returns for investors'.
He told The Courier-Mail that NevHouse had made some 'costly mistakes' after getting 'bad advice' from former executives, and said multimillion dollar deals to build homes in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu had fallen through.
But Mr Hyman said the company had learned its lessons, and a new management team had made sweeping changes.
He said he had not taken a wage for four years and the new CEO was working only for a 'success fee'.
Mr Hyman said NevHouse had redesigned its product to meet worldwide standards and planned to build 10 modular homes by June 30. It also had 'incredible opportunities' in the US.
He said he had worked 'damn hard' and 'the company would have failed many times if it wasn't for me'.
"I've been to hell and back but NevHouse is at a turning point and I will not give up," he said.
"We have a recognised global solution (for recycling plastic waste) that is unique, and the planet demands - because the world needs low-cost housing for developing nations and the homeless."
Originally published as Surfing entrepreneur denies claims business is a wipe-out