Augmentum Capital, the technology VC fund backed by RIT Capital, has led a 7.5 million Pound investment in online bathrooms retailer, Bathrooms.com.
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Online bathroom furniture and fixtures retailer takes Series B funding to target Pound 1.8bn UK bathroom market
Augmentum Capital, the technology VC fund backed by RIT Capital, has led a Pound 7.5 million investment in online bathrooms retailer, Bathrooms.com. Existing backer Dawn Capital also participated in this funding round. The Series B round will be used by the company to expand its share of the Pound 1.8 billion UK bathrooms market.
Bathrooms.com is an online, direct-to-consumer and trade retailer of bathroom products aiming to make significant inroads into the fragmented and underdeveloped UK bathrooms marketplace. Its innovative business model sees it collaborating with international designers and sourcing all of its own products from the Far East, enabling it to offer unique, high-end design at competitive prices whilst maintaining margins far beyond the industry standard.
The online marketplace for bathroom furniture and fixtures is currently worth in the region of Pound 148 million (AMA Research, 2009), but has significant potential for growth. Across the off- and online marketplaces, the industry is currently highly fragmented with the current leading player holding only 5% market share and much of the rest being divided between smaller local resellers and chains.
With its design ethos, product offering, competitive pricing and reputation for strong customer service, Bathrooms.com is aiming to capitalise on this fragmentation to build a dominant position in the market.
Bathrooms.com was founded in 2004 by CEO Ian Monk. Since then, the business has grown to more than 50 employees in the UK and China and has a turnover in excess of £5 million which it expects to double over the next 12 months.
Ian Monk, CEO of Bathrooms.com, said: "There's a huge opportunity in the online bathrooms space in the UK and beyond. Online currently represents around 6.5% of the market in the UK, but it's growing at a massive rate and has the potential to grab a significant share. Our direct sourcing model means that we can offer high-end design at a great price and when you combine that with the sort of great customer service that this market has been crying out for then we think you can see the potential.
"Augmentum Capital has a track record of backing disruptive businesses and that, combined with their entrepreneurial track record, was what appealed to us. They can see the potential for this business and we believe that they're the right team to support us in the next stage of our growth."
Tim Levene, Managing Partner, Augmentum Capital, said: "We exist to identify and back businesses that have the potential to disrupt inefficient marketplaces, and we see the online bathrooms space as just that sort of opportunity. It's currently dominated by smaller players, low margins and poor customer service, but Bathrooms.com turns that model on its head. Its direct sourcing model, customer service offering and high design standards mean that it has the potential to grab significant market share in a short period of time.
"We're not only excited by the UK potential for this market. Whilst the UK is a Pound 1.8 billion opportunity, the picture globally is even more exciting - France and Germany are about the same size and the US alone represents a potential Pound 10 billion market."
Chad Raube, a Partner at Dawn Capital, said: "Since our series A investment in 2010, Ian Monk and his team have done a great job in leveraging its margin and supply chain advantage to challenge for market leadership in the UK. The company's progress has been validated by the interest from investors in the Series B. We are delighted to welcome the team from Augmentum on board as fellow investors and look forward to helping Ian build bathrooms.com into one of the flagship ecommerce successes."
About Augmentum Capital
Augmentum Capital is a mid-stage VC fund targeting disruptive technology businesses. The fund is backed by RIT Capital Partners, an LSE listed investment trust with more than Pound 2 billion AUM in which Lord Rothschild and his family are significant investors.
Augmentum was founded in 2009 by Tim Levene and Richard Matthews. Augmentum's managing partner, Tim Levene, is a successful entrepreneur and was recently made a Young Global Leader for 2012 by the World Economic Forum. He was Commercial Director at Betfair and a founder of the juice chain Crussh. Richard Matthews was at flutter.com, Manzanita Capital and Benchmark capital.
Augmentum's investments include Borro.com, the online asset-backed lender, and BullionVault.com, the World's leading online bullion market
Founded in 2004 by entrepreneur Ian Monk, Bathrooms.com is a UK online retailer of bathroom fixtures and furniture selling direct to end consumers with a trade proposition launched in Q3 of 2011.
Bathrooms.com offers exclusive high-end lifestyle designs at affordable prices.
About Dawn Capital
Dawn Capital (www.dawncapital.co.uk) are institutional investors and experienced business builders that have previously collectively invested in over 100 companies and been involved in several high profile rapid growth technology businesses, such as Virgin Media, Forbes.com, Advertising.com, and Self Trade and latterly Mimecast and Wonga.com. Dawn Capital backs outstanding companies seeking expansion capital of up to £5M in the Financial Services and TMT sectors.