Diam Group refinances its debt

Ardian

Paris, 9 January 2018 – DIAM Group, the world leader in merchandising for luxury retail and cosmetics, today announced that it has refinanced its bank and bond debt that was arranged in September 2016 following the acquisition by Ardian, its management team and BNP Développement. Financing for the acquisition was provided by BNP Paribas, CIC, Société Générale, Banque Palatine and OFI ZenCap.

The newly-raised financing is structured around a bank debt with three tranches (Term Loan A, Term Loan B, Term Loan C) in addition to a capex line, an acquisition line and a revolving credit facility. Alongside its existing financing partners, the Group is delighted to welcome three new institutional lenders: Aviva, Allianz and Banque International à Luxembourg.

Michel Vaissaire, CEO of DIAM Group, said: “This accretive transaction for the management gives DIAM a strong financing structure to continue its growth. We have been investing heavily for several years, both at an organic level, adding two to three greenfields to our portfolio per year; and through acquisitions, three of which have taken place over the last two years. Strengthening our pool of financial partners in this high-growth environment is therefore key to reinforce our strategic agility.

With the continued support of the Ardian team, led by Arnaud Dufer, as well as the new banking pool, both supporting our strategy, we have all the elements in place to continue our development and provide our clients with the best service”.

Arnaud Dufer, Head of Expansion France at Ardian, added: “Since Ardian’s investment in the Group, DIAM has continued on its strong growth trajectory. We have supported DIAM’s management team and its CEO, Michel Vaissaire, in numerous initiatives, including the opening of new production sites in Europe, Asia and North America, and the acquisition of two companies, based in China and in France, which have provided DIAM with a portfolio of new and complementary activities. After only 15 months, the refinancing operation is a strong signal of the all the trust we all have in the company and its teams”.

 

ABOUT DIAM GROUP

With revenues exceeding €300m in 2017, DIAM is the world leader in merchandising solutions for the luxury retail and cosmetics segments. In the last few years, DIAM has grown through international expansion (with a presence in 25 countries) and by broadening its offer to provide better support to its clients. DIAM is a key player in the creative design, production and installation of merchandising solutions for cosmetics and luxury brands (Chanel, Clinique, Dior, Estée Lauder, Cartier, L’Oréal, Lancôme, Clarins, LVMH, Shiseido, Coty, P&G, etc.).

ABOUT ARDIAN

Ardian is a world-leading private investment house with assets of US$66bn managed or advised in Europe, North America and Asia. The company is majority-owned by its employees. It keeps entrepreneurship at its heart and focuses on delivering excellent investment performance to its global investor base.

Through its commitment to shared outcomes for all stakeholders, Ardian’s activities fuel individual, corporate and economic growth around the world.

Holding close its core values of excellence, loyalty and entrepreneurship, Ardian maintains a truly global network, with more than 480 employees working from twelve offices across Europe (Frankfurt, Jersey, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Milan, Paris and Zurich), North America (New York, San Francisco) and Asia (Beijing, Singapore). It manages funds on behalf of 640 clients through five pillars of investment expertise: Funds of Funds, Direct Funds, Infrastructure, Real Estate and Private Debt.

Follow Ardian on Twitter @Ardian

 

LIST OF PARTIES INVOLVED

Ardian: Arnaud Dufer, Alexis Lavaillote, Caroline Pihan
Legal, financing and tax advisor: DLA Piper (Xavier Norlain, Matthieu Lampel, Maud Manon)
Financial advisor: Grant Thornton (Gregory Volpi, Jonathan Happi)
BNPP: Florent Launay, Guenaelle Kerever
CIC: Jérôme Salmon, Camille Laurent
Société Générale: Olivier Amicel, Stéphanie Kordonian
Banque Palatine: Hervé Rinjonneau, Alexis Nef
OFI ZenCap: François Caulry, Hervé Goigoux-Becker
Aviva: André Goncalvez, Benoit Faguer
Allianz: Damien Guichard, Alexandra Tixier
BIL: Julien Ruggeri, Bounouar Sayoud

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AURELIUS subsidiary Conaxess Trade Norway acquires Galleberg AS

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Aurelius

  • Strategic add-on acquisition doubles revenues of Conaxess Trade Norway to more than 45 million euros
  • Increased market share and new distribution channels

Søborg (Denmark) / Skedsmokorset (Norway), January 8, 2018 – The Conaxess Trade Group, an exclusive distributor of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) to large-scale retail organizations in Europe, acquires Galleberg AS, one of Norway’s leading distributors of brands to grocery, convenience, horeca and health- / lifestyle shops. The company is headquartered in Skedsmokorset near Oslo, vendor of Galleberg is the Styrmoe family. This add-on acquisition nearly doubles the size of Conaxess Trade Group in Norway to more than 45 million euro in revenues per year and aims at increasing the market share in Norway by expanding its FMCG portfolio and exploring new distribution channels based on strong sales capabilities. Olaf J. Styrmoe, owner and Chairman of Galleberg will join the Board of Directors of the combined company and bring in his expertise regarding brand owners and customers. The financial terms of the deal are undisclosed.

Conaxess Trade employs around 500 employees across Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Austria and Germany and is operating as an exclusive distributor within FMCG reaching more than 130 million consumers, handling marketing, sales as well as physical distribution for many strong brands. Since 2016, Conaxess Trade is a subsidiary of AURELIUS Equity Opportunities SE & Co. KGaA (ISIN DE000A0JK2A8).

Nils Haase, Vice President of AURELIUS and responsible for the realignment of Conaxess Trade: “We are very pleased about Conaxess’ acquisition of Galleberg. The deal provides Conaxess with additional market expertise, and will strengthen its market position to offer even better services to our brand owners. Furthermore, we are confident that Conaxess will also benefit from synergy effects of this add-on acquisition.“

Olaf J. Styrmoe, owner and Chairman of Galleberg AS: „Conaxess’ acquisition of Galleberg is of course a turning point. It marks the end of 95 years of successful family business. Likewise, it is the beginning of a promising future that opens up new perspectives to our employees and continued growth for our brand owners.”

 

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Blokker Holding and Alteri Investors complete sale of Intertoys

Amsterdam, Mayfair (UK), December 4, 2017 – Blokker Holding and Alteri Investors finalised the latter’s acquisition today of Dutch toy retailer Intertoys (including all its Bart Smit and Toys XL stores), making Alteri the retailer’s new owner. The competition authorities have granted the required authorisation and the recommendation process by the Works Councils has been completed. No further details will be disclosed regarding the size of the transaction.

This transaction is in line with the strategic reorientation previously announced by Blokker Holding. Alteri Investors regards the acquisition of the Intertoys chain as a valuable addition to its portfolio and intends to use all its experience, knowhow and capital to further transform Intertoys into a customer-centric omnichannel retail business.

About Intertoys

Intertoys – founded in 1976 in Gouda – operates around 500 stores (including more than 100 franchise) across the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Luxemburg, with one or more webshops in each country. Intertoys has implemented several modernisation and restructuring activities. In 2015 Blokker Holding announced the integration of the Intertoys and Bart Smit head offices and the instalment of one single management team for both retail brands. In June 2016 Blokker Holding announced the full integration of Intertoys, Bart Smit and Toys XL into one single brand: ‘Intertoys’. The conversion of Bart Smit stores to the Intertoys brand has now been completed in the Netherlands with the exception of 13 stores in the Netherlands and the Bart Smit stores in Belgium. Toys XL stores will be converted to Intertoys before the end of the year. Ahead of this year’s peak season, Intertoys will also implement several innovating omnichannel propositions and improvements to its online platforms. The majority of stores are located in the Netherlands. Intertoys has more than 4,000 employees and recently introduced several pilot stores in the Netherlands.

About Blokker Holding

Blokker Holding is a retail company focussing on household goods and toys. Blokker Holding currently has five retail formulas (Blokker, Big Bazar, Xenos, Maxi Toys and Marskramer) with more than 1,370 stores in eight countries and circa 14,000 employees. On 16 May 2017, Blokker Holding announced its decision to focus entirely on the Blokker retail chain in the Netherlands and Belgium and to sell the company’s other retail companies Xenos, Leen Bakker, Intertoys, Maxi Toys and Big Bazar. Retail chain Marskramer will continue as a franchise format and wholesale organisation. In July 2017 Blokker Holding completed the sale of Leen Bakker to Gilde Equity Management. Nextail, the online organisation servicing all of Blokker Holding’s retail companies, continues to service Leen Bakker and Intertoys through service level agreements. More information: www.blokkerholding.nl.

Contact

Blokker Holding

media@blokkerholding.nl,
Sandra Maas

+ 31 (0)20 358 90 33

Alteri Investors

The Netherlands

SPJ Financiële & Corporate Communicatie,
Kees Jongsma, Wim Moerkerk
+ 31 (0)20 647 8181

UK

Maitland

Tom Eckersley
+44 (0)207 379 5151

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Moda Operandi secures $165 million in growth capital co-led by Adrian Cheng and Apax Digital

Apax Digital

New York, NY December 6, 2017 – Moda Operandi, the first online luxury retailer to provide consumers access to full collections straight from the runway, today announces the completion of $165 million in growth capital to fuel continued international growth and increased development across several key business verticals. The new round was co-led by Adrian Cheng (through his investment vehicles – C Ventures and K11 Investment), whose family businesses include Chow Tai Fook Jewellery, New World Development, Rosewood Hotel & Resorts and K11; and Apax Digital, a new growth capital fund advised by the global private equity firm Apax Partners. Existing investors include New Enterprise Associates, LVMH and Fidelity, among others.

This significant new round of funding confirms investors’ confidence in the continued global expansion of Moda Operandi’s unique business model, and will support the acceleration of its international business with particular focus in key markets including Asia and the Middle East. Since their last round of funding in 2014, the business has increased by more than 3.5x, with international markets now representing more than one-third of total demand as led by Asia and the Middle East. Expansion of Moda Operandi’s showroom concept and stylist program will aid in continued international growth as the high-touch client services complement the high-tech business approach.

Additionally, the new funds will be used for key categories expansion and the launch of new businesses. The funding will also accelerate improvements in mobile technology, advancements in customization, personalization, and internationalization. Lastly, the funding is to support Moda Operandi’s strategies across marketing, customer acquisition programs as well as further develop the existing brand portfolio and expand new brand relationships.

Speaking on the occasion of the announcement, Moda Operandi’s CEO, Deborah Nicodemus, said: “Moda Operandi is the only multi brand e-commerce site where the shopping experience is dedicated to elevating the brand’s digital presence. Our continued success demonstrates the strength of our business, and gives new and existing investors the confidence in our capacity to pursue tremendous global growth. We look forward to continuing the momentum behind the transformation of the online luxury experience for our global clients. Through the leadership of the Moda team, and the bench strength of our existing investors coupled with the new partnership of Adrian Cheng and Apax Digital, we are defining the future of luxury ecommerce.”

Dan O’Keefe, Managing Partner of the Apax Digital team, said: “We are delighted to partner with Moda to help accelerate this next phase of its growth. We have been so impressed with the power of Moda’s brand and its positioning in the luxury market. Our partnership further confirms our commitment to growth within the luxury digital arena. We believe our unique operating capabilities and global platform can help drive the business even further and accelerate its international presence.”

Adrian Cheng, Co-Founder of C Ventures and Founder of K11 Investment, said: “I am hugely excited about Moda Operandi as an investment prospect. Its business model is cutting edge, with a curated customer experience that has a lot of potential within C Ventures’ and K11 Investment’s networks of brands, which collides the worlds of fashion, creative media and art to service millennial consumer interests in the global market. I’m looking forward to seeing how the brand grows and taps into this big business opportunity.”

Launched in February 2011, Moda Operandi to date has raised over $132 million in funding ahead of this round.

About Moda Operandi
Moda Operandi is the only place to preorder looks straight from the unedited runway collections of the world’s top designers months before they are available anywhere else. But for those who just can’t wait, Moda Operandi’s Boutique offers an expertly curated selection of in-season items from both established and emerging designers, ready to ship now. In homage to the history of couture, Moda Operandi offers a bespoke shopping experience that includes unprecedented access to your favorite designers, hand selected recommendations from personal stylists, and access to haute couture. Moda Operandi has established a retail renaissance where the time-honored institution of luxury meets an innovative point of view on fashion. For more information visit www.modaoperandi.com.

About Adrian Cheng
Entrepreneur Adrian Cheng is the Founding Partner of C Ventures, a new investment fund focused on building a global ecosystem of Millennials and Gen Z-centred brands and platforms. Cheng also founded K11, a multi-faceted brand rooted in culture that pioneered the museum-retail concept. The Harvard Graduate is also the Executive Director of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, the world’s largest jeweller with over 2,400 shops worldwide. Cheng is the Creative Advisor of arts video channel Nowness and has recently forged a collaboration with tech giant Tencent to expand its co-working space concept outside of Mainland China.

About Apax Digital
Apax Digital is a $1 billion fund raised in 2017 focused on minority and buyout investments in high-growth enterprise technology and internet companies globally.  Advised by Apax Partners, a global private equity firm, Apax Digital’s investments are focused on subsectors where Apax Partners has expertise, including vertical software, data & analytics, tech-enabled services, marketplaces, digital media, and disruptive e-commerce. For further information about Apax Digital, please visit http://digital.apax.com.

Over its more than 35-year history, Apax Partners has raised and advised funds with aggregate commitments of $51 billion*. These funds provide long-term equity financing to build and strengthen world-class companies. For further information about Apax Partners, please visit http://apax.com.

* Funds raised since 1981, commitments converted from fund currency to USD at FX rates as at 30 September 2017.

Media Contacts 

Moda Operandi
Christine Kapp | + 1 646.627.7281 | Christine.Kapp@modaoperandi.com

Adrian Cheng / C Ventures / K11 Investment
Ellie Spicer | +44 (20) 3003 6487 | ellie.spicer@freuds.com
Hep Kwakye-Saka | +44 (20) 3003 6482 | hep.ksaka@freuds.com

Apax Partners / Apax Digital
Global Media: Andrew Kenny, Apax | +44 20 7 872 6371 | andrew.kenny@apax.com
USA Media: Todd Fogarty, Kekst | +1 212 521 4854 | todd.fogarty@kekst.com
UK Media: Matthew Goodman, Greenbrook | +44 20 7952 2000 | mgoodman@greenbrookpr.com

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LPCA Fund I has divested its shares in the Dutch retail chain Kijkshop

Listérus en Partners

LPCA Fund I has divested its shares in the Dutch retail chain Kijkshop

listérus & partners Capital Advisors acquired the Dutch retail chain Kijkshop B.V. during the first quarter of 2015. During 2016, the asset was internally transferred to LPCA Fund I.

Kijkshop is operating in a rapidly changing market and is undergoing a turnaround and digital transformation process. The work with the change has required significant efforts from the owner’s side – both on an operational level and financially – and will still require a dedicated engagement during the foreseeable future.

In order to enable for new investments in the fund and release management capacity for the development of the future portfolio, 100% of the shares held in Kijkshop and its sister companies Kijk IP BV, Kijk UP BV and TONE BV were divested to the Swedish investment company SparkistanStClemens AB during September 2017.

The Board of the fund made the assessment that SparkistanStClemens has all the required resources at its disposal to successfully manage and further develop the investment in Kijkshop.

In conjunction with the divestiture, Björn Serving resigned from his engagement for listérus & partners Capital Advisors and as an investment manager at LPCA Fund I. He is now engaged by SparkistanStClemens in their subsidiaries.

For any enquiries, please contact Christian Listérus, christian@listerus-capital.com, Tel: +46-8-5090 6660.

 

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NPM invests in Suitsupply’s growth

NPM Capital

Private equity firm NPM Capital has reached an agreement with Suitsupply regarding an investment in the company which will further accelerate the international expansion and online sales activities. Suitsupply currently operates 91 stores in 73 cities on 3 continents. More than 75% of sales are generated outside of the Netherlands, and almost 30% of sales occur online.

Suitsupply was founded in 1999 by Fokke de Jong, who still serves as CEO. De Jong started Suitsupply as a web-only store, and became an early adaptor to the omnichannel strategy when he opened a physical store in 2000. The company managed to score headline reviews with its groundbreaking concept of selling high quality semi-tailored suits at prices previously unheard of. The Wall Street Journal declared the quality to be similar to competitors which were selling at prices up to 6 times higher. In 17 years, the company has become a widely recognized brand in Europe, the US, and Asia. Suitsupply is active in the whole value chain; from design, sourcing, production, distribution to end-user sales, through a network of both physical stores and a webstore.

With the growth capital supplied by NPM Capital, Suitsupply will accelerate its growth even further. The company’s growth plan aims to open more stores worldwide, and renew a large part of the Dutch store portfolio. Suitsupply will expand its leading position in online sales through further investments in technology, aiming to strengthen the symbiotic relationship between sales in physical and online stores. Additionally, Suitsupply will invest in the recently launched women’s line, Suistudio. Suistudio has had a very promising start, and already has stores in Amsterdam, New York and Shanghai, in addition to a webstore.

NPM Capital sees Suitsupply as a promising company, which can grow even faster than it has been growing. Bart Coopmans, managing director at NPM Capital: “Suitsupply is one of the diamonds of Dutch entrepreneurship. Through its unique business model and disruptive approach, the company has realized an incredible expansion in recent years. The model has been proven in various geographies and is very scalable. Through its strong position in the value chain, the well-developed omnichannel sales proposition, and focus on the US and Asia, we see significant potential for further growth. We believe that our profile fits well with a company such as Suitsupply, and we are excited to provide Suitsupply with the growth capital it needs to realize its full potential”.

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AURELIUS subsidiary Office Depot Europe is investing 20 million euros in E-commerce expansion

Aurelius

Munich/Venlo, November