Imbiba closes £50m fund for high growth UK leisure and hospitality businesses

LLB Reporter

Source: Imbiba

With £30m contribution from British Business Bank

Imbiba, the specialist leisure and hospitality investment group, has closed the Imbiba Growth Fund at its hard cap target of £50m. With an investment of £30m provided by the British Business Bank, the Imbiba Growth Fund will provide growth capital and operational support to young and dynamic UK leisure businesses seeking to scale.

The £30m contribution comes from the British Business Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF) programme, which combines private and public money to make equity investments in high growth businesses. Since inception, around £1.14bn (including third party investment) has been committed through the programme. The ECF programme is a significant part of the UK venture capital industry, with 27 funds facilitating finance to 421 SMEs.

John Connell, Chairman of Imbiba, commented: “We are pleased to have raised this new fund, with investment from the British Business Bank alongside several of the UK’s most successful leisure entrepreneurs, to provide both capital and operational support to some of most exciting growth businesses in our sector. Having traded through different economic cycles over the last 20 years, we see some fantastic opportunities in the current leisure market and believe that an agile £50m fund will be key to help to drive the growth of some of the more dynamic businesses in our industry.”

Ken Cooper, Managing Director, Venture Solutions at the British Business Bank, said: “The expansion of our Enterprise Capital Funds programme is a central part of the Bank’s work to grow the UK’s patient capital market and ensure high growth smaller businesses can access the equity finance they need to realise their growth potential. We are delighted to have completed this investment into the Imbiba Growth Fund and to partner with the team at Imbiba, who have a history of success in supporting high growth UK companies.”

According to Deloitte, the UK leisure and hospitality market is estimated to be worth £117bn, accounting for 7.4 per cent of GDP. Eating out remains the most popular leisure activity in the UK and the percentage of disposable income given over to the category by UK consumers continues to increase - consumers aged 18-34 years-old being the most optimistic in this category, with intentions to spend more. Frequency of spend has also dramatically grown over the last 15 years, creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Founded by former leisure entrepreneurs, Imbiba has been investing in the UK leisure market for 20 years, supporting leisure and hospitality brands including Drake & Morgan, Darwin & Wallace, Temper and Purple Dragon, amongst many others.

At Autumn Budget 2017, the Government gave a vote of confidence to the British Business Bank’s ECF programme, committing a further £1bn over the next 10 years.

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