Piton Capital and Beringea invest $10m into WatchFinder, the online luxury watch retailer.
LONDON 9th September 14 – Piton Capital, the specialist marketplace investor, and Beringea, the growth capital investor managing the ProVen Venture Capital Trusts, have invested $10 million (£6.18 million) into Watchfinder, the UK’s leading pre-owned watch resale marketplace. The investment, which was funded 50/50 by Piton and the ProVen VCTs, will be used to broaden the company’s inventory and offering of luxury timepieces, roll out a multi-media marketing campaign and further fund the watch servicing centre, as well as provide limited liquidity for existing shareholders.
Founded in 2002, Watchfinder is the leader in UK pre-owned luxury watches, having sold over £120 million in luxury brands such as Rolex, Cartier, Tag Heuer, Breitling, Omega, and Patek Philippe, as well as rare and vintage models. In addition to its extensive online marketplace, the company has opened a flagship boutique in the Royal Exchange, a luxury shopping centre located next door to the Bank of England.
Watchfinder also operates a certified servicing center in Maidstone where the company’s expert technicians use manufacturer-approved machinery to service timepieces. Every watch repair and refurbishment is followed by testing for accuracy, efficiency and water resistance, ensuring that each watch falls within the manufacturer’s specified tolerance before being returned to its owner or sold.
Stuart Hennell, Founder and CEO of Watchfinder, commented: “We at Watchfinder are very proud of the business we’ve created over the past decade, and the level of trust we’ve earned from our customers. After considering a number of strategic options for the future, we are delighted to be taking on investment from Beringea and Piton, with whom we have a shared vision for the future. Their combined expertise in ecommerce, retail, and international markets should be a great asset.”
Karen McCormick, partner and investment director for Beringea, commented: “Watchfinder has become the most trusted retailer for authentic, pre-owned luxury timepieces in the UK, and is uniquely able to offer manufacturer-quality servicing to back up their warranty.”
Greg Lockwood of Piton added: “Over the past 12 years, Watchfinder has really figured out how to make the secondary market for fine watches work, and this is reflected in their outstanding track record of growth and profitability. We’re excited to partner with this strong and well-respected company.”
Notes to Editors:
Since 2002, Watchfinder & Co. has provided a modern, prestigious service for people investing in fine watches. Watchfinder.co.uk is where WF&Co. finds its origins and is one of the most visited watch-related websites in the world with over 4.4 million unique visitors a year. The first bricks-and-mortar store was opened in 2013 and today accounts for 20% of sales, which total over £120 million since inception.
The company delivers the ultimate customer experience, providing consumers with a superior way to buy brands such as Rolex, Omega, Breitling, TAG Heuer, Longines and Cartier. Every watch received undergoes a strict and rigorous screening at the in-house service center, ensuring that each item meets the highest standard possible before sale. Due to this, each timepiece is given a twelve month warranty as a testament to its excellent working order.
Beringea is an international growth capital firm with offices in London and Michigan, which invests in high growth companies. Beringea’s London office manages a number of funds, including the ProVen VCTs. Beringea is a generalist investor with sector expertise in Media, Healthcare and Retail. Beringea’s previous investments have included Fjordnet, Monica Vinader, Glasses Direct (MyOptique) and Mergermarket. Beringea LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
About the ProVen VCTs
The ProVen VCTs (ProVen VCT, ProVen Growth & Income VCT and ProVen Planned Exit VCT) are funds raised under the government’s Venture Capital Trust scheme for supporting UK SMEs with equity investment. The original Ordinary share issues of ProVen VCT and ProVen Growth & Income VCT have generated higher Total Returns to investors than any other VCT share issues in their respective launch years (source: www.taxefficientreview.com, at 28 August 2014).
About Piton Capital
Piton Capital is a venture capital and growth equity firm based in London. It focuses on investments in online companies with network effects, such as marketplaces and exchanges. Its founding partners have deep entrepreneurial and investment experience, and have been instrumental investors in Betfair and QXL Ricardo, amongst others. Piton’s current portfolio consists of companies like BullionVault, DaWanda, Quandoo, docplanner, dutycalculator and FanDuel. For more information, please visit http://pitoncap.com.
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