Online watersports retailer Wetsuit Outlet, the trading brand for B2C Distribution, has secured £5m of growth capital from UK-based small-cap investor Mobeus Equity Partners.
A major exporter worldwide, Wetsuit Outlet sells technical clothing and equipment into over 160 countries offering premium brands such as Musto, Henri Lloyd, Gill, O’Neil, Red Paddle, Crewsaver, Billabong and GUL. The UK-based company was founded 13 years ago by Ian Homan and his partner Peter Thompson. Since inception the business has delivered consistent growth, with revenues rising at over 30% per annum for the last three years.
According to a group statement, the new investment will enable Wetsuit Outlet to increase its share of the global watersports market and to further expand into the US. It also facilitates a move into other niche markets such as equestrian and fields sports using the company’s highly efficient online platform and with support from several existing suppliers.
“This new investment enables us to expand, not only in our current market, but to open up new brands in other niche markets," says CEO Ian Homan. "Our existing platforms and expertise put us in a very strong position to do this, and with the support from Mobeus we are ready to move forward.”
In addition to the capital injection, a new management team has also been formed to take the company forward. Following Peter Thompson’s decision to step down from the business, Homan has put together a strong team to push forward the company’s expansion plans.
Fashion retailer Peter Davies, chairman of Mint Velvet, has taken on the role of non-executive chairman, with Paul Williams, ex-Time Inc, as managing director, Sally Bendelow, ex-Marks & Spencer and Next, as head of buying and merchandising, and Jeremey Kraft, highly experienced in ecommerce, as chief financial officer.
Bob Henry, who led the deal for Mobeus Equity Partners, also joins the board. “Wetsuit Outlet has been growing very quickly for many years and we see the opportunity to build a global business, specialising in the online retail of technical sports clothing and equipment, with the recruitment of some very capable, high-quality directors to supplement a demonstrably successful core management team,” he says.
Wetsuit Outlet marks Mobeus's seventh venture capital trust deal, and in total its tenth transaction, in the last 13 months. Mobeus Equity Partner is a leading small-cap investor which invests up to £15m in UK-based companies across all sectors.