Despite investors losing their tax relief on this investment due to the speedy exit not reaching the illustrious EIS 3 year deadline, the company still managed to offer its investors a significant return on investment.
NPI Investment Director Alexander Sleigh chaired the informal discussion on this successful investment with founder Connie Nam and lead Investor Gary Clarke.
Astrid & Miyu started in the apartment of its founder and CEO, Connie Nam, in 2012. The speed at which the company has grown since then is impressive, at more than 200% year-on-year. This has been achieved by leveraging a multi-channel strategy, engaging through e-commerce, social and retail channels, whilst also working closely with select retailers such as Selfridges in London and Le Bon Marche in Paris. In less than two years, its team size has quadrupled and has consistently generated year on year growth.
To recognise Newable’s successful investment, Connie Nam was invited to give her thoughts on the success of Astrid & Miyu and how funds like Newable Ventures Limited can help bring through the next generation of exciting UK start-ups. Connie could not hide her excitement for what the future could present.
“Since Newable’s investment, we have really seen a range of growth areas in the business. We have hired a number of new staff who not only bring a range of new skills to the company, but perspective and expertise, enabling us to start penetrating markets in the United States and Germany, not forgetting Manchester and Birmingham. We have diversified our product offering within our range of jewellery, we have enhanced our customer relations, by not only selling high quality fashion products, but also a social network, where customers can come to our events and meet likeminded people who have bought Astrid & Miyu Jewellery. This has created a real community feel to our customer base!”
With the audience comprised of Newable investors, many of whom were the first investors into the Astrid & Miyu brand, possibly looking at investing into the next UK ecommerce start up, the conversation turned to the activity in the Venture Capital Market, and how other funds can leverage particular expertise in this sector. Gary Clarke, (formerly of BlackRock’s fund management team) and the lead investor in the Astrid and Miyu Series A round, noted,
“I think we will see the continued growth in the ecommerce sector, as consumerism is now firmly centred online. The successful companies of the future however will be able to combine their presence online, with a physical sales strategy involving stores and people. A pattern is emerging where you are seeing firm’s benefiting from a strong ecommerce presence allied to dynamic physical store presence”.
So what does the future hold for Connie and her team?
“We are seriously excited for the future to put it mildly. The growth we have seen in London makes us believe we can replicate similar growth in other Global cities such as New York. The additional funding will be used to propel us into the American Market, increase the depth of our team expertise, and broaden our product offering. As for advice for any future angels and funds? I would say an underrated quality is patience, something our new investors fully understood. The funding that they have provided us to lay solid foundations is a key reason for the growth we are experiencing today, so thank you!”