Swansea-based online retailer of children’s licensed clothing and accessories Character.com has secured a multi-million-pound equity investment to support its growth plans.
Investor BGF, formerly known as the Business Growth Found, has taken a 23% in the business. It represents its sixth investment into a Welsh firm and follows last week’s announcement of an investment of £14m, for a 31%, stake, into Carmarthenshire sash window manufacturer Victorian Sliders.
Founded in 2009 by husband-and-wife team Stephen and Karen Hewitt, Character.com has seen revenues grown from less than £10m four years ago to more over £50m to its last financial year to end of July.
Over the past 12 years, it has become one of the largest online retailers in its market with customers across Europe and North America.
Co-founder and managing director Mr Hewitt said: “We are delighted to agree a partnership with BGF. We have grown our business substantially since founding it in 2009, and it was hugely important to us that we found a partner which would support us to drive the next phase of growth whilst maintaining the culture and brand which we love.
” We have found this in BGF, and we are excited about realising our future plans for the business together.
“The retail environment is changing fas,t but there are some really exciting opportunities out there for us as a business. “
Edwin Davies led the deal for BGF alongside Hannah Waters and Alex Garfitt. Grant Thornton provided corporate finance advice to Character.com.
Mr Davies said “It’s a great time to work with an expanding and ambitious company like Character.com. We are delighted to be backing another great Welsh business and are looking forward to partnering with the team to support the long-term growth of the business. Steve and Karen are a really strong team with a clear plan for the future and we are excited to be part of their journey.”
Grant Thornton corporate finance director, Jamie Roberts added: “Character.com is a hugely impressive business which has grown at a stellar rate under Stephen and Karen’s direction. We are thrilled to have completed this deal for the shareholders and are excited to see the next phase of the business’ growth in partnership with BGF.”
As part of the investment by BFG Karen Hubbard joins the board of Character.com as non-executive chair.
Ms Hubbard has significant experience in retail through her career at The Card Factory, B&M and Asda and is currently Chair at Redu Group and BGF-backed Moteefe.
Her appointment is the result of an introduction from BGF’s Talent Network, which is the UK’s largest pool of non-executive directors.
Financial: Olly Garland.
Tax: Azets – Mark Palser, Richard Goddard.
Legal: Capital Law – Tom Kelleher, Laura Spendiff, Philip Barratt, Catherine Golledge, Chloe Walsh.
Corporate finance advisory: Grant Thornton – Jamie Roberts, Nick Jones, Anna Davies, Tor Johnson
Legal: Harrison Clark Rickerbys – Rich Wilkey, Rachael Reeves, Nick Lewin, Hannah Maidment.