Giggling Squid, the leading UK Thai restaurant group is to accelerate its growth, following a £6.4m investment from BGF.
Giggling Squid, which has 13 sites across the South of England, will use the BGF funds to add further locations to its portfolio of successful restaurants. BGF took a minority equity stake in the business. BGF has also introduced Simon Kossoff, Chairman and former CEO of Carluccio’s, to the company. Simon joined the board as non-executive Chairman and Jon Simon, Investor at BGF, has also joined the board.
Giggling Squid serves simple, fresh Thai cuisine at lunch and dinner and also offers takeaway services across its restaurants.
Headquartered in Guildford, the business is run by Andy and Pranee Laurillard. They opened the first Giggling Squid in Hove, followed by further restaurants in Brighton, Tunbridge Wells, Henley, Reigate and Stratford. Giggling Squid’s reputation and loyal customer base began to grow.
Over the past two years the pace of growth has accelerated, with three openings in 2014 and a further four so far this year, in Bristol, Salisbury, Billericay and Guildford. New restaurants in Bury St Edmunds, Berkhamsted, Warwick and Esher are due to open soon.
Andy and Pranee’s background in marketing and brand strategy has helped them to drive the success of the Giggling Squid brand. Pranee started her career as an advertising creative at international creative agency Lintas. Andy started his career in 1996 at Unilever, before a short spell at Coca Cola and subsequently five years as head of brand strategy and innovation at TUI Travel.
Giggling Squid’s expansion to date has been funded through cashflow alongside debt from Barclays. BGF’s £6.4m investment will provide further capital to accelerate the growth plan across the South and nationally. The business employs around 300 staff across its thirteen sites and is expected to generate revenue in excess of £12m this year. A further 1,000 jobs nationally are expected to be created as a result of the company’s expansion over the next 4 years.
BGF continued to back the UK’s innovative print sector when it invested £5.3m in Sussex-headquartered Pureprint Group in December 2014. BGF’s investment is supporting organic growth, further investment in its market-leading technology and providing the financial means for future acquisitions. BGF invested equity finance in Pureprint for a minority stake in the business.
Pureprint has experienced rapid growth in recent years, with revenue growing from £17m in 2009 to over £40m in the financial year ending December 2014. Based in Uckfield and founded in 1926 by the grandfather of current chief executive Mark Handford, the company provides lithographic and digital printing as well as packaging and outsourcing services, with a focus on quality, service and environmental sustainability. Its roster of over 300 clients includes many premium brands including Mulberry, Victoria Beckham, NetJets and Vertu, more than 50 FTSE 100 companies including Rolls Royce and BP, and charities including Fairtrade and Oxfam. Pureprint is also internationally renowned for producing fine art books and catalogues and clients include Gagosian Gallery and Sotheby’s in New York and London. The company currently employs 275 staff.
Pureprint was the first printer in the world to be awarded CarbonNeutral status in 2002 and sustainability is central to the company’s offering. The business has won a number of awards including the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development in 2003, 2008 and 2013.
Mark Handford and his sister Bridget Massey, HR director, remained as majority shareholders following BGF’s investment. Handford appointed Andy Nash, introduced by BGF, as non-executive chairman. Following an extensive career in FMCG marketing, Nash is also Chairman of Brand Addition and ICA Digital. Jon Simon, senior investment manager at BGF, joined the board as non-executive director.
Furniture Village, the largest independent furniture retailer in the UK, secured a £6m investment from the BGF in August 2014.
Furniture Village was established in 1989 by co-founder and CEO, Peter Harrison, with a simple philosophy: to offer truly excellent products, prices and service to all its customers. The company’s core product category is sofas, alongside cabinet furniture, beds and accessories. Marking its 25th anniversary of trading at the time of BGF’s investment and still independently owned, the business has 40 stores across the UK, employs 760 people and generates revenues of £200m per annum.
BGF’s funding is enabling Furniture Village to accelerate a roll-out expansion of new stores across the UK, as well as bolstering an ongoing investment in technology: to enhance the customer experience in-store and further develop the company’s e-commerce platform. BGF took a minority stake in the business and Jon Simon joined the board as BGF’s representative.
Furniture Village is uniquely positioned at the top end of the volume market and prides itself in being the largest retailer of leading brands in the sector, the majority of which are sourced from the UK. With its accent on quality and design it is well-placed to take advantage of improving economic and market conditions.
Peter Harrison, CEO of Furniture Village commented:
“Having achieved a significant improvement in trading performance in our last financial year ending March 2014, which has continued strongly into this current year, this is an ideal time for us to expand and further enhance our presence, both in terms of physical stores and online.
