Imbiba invests £70m to support the UK’s leading leisure , lifestyle and entertainment growth brands
Imbiba makes first investment from the new Fund into Little Houses Group, a collection of desirable nurseries and family members clubs
Imbiba, the UK’s leading leisure, lifestyle and entertainment investor in growth brands has announced the first close at c.£70m of its new £90m fund, and completed its first investment into Little Houses Group.
Led by significant investment from the British Business Bank through its Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF) programme, alongside other investors including Asahi UK, the new fund will provide growth capital to support the expansion of leading businesses from across the leisure, lifestyle and entertainment sector.
Darrel Connell, Managing Partner, Imbiba, said: “The significant investment we have secured for our new fund is a huge vote of confidence for Imbiba and the wider leisure, lifestyle and entertainment sector in the UK.
“With our experience and track record, this new fund puts us in a unique position to support more leading entrepreneurs and high growth businesses than ever before, during a period of significant market uncertainly and volatility.
“At a time when others are retreating from the sector we see this as the opportune time to support the brand heroes of tomorrow.
“We are incredibly grateful for the support of our investors who share our belief and passion for this great sector and recognise that times of turbulence brings exciting opportunity.”
Little Houses Group is the brainchild of Charlie Gardiner, founder of award-winning hospitality business, Incipio Group.
The first venue, Kensal House Nursery and Jaego’s House, which launched in Kensal Rise earlier this year, features a nursery, creche, kids’ club, jungle gym and soft play, kids’ cinema and snug, as well as a waterside cafe & restaurant, gym and fitness classes, treatment rooms and co-workspace.
Commenting on the investment, Darrel Connell said, “Little Houses Group is the perfect example of the kind of business we’re looking to invest in; highly differentiated, best-in-class and scalable with a highly credible management team.
“We’re excited to work with Charlie and his team as the business expands in the years ahead.”
Charlie Gardiner, founder of Little Houses Group, added: “The dream for most parents is to find somewhere that they love visiting just as much as their children do, and Imbiba’s support will help us scale the business and make that dream a reality for more parents.
“We couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to create a long-term, sustainable partnership with such proven entrepreneurs and investors in the sector.”
As the only growth capital investor exclusively focused on the UK leisure, lifestyle and entertainment sector, Imbiba has developed and supported more companies in those sectors than any other UK investment firm.
The group’s current portfolio includes a wide range of award-winning companies, including Pizza Pilgrims, F1 Arcade, Vagabond Wine, Clays, Farmer J, House of Gods, Leisure TV Rights, The Dream Corporation, Wireless Social, Purple Dragon, Big Fang Collective, Monkey Puzzle Nurseries and NQ64.
Ken Cooper, Managing Director, Venture Solutions, British Business Bank, said:“The British Business Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds programme is key in helping to develop and maintain effective venture capital provision in the UK, lowering the barriers to entry for emerging fund managers and for those targeting under-served areas of the market.
“Following our support for Imbiba’s Growth Fund back in 2018, we are pleased to make a cornerstone commitment to Imbiba’s new Fund, supporting the expansion of leading businesses across the leisure, lifestyle and entertainment sectors.’’
Tim Clay, Managing Director, Asahi UK, said: “Our business is focused on developing high quality, super premium brands – including beer, cider and soft drinks – and helping to deliver exceptional hospitality experience which drives commercial value in the marketplace, and Imbiba shares our ambition to drive the evolution of the on-trade experience for consumers.
“The fund will directly support the on-trade sector during some unprecedented macro-economic changes, and operators will benefit in terms of funding, training, category and ranging support, staff retention programmes and much more.
“We are looking forward to developing a long-term vision in partnership with Imbiba, and enabling hospitality and leisure businesses to benefit from best practice sharing and forward-looking growth advice.”
About the British Business Bank
The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank.
Established in November 2014, its mission is to drive sustainable growth and prosperity across the UK and to enable the transition to a net zero economy, by improving access to finance for smaller businesses.
Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.
The British Business Bank’s core programmes support over £12.2bn of finance to more than 96,000 smaller businesses.