Online martial arts retailer Kick Sport is now looking to create partnerships with martial arts clubs and associations on the back of a £250,000 venture capital investment.
Catapult Venture Managers has led a £250,000 funding round into Kick Sports, adding to the £850,000 it provided in July 2011.
Kick Sport, which is based in Peterborough and was founded in 2009 by Cameron Knowles, sells martial arts goods including its own labelled products.
It will be using the capital raised to launch a new subsidiary business, Umkiki, which will be charged with forging partnerships with martial arts clubs and associations.
The transaction represents the second time that Catapult Venture Managers, through Catapult Growth Fund, has backed Kick Sport. In July 2011, the firm provided £850,000 to develop Kick Sport’s UK and overseas markets.
James Rolfe, executive chairman at Kick Sport, comments, ‘We believe the Umkiki business model will be very attractive to out potential partners because they will be able to run their own web-shop linked to Umkiki, but customised to reflect their own site.
‘Sports clubs, instructors and associations will receive commission on all sales, without any of the associated problems and risks of running an e-tail business with money “tied-up” in stock, shipping and processing issues, as well as order processing and returns.’
The Catapult Growth Fund is a £30 million venture capital fund set up in 2007 to provide equity capital for expanding businesses.
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The fund’s investors include the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and local authority pension funds.
Ed Wass, investment director at Midlands-based Catapult Venture Managers, adds, ‘The original Kick Sport business model was that of a web retailer servicing the martial arts market and looking towards the online acquisition or retail end users to build up a loyal customer base. This side of the business is still growing both in the UK and internationally.
‘The Peterborough-based business is now ready for its next phase of expansion and has created a white labelled version of the Kick Sport website which will enable martial arts clubs and associations to benefit from sales made directly to their members.’