We are appreciative of BGF’s support and confidence, and beyond the many other potential benefits that will arise from our new and close association, this substantial investment will enable us to accelerate our plans and for Furniture Village to remain at the forefront of British retail in its sector.”
Jon Simon, Senior Investment Manager, BGF commented:
“This represents an exciting opportunity for BGF to back a well known British brand with a strong heritage and a track record of profitability. We are supporting a clear growth strategy based on selective store roll-out and investment in new software. This in turn, will improve the operational efficiencies of the business and increase the focus on e-commerce, all of which will add to the customer experience. Over 25 years Furniture Village has developed into one of the UK’s leading furniture retailers and we look forward to supporting the management team as the company embarks on this next phase of growth.”
Jonathan joined BGF before its launch in early 2011 to help establish the BGF investment process and strategy. He is now focused on the origination, appraisal and execution of new investment opportunities. He also represents BGF on the board of a number of portfolio companies. Jonathan has 10 years’ investment experience, having previously worked for Bank of Scotland and subsequently Lloyds Banking Group in the Joint Ventures team, where he undertook several asset-backed investments. Prior to that he worked in the equity management and corporate banking divisions within the bank.
Jonathan holds an MA in Economics and Finance from Leeds University Business School. He lives with his wife and two children in North London. As well as following his home town team United, he enjoys running, having occasionally completed the London marathon and triathlon.
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
Camino is a chain of Spanish tapas bar-restaurants reflecting the life and soul and tastes of Spain and offering modern, authentic Spanish cuisine. In December 2012, BGF took a minority stake in Camino and invested £3m of growth capital into the business.
Camino’s large restaurant sites are specifically designed to offer customers the dining and drinking culture of Spain, with an emphasis on shared food. It offers a high quality tapas menu, which is complemented by local Spanish wines and beers.
Since BGF’s investment, Camino has opened sites in Blackfriars and Bankside and a dedicated Cava bar called Copa de Cava. The business now has four sites including restaurants in King’s Cross and Monument. They have also hired an experienced Finance Director and worked to build brand awareness of Camino.
The business was founded in 2007 by Richard Bigg and Nigel Foster who have worked together since opening their first bar in Shoreditch in 1995. They have since gone on to open a series of successful bars across London and in Bristol, including: Cargo and Cantaloupe in Shoreditch; Market Place near Oxford Street; and the Big Chill chain of bars in Kings Cross, Brick Lane and Bristol. Camino’s Chairman, Mark Derry, is also a highly successful and experienced restaurateur in the dining sector, having previously built the 36-site Loch Fyne and 20-site Brasserie Blanc establishments.
Camino has won several awards, including Observer Food Monthly Best Bar in Britain 2008 and was shortlisted for the Best Emerging Concept category at the Retailers Awards, voted by industry peers. Bar Pepito, the UK’s first dedicated sherry bar and also owned by Camino, was named Time Out Best Bar in Britain in its first year.
Camino generates revenues of £8m and employs 150 people between its head office and restaurants.
Workshare acquires IdeaPlane
BGF portfolio company Workshare, a leading provider of secure enterprise collaboration applications, yesterday announced exciting news that it had acquired IdeaPlane, an enterprise social network built specifically for highly regulated industries.
The deal will provide Workshare customers with a complete collaboration and communication solution by integrating IdeaPlane’s easy-to-use, secure and compliant social networking features into Workshare’s collaboration platform.
According to a recent report by McKinsey & Company, adopting social technologies offers companies the potential to improve productivity of highly skilled workers by 20-25% – and save billions of dollars from time lost on inefficient communications and information searches.
Built in partnership with one of the world’s largest investment banks and launched earlier this year, IdeaPlane’s customizable social networking platform can be rapidly and securely deployed across regulated organizations. IdeaPlane will enhance the Workshare platform with robust social networking features, including status updates; the promotion of important events, news and content; email notifications and the creation of open, closed and secret groups. Enterprise administration features allow companies to comprehensively manage and moderate the network.
The acquisition comes two months after BGF invested £7.25 million of growth capital in SkyDox alongside Scottish Equity Partners, management and other employee shareholders in September 2012 as part of a £20 million investment round. The capital raised enabled SkyDox to acquire Workshare.
Anthony Foy, CEO of Workshare, said:
“Our combined platform will allow organizations to monitor, manage and closely control the social network being used within their organizations while facilitating collaboration and the exchange of information and ideas.”
James Fabricant, founder and CEO IdeaPlane commented:
“This acquisition makes strategic sense for us given both companies’ focus on customers for whom security, compliance and control are paramount. We have a shared vision for the application of social tools in the enterprise and we have platforms that can be integrated into one unified solution to realize that vision.”