Most founders of growth stage companies spend at least a little of their time on weekends catching up on sleep. Not the founders of one of my favorite ecommerce sites in Europe. The founders at SportPursuit cycle from Paris to London, hike up Britain’s most challenging peaks and are generally seeking adventure in the outdoors. These adrenaline junkies, who used to advise some of Europe’s most iconic brands in their previous jobs, have also built one of Europe’s fastest growing ecommerce sites. Today I’m pleased to announced that we have led a £5m growth round into SportPursuit, which is the UK’s leading ecommerce site for sports-men and women.
The round was led by DFJ Esprit and saw participation from numerous UK based angels including Will Reeve (co-founder of LoveFilm - a former DFJ Esprit-backed company), Alex Saint (CEO of SecretEscapes) and Alex Chesterman (CEO of Zoopla) and Silicon Valley Bank.
Adam, Victoria, Rhys, Luke, Bryn, Steve and the whole SportPursuit team, which is currently based in Clapham, London, have driven the company’s momentous growth since we invested back in 2012. With nearly a million customers, hundreds of the world’s top sporting brands and customers from all over Europe and Australia, we are excited about this next phase of growth for the company.
We initially backed SportPursuit because like so many other retail verticals, the sport apparel and kit industry is so highly fragmented, both off-line and online, that we bought into the vision that they would create a one-stop shop for sports-men and women who were fanatical about buying the world’s best sport brands. It is possible to build very large ecommerce companies serving the European market which has more affluent shoppers online than the whole of the US market. Europe is just as large as the US population-wise and it is possible to serve other markets such as Australia (which SportPursuit launched last year and has had great early success).
When we invested, the company was only months into having a functional website, had just tens of thousands in revenue per month, but it already had an incredibly ‘sticky’ user base who kept coming back to access stock from some of the best brands across Europe that are either hard to find or not selling anywhere else in the UK. It’s been a fun journey working closely with the management team as they have grown the company from eight employees when we invested to around 50 today.
Here’s to another year of mega-growth and serving even more customer journeys in 2014 in the UK and beyond.