NPIF Maven Equity Finance supports Membr with its global expansion
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund was set up to help small and medium-sized businesses across the North West access the capital investment they need to realise their growth ambitions.
Since NPIF Maven Equity Finance invested in gym software firm, Membr, it has used the funding to develop its team and execute its growth strategy, successfully expanding its international reach and building a global sales pipeline predominately across Europe and the growing Asian Pacific markets.
Matthew Pass: Member is a gym software business that is effectively a database of customers that allows them to do all the booking, manage all the payments and also allows some of the collection of the data that uses how and when they go in the gym. It is a full service management tool for anybody who owns or operates a gym.
James Rosthorn: There's quite a lot that makes Membr a good business. First one being that it is an international business, it operates in twenty-three countries worldwide, within the UK, across the EU and in the Asian-Pacific region. For example, they are in the Philippines, Singapore and New Zealand but one big market that was presented is in Japan and there's a lot of growth potential in that sector. We own, probably about 20 percent of the market now.
MP: We always had a mix of debt and equity and I suppose every business is looking for that optimal mix of debt, which is great because it minimises dilution for shareholders, but it’s harder to come by because, as with lots of great businesses, we were loss making so people like to see that you can service your debt.
JR: We like to support businesses and portfolio businesses in numerous ways. We like to say that we are more than just financial investment, we have the expertise to support the businesses that are going through a high growth part of their business lifecycle but also because we have got 11 offices across the UK around regional hubs, we've got the ability to pull in our contacts or black book of network to bring in expertise to the business that needs it, so from that perspective, we've really supported Membr.
MP: It's very important to us as a North West business to have something with the NPIF title on it, that felt good. Valuation is always important, so they had to come up with a competitive valuation versus other funders we were talking to. Then, its all about the terms and conditions, you need to feel like you can work with these people. Part of the whole feel of NPIF, we talked to some other independent funds which would have been very decent partners, it seemed but NPIF has this pro-social bit to it as well, it just felt right and we very quickly got to a level where we were comfortable with Maven. There was another UK business we thought might have been suitable, we just felt the fit was better with Maven and everything seemed to be going very well and then, of course, COVID hit. All of our gyms across the world were shut, forcibly, but luckily for us, we worked together with them, and I think the funding was probably due to close around about June and then by September of 2020 instead, when we had proven that the gyms had reopened again and the business was robust enough, they came through with the financing.
JR: This investment into Membr, we've invested through the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and invested just short of £2 million into Membr and that has allowed the business to support its workforce. It has got about 50 employees now.
MP: Another independent fund who might have been having a few explosions in their portfolio might have just said thanks very much but it’s not going to happen so I think in hindsight, of course we're never going to know, but I'm glad we went with Maven as a partner.
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