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BBC TV Apprentice faces legal challenge over business idea

By John Wood , 30-Aug-2012

TV Apprentice, Nick Holzherr, is facing a legal challenge over the company he set up after being ‘fired’ by Lord Sugar.

Nick Holzherr faces a legal challenge over his Whisk business idea

Nick Holzherr faces a legal challenge over his Whisk business idea

James McIntosh, who according to his website is a ‘world award winning cookery writer, home economist and demonstrator’, is challenging Holzherr’s use of the brand name Whisk, claiming he has been using it for the past nine years, according to local press reports.

Holzherr made it through to the final four out of the 16 contestants competing to become Lord Sugar’s business partner and win a £250,000 investment. But he was then ‘fired’ by Lord Sugar.

However, his proposal has won backing from a consortium of investors in a deal brokered by Midven – a venture capital company based in the West Midlands.

After securing £170,000 investment, he set up Whisk, which will be a free app that reads recipes online. It analyses the ingredients required and draws up a shopping list cross-referenced against online supermarkets.

£170,000 investment

McIntosh was not contactable today, but his website does have a button connecting to a site for Whisk Media. Its home page claims to provide ‘innovative solutions for food and domestic appliances’.

However the news page on the site has not been updated since January 2008 and the copyright claim at the bottom of the home page is dated 2010.

A spokesman for Holzherr’s Whisk operation said they were aware of a report of a legal challenge but said: “As it is potentially a legal situation it would be inappropriate to comment.

Legal situation

“We have known about this since we received an inquiry from a business publication here in the Midlands who had been contacted by Mr McIntosh. Other than that I cannot comment any further.”

He confirmed that work was progressing on bringing the Whisk concept to market adding: “The team is expanding and the app is about to go into beta testing. We will be inviting a panel to use the beta version from about September/October time.”

The consortium of investors backing Holzherr’s Whisk includes: Birmingham City Council; Nate Macleitch, chairman of cloud computing company Quickblox; Midland entrepreneur Doug Scott; C7 Medical founder Peter Dines and Guy Morris, who sold his digital marketing business Media Ingenuity in 2011, when it was valued at £4M.

Whisk is initially targeting three markets: technology geeks, foodies and mums.

It selects the best options for the user based on taste, price sensitivity and dietary needs and then creates a shopping list.

The app transfers the shopping list to the online supermarket on the user’s behalf, where he or she can arrange for delivery.

To read more about Holzherr business plans, click here .

 

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