The strange and unpleasant death of ThinkTank Mathematics Ltd

So ThinkTank Maths is in liquidation; a strange and unpleasant story. It is a horrible thing to spend years building something, to have put in long hours and good ideas, and to have it taken away. And with no good reason; it was certainly not a business decision - from a business point of view, the actions of my ex-colleagues were foolish and unnecessary. It is often the case that noone and everyone is to blame in such matters. In this case, this is not true. The blame lies with Angela Mathis, Samuel Halliday and, sadly, Hannu Rajaniemi, who was once a good friend. And there is documentation to support this.

I have resisted the temptation to attack my ex-colleagues. However I feel that some form of documentation is needed. In writing the account below, I have tried to keep the story dry, stick to the facts and avoid the urge to speculate or give opinions. I believe that everything on this page can be verified through the relevant documents (e.g. minutes or emails).

Background: ThinkTank Maths was set up as a mathematics / AI consultancy by myself, Hannu Rajaniemi and Sam Halliday in 2005. At that point Hannu and Sam were doing PhDs whilst I was working for a games company. It got going in earnest in 2006 when Sam and Hannu went full-time, and with Angela Mathis joining the team . I joined full-time in autumn 2006. Angela effectively became a full-time member of ThinkTank sometime in 2007. Initially we lived of a Smart award, BBC innovation labs and a few small contracts. In 2008 through hard work and some fortunate breaks, the company started to look much more promising. In particular, there was a line of work with Tesco Personal Finance that could become very profitable (with Sam as project lead), and a large (half-a-million) project with the SEAS DTC was agreed with myself as project lead.

The collapse of the team

ThinkTank's collapse was sudden, effectively happening in less than a week. And that basically was that. I attempted to open discussions, but these attempts were simply forwarded to the lawyer who restated that things were non-negotiable. From a small but successful company to a liquidating mess in one week.

The aftermath

Hannu Rajaniemi and Angela Mathis never gave any explanation for their actions.

Possible Instigating incidents

I thought only Angela had a problem with me, but perhaps my other colleagues were harbouring grudges. The incidents below are the possible sources of bad feeling that I can identify.

Friction with Angela Mathis

Friction with Sam Halliday

Friction with Hannu Rajaniemi

Hannu's behavoiur is the strangest and quite appalling. I was a close friend, or if not then he did not have any.


Perhaps it was success that made things turn nasty? Money has a way of affecting people's thinking.