British apparel brand Le Col has raised £2.35m from Puma Private Equity to fuel further growth, with the opportunity to increase investment to £3.5m.
Part of Puma Investments, UK-based Puma Private Equity delivers funding to SMEs in all sectors around the country and has completed £15m of investment this year, including in NRG Gym, Sunlight Education Nucleus, Somerton and Capital Karts.
Headquartered in London, Le Col manufactures all its own kit in its own factory in Treviso, Italy. It raised £1m from crowdfunding in 2017, which has been used to grow overall revenues which are set to treble this year.
Le Col was founded by ex-pro cyclist Yanto Barker in 2011. It hired ex-Sky Marketing Director Simon Creasey last year and has increased its focus on marketing and e-commerce – this year alone, e-commerce sales have increased seven-fold year-on-year.
Yanto Barker, Le Col Founder, commented: "We are delighted to welcome Puma Private Equity on board; their support will be key in facilitating the next phase of Le Col's growth. The gains we've made in 2018 have been exceptional and this investment will be instrumental in taking our market leading product to a global cycling audience."
Tommy O'Sullivan, Managing Director at Puma Private Equity, who will join the Board of Le Col added: "Guided by Yanto's performance insight, design expertise and drive for perfection, Le Col is becoming the go-to brand for cyclists looking for the best kit. Our investment will support the team to leverage the explosive growth it has achieved over the last 12 months, ensuring Le Col continues on its exciting journey."
Chand Chudasama, Director at Price Bailey in the Strategic Corporate Finance team, said: "Le Col is a really special business for us; we have worked with the management team for two and a half years now. They are a really strong team focused on performance, their customers and an exceptional product range. Though there was strong interest in Le Col from a variety of investors, once Puma demonstrated their understanding of what drives value in this sector and then matched this with a really pragmatic and commercial approach to doing a deal it was clear that they would be the perfect investment partner for the future. We're delighted to see Le Col now have the opportunity to go to the next level."
CI.N chatted to Simon Creasey about the sort of stores that Le Col wants to work with. "We are very much in the premium sector and currently represented in about 20 UK IBD's. We'd like to keep that level of quality in our partnerships and also expand internationally". The brand already has stockists in Australia, South Korea and Canada.
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