Iglu secures £19 million private equity investment

Private equity firm Growth Capital Partners (GCP) has acquired a £19 million stake in ski and cruise specialist Iglu.com.

GCP has acquired the “significant minority stake” after buying out previous investors Matrix Private Equity Partners.

Iglu founder and chief executive Richard Downs said: “It has long been my ambition to take the Iglu brand into Europe and the partnership with GCP will help make this a reality.”

The Iglu team, headed by managing director Simone Clark, are staying and the day-to-day running of the company from its Wimbledon headquarters will continue unchanged.

Simon Jobson, a GCP partner who is joining the Iglu board, said: “Iglu.com has capitalized brilliantly on the huge increase in the popularity of online travel, especially in the ski and cruise sectors.

“Our strong expertise and flexible funding structure will give Iglu the support it needs to become a leader in the European travel market including the relatively underdeveloped online market in Germany. There is also potential for some of our capital to fund future acquisitions.”

GCP manages a £160 million fund across the industrial, manufacturing and leisure sectors. The firm provides funding to small and medium sized businesses, including confectionary manufacturer Tangerine, Chilworth Manor in Southampton and bingo operator Walker Leisure.

Iglu was founded by Downs in 1998 during the final year of his MBA at the London Business School, which funded the start-up through its investment arm Sussex Place Ventures.

After starting out as a ski specialist, the online retailer has expanded to offer products including cruise, villas, tropical packages and Lapland Christmas breaks.

Downs added: “GCP was an attractive choice for us when looking for a supportive partner with the capacity to fund future growth. They provided all the funding on the deal, saving a huge amount of time and enabling us to come to an agreement quickly and efficiently.”

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