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Isis Equity Partners invests in internet holiday firm

Isis Equity Partners has invested in On the Beach, an online retailer of beach holidays established by Simon Cooper in 2004 that provides consumers with a wide selection of flights and mor

Isis Equity Partners has invested in On the Beach, an online retailer of beach holidays established by Simon Cooper in 2004 that provides consumers with a wide selection of flights and more than 30,000 hotels from which to choose and build their own holiday online.

On the Beach says it is already experiencing significant levels of repeat business from its customer base and growing through word of mouth and recommendation as well as online marketing activities.

Working with Isis, On the Beach founder and chief executive Cooper has appointed John Donaldson and David Scowsill as non-executive directors and Geoff Wood as finance director. Isis and Cooper plan to develop the business through the addition of hotel and air content and expansion into new products.

The investment was led by Andy Gregory, Daniel Smith and James Titmuss of Isis. Smith and his colleague Adam Holloway will take seats on the board of On the Beach.

‘Simon Cooper has built On the Beach around the needs of its customers, putting them in control of all aspects of their beach holiday and providing them with the best tools to make their choices,’ Gregory says.

‘Consumers get exactly what they want at prices that they know are outstanding value for money. It is a compelling story and Isis is excited to be working with Simon to expand On the Beach in what is a very fast growing market.’

Smith adds: ‘The UK travel market has been going through significant structural change for a number of years. The penetration of the internet and then broadband, increasing number of holidays taken per annum and the success of low-cost airlines are just some of the contributing factors.

‘On the Beach is part of this transformation and its combination of choice, value and service whilst putting control in the hands of the consumer make it one of the most exciting companies in the sector.’

Cooper adds: ‘We have come a long way in the past three years, growing passenger volumes to more than 200,000 from a standing start. Now the time is right for the next phase of development. Isis was the clear choice for us. Its understanding of the sector enabled us to build a great relationship quickly. It has introduced us to exceptional industry contacts, two of whom we have already added to our board.’

Isis applies a research-led, sector-focused approach to investment in unquoted companies in the UK and across Europe with core areas in business services, financial services, consumer markets, healthcare and education, media and IT.

Isis makes investments typically ranging between GBP2m and GBP30m in companies with profits in excess of GBP1m on behalf of both institutional clients and retail investors, for example through Baronsmead venture capital trusts and. Isis had funds under management of GBP704m at the end of June.

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