WorldStores secures £8.5m backing from Advent and Balderton in second investment round

Press Release:

Fast-growing online home goods retailer WorldStores secures £8.5m backing from Advent and Balderton in second investment round.

June 17 2011 - London.  WorldStores, the leading online retailer of products for the home and garden, is pleased to announce that it has raised funds to support the next stage of its highly successful expansion in an investment round led by Advent Venture Partners (“Advent”).

Advent and existing investor Balderton Capital (“Balderton”) have provided funds of £8.5m. This will enable WorldStores to expand rapidly into sizable new categories, to develop further its market-leading delivery and service offering, and to become the leading consumer destination for home and garden products.

WorldStores, founded by Joe Murray and Richard Tucker, currently operates 77 specialist web stores including BedroomWorld.co.uk, GardenFurnitureWorld.co.uk and ShedsWorld.co.uk. The company’s websites seek to offer the widest range of goods in the market – online or offline - in their product category to maximise customer choice; WorldStores already sells around 175,000 different product lines. Most products are available for next-day delivery, and the company is rolling out improved delivery options across its range.

Despite the challenges faced by many High Street retailers, WorldStores’ exciting growth story continues unchecked. The company is on track to generate record sales this year - which will be a third successive year of substantial growth.

Mike Chalfen, general partner at Advent, will join the board of WorldStores, alongside Mark Evans, partner at Balderton Capital.

Mike Chalfen commented: “WorldStores is a great fit for our growth investment strategy and one of our focus areas - ecommerce.  The business is proven, distinctive, and growing fast.  The founding team is outstanding and we’ve already built an incredibly constructive relationship.  We are excited to be partnering with Joe and Richard to prepare the business for further scale.”

Richard Tucker, co-chief executive of WorldStores, said: “We are delighted that Advent Venture Partners has chosen to invest in WorldStores alongside our existing partners at Balderton Capital. Advent has a wealth of experience in developing successful e-commerce businesses, and we look forward to working with them alongside Balderton to capitalise on the many opportunities that we see for WorldStores and its proven business model.”

Joe Murray, co-chief executive, of WorldStores, said: “This investment allows us to realise our goal of developing WorldStores into a very substantial and profitable business via our winning combination of market-beating choice, great delivery and customer service, and good value for money. With the backing of Advent and Balderton, we are perfectly positioned to achieve our ambition to be the leading online brand for home and garden products.”

Ends

For further information, contact

Powerscourt (for WorldStores)      
Victoria Ward
victoria.ward@powerscourt-group.com
+ 44 20 7250 1446
+44 7809 526 834

Grayling (for Advent Venture Partners)     
Sophie Kriefman      
sophie.kriefman@grayling.com
+44 7723 304 866

About WorldStores
WorldStores is one of the fastest-growing e-tailers in the UK and has despatched more than 200,000 items in the past 12 months. It currently owns and operates 77 websites and has plans for many more. The full list of existing stores can be found at: www.worldstores.co.uk


With no limits on shelf space, WorldStores leverages its relationships with suppliers to offer an incredible level of customer choice. WorldStores aims to offer the widest possible selection of products, fantastic customer service and great value to our customers. Richard Tucker and Joe Murray, the founders and co-chief executives, have worked together since 1999 when they founded Atmyside, a successful customer service technology provider that was sold to Scandex Group in 2003.
www.worldstores.co.uk

About Advent Venture Partners
Advent Venture Partners is one of Europe's most successful growth and venture capital investors in market-leading tech and life sciences businesses.  Advent Venture Partners tech team invests in proven, highly differentiated businesses with exceptional capital efficient growth. We are committed partners, working as a team with the entrepreneurs we back to define and realise ambitious business goals. Our extensive network, market insights and collective experience of building value has proven repeatedly to be a competitive advantage to the companies we back.  Our successes in 2011 include Zong, sold to eBay, Dailymotion, sold to Orange and The Foundry sold to Carlyle. www.adventventures.com

About Balderton Capital
Balderton Capital is one of the leading venture capital firms in Europe. Based in London, Balderton manages $1.9 billion in committed venture capital, and has invested in more than 100 companies, principally in Europe but also in the US and Asia.  Balderton focuses on the technology sector; in addition to WorldStores, the fund’s investments include Big Fish Games (the global online games innovator),  The Hut Group (one of Europe’s fastest growing online retailers), , YOOX Group (the online retailer of leading fashion brands, listed in December 2009), bebo (acquired by AOL for $850m), Betfair (floated on the LSE in October 2010), LOVEFiLM (sold to Amazon in January 2010) and MySQL (acquired by Sun Microsystems for $1 billion). www.balderton.com

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