Deal represents the largest investment in a venture-funded business in the UK this year
Edinburgh-based Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) has helped an online crafts business raise £26 million in its latest funding round.
The LoveCrafts deal, which was led by SEP, in conjunction with current investors Balderton and Highland Europe, represents the largest investment in a venture-funded business in the UK this year.
The investment follows a surge of industry recognition for LoveCrafts, a creator of online crafts communities with millions of users across 140 different countries, including being named one of the fastest growing UK and European companies by both the FT1000 and SundayTimes Tech Track 100, as well as its induction into Tech City’s prestigious Future Fifty programme.
LoveCrafts was founded in the UK in 2012 by three entrepreneurs, Cherry Freeman, Nigel Whiteoak and Edward Griffith, looking to build a community that would support and unite makers worldwide. The company has since enjoyed four years of strong and steady growth, and revenue reportedly continues to double year on year, supported by a 150-strong team.
The firm says its mix of content, commerce and community enables thousands of makers to find inspiration, plan projects, buy supplies and share creations with a fast-growing network of like-minded crafters. For independent designers, it’s a place to share inspiration and sell their designs.
It claims this unique combination of social network, video education, content marketplace and online store is proving increasingly popular with a burgeoning base of loyal makers across the world.
This new investment from current backers and SEP, which counts Skyscanner and Matchesfashion.com among its past and present investments, will allow LoveCrafts to further scale operations and improve the technology which enables users to connect through the platform, according to the firm.
It will include the launch of further crafting sites and a continued focus on expanding internationally to fulfil LoveCrafts’ ambition to be the digital leader in the global $100 billion crafts market.
Edward Griffith, Founder at LoveCrafts, said: “It’s always been our goal to connect makers, designers and creatives across the world in a social and accessible way, and this investment will help us to do this in more markets, with greater scale and better tools. We are delighted that SEP, together with our current backers, share our vision for the business, and confidence in its future.”
Stuart Paterson, Partner at Scottish Equity Partners (SEP), who joins the board of LoveCrafts, said: “Crafting is the world’s largest hobby. LoveCrafts has built an impressive, scale-able, digital community-based platform targeting an international market worth $100 billion per annum. It has a large and rapidly growing customer base in the UK and US, and our investment will enable further expansion across Europe and Australasia, reinforcing the company’s position as the end to end destination for crafting enthusiasts across the globe.”
Daniel Waterhouse, Partner at Balderton, said: “For crafters around the world LoveCrafts has become an essential destination: a community as well as a great market place. We are delighted to increase our investment in this innovative business which reinvents traditional crafts for a digital age.”
Laurence Garrett, Partner at Highland Europe, said: “LoveCrafts has demonstrated impressive growth over the last four years and we look forward to continuing our support for the dynamic company as it expands into new international markets and launches new crafts which will introduce a whole new group of committed users to the platform.”
Gerard Grech, CEO at Tech City UK, said: “LoveCrafts has made the most of the strong tech eco system and community in the capital to launch its business into markets around the world. We are proud that the UK’s biggest funding round this year has come out of the Future Fifty programme.”