An online door-to-door baggage service, which featured on Sunday’s TV entrepreneur show Dragons’ Den, has secured “significant funding” to invest in future growth.
Northern Ireland-based SendmyBag was rejected for funding requests by the panel of ‘dragons’ on the BBC show.
Despite this, Belfast-based Lough Shore Investments, which specialises in investing in high potential management teams from next generation start-ups, has provided the unspecified funding. Lough Shore founder and managing partner Danny Moore will be joining the board of SendmyBag as a non-executive director.
The new seed funding will allow the company to grow internationally and launch in new markets.
The growth is a reaction to consumer dissatisfaction with increased baggage handling charges when flying and frustration with the inconvenience of strict rules regarding hand luggage in terms of weight and size.
Founder Adam Ewart said: “SendmyBag has been growing steadily for the past few years as a service heavily adopted by students and their parents, as they travel to university and receive care packages from home.
“However, a much larger opportunity has presented itself as consumers respond to increased charges for airline baggage.
“I am now capitalising on the success of the business, reinvesting profits and using the funding from Lough Shore to make Sendmybag a compelling international proposition.”
He added: “Our aim is to put the joy back into travel, and remove the financial and psychological stress from the experience, whether we are dealing with leisure fliers, travel operators, business travellers or students.
“Although my appearance on Dragons’ Den was a real eye opener and a great experience, I feel better placed taking investment from a reputable firm such as Lough Shore that has the infrastructure, expertise and contacts to help grow my business into a global success.”
Moore said: “From the outset, we saw the tremendous potential in both Adam and SendmyBag – it is a potential the Dragons obviously missed and something I think they will soon come to regret.
“Adam is one of the finest young entrepreneurs I have ever had the pleasure to work with and will, I have no doubt, soon stand alongside some of Northern Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs.”
Moore added: “As an investment, Sendmybag is a fantastic opportunity in that it is an exceptionally disruptive service and technology that focuses on an ever-growing pain-point for travellers the world over.
“It can often be difficult to measure the market for any start-up but in this case the numbers speak for themselves – in the US alone last year the fees around excess and checked luggage topped the $3 billion mark and is expected to grow further this year.
“Add to that [Ryanair chief executive] Michael O’Leary’s plans to operate a ‘hand-luggage only’ service in the near future and the opportunity here is clear.”