bd-capital invests in SportPursuit
bd-capital, a pan-European, operationally-led private equity firm, has made an investment in SportPursuit, an online private sales club in the UK and Germany focused on active lifestyle and sports products.
This latest investment into SportPursuit follows the firm’s recent investments into Symprove, the gut health products business, and Ascenti, the UK’s leading provider of physical and mental wellbeing services. All three investments follow a consistent strategy of investing in companies where changing patterns of consumer behaviour and technology disruption are creating growth opportunities.
SportPursuit was founded in 2011 by a group of friends with a shared passion for activity and the outdoors. They recognised that technology and data were changing the way retailers and consumers interact; they realised that the traditional retail model was evolving, and that understanding better how people behave would allow them to offer members more of what they want and gain their loyalty.
They created a private member experience which offers a compelling assortment of products at the best price in the market. They deliver this by partnering with sports, outdoor and active lifestyle brands to create a differentiated and incremental route to market which helps the brands manage their stock and market to new customers in a brand enhancing way.
While the importance of staying active has always been significant, in recent years there has been a substantial structural shift in the way we all view our health and wellbeing, and the role daily exercise and activity plays in our lives.
The impact of Covid-19 and lockdowns on freedom and mobility has made many people all around the world realise how important getting outside can be for their physical and mental wellbeing. Through its exceptional value for money, SportPursuit offers more people access to quality sports, outdoor and active lifestyle products that allow them to live more active lives and make the most of their freedom.
Technology is also playing an ever-increasing role in consumer-facing industries, and at SportPursuit the role of data is central to its effectiveness. No longer do consumer-facing businesses need to guess what people are looking for; through their own proprietary technology, SportPursuit recognises behaviours in its customers and tailors its proposition to each individual’s preferences in a highly sophisticated way, leading to improved loyalty and lifetime value, and higher customer satisfaction.
bd-capital will be partnering with the existing founders and management team of SportPursuit, led by CEO Adam Pikett.
Pikett says: “We are excited to be partnering with bd-capital. They have a different approach to other investors. Their operational model is unique in the mid-market and their experienced team of operators who have run businesses can genuinely help us as we grow. Their international experience will also be incredibly helpful as we continue to expand our international reach. I am really excited to be working with Andy, Richard and the bd-capital team to unlock the full potential of SportPursuit together.”
Following the investment by bd-capital, the management team and founders will remain invested in the company. In addition to Adam Pikett leading the company as CEO, Graham Elton, Operating Partner at bd-capital, will join the team as Chairman.
Richard Baker, Managing Partner and co-Founder of bd-capital, and former CEO of Alliance Boots and Chairman of Virgin Active and Nectar, says: “The team at SportPursuit are exceptionally talented. Through their data-driven approach they understand their customers in a way that most consumer-facing businesses do not. Their combination of data, with compelling product and the best prices, means that they are ideally positioned to continue to disrupt the market and grow rapidly. We look forward to partnering with Adam and his team.”
Established in 2019 by Richard Baker, former FTSE CEO and Chairman, and Andy Dawson, former Advent International Investment Partner, bd-capital takes an operationally-led approach to its partnerships with businesses where changing patterns of consumer behaviour and technology disruption are creating growth opportunities. Since launching in 2019, the bd-capital team has grown to 18 people, 6 of whom are former CEOs with experience of growing mid-size businesses in the European market.
bd-capital worked closely with the existing shareholders – Draper Esprit, Scottish Equity Partners and Grafton – to agree the terms of the transaction, which has allowed them to fully exit their investments.
SportPursuit was advised by KPMG (corporate finance), Goodwin Procter (legal), and BDO (tax).
bd-capital executed the transaction in close partnership with advisory teams from PwC (financial), Weil, Gotshal & Manges (legal), Palladium Digital Group (technology and data security), Marsh (insurance), and Lockton Companies (W&I insurance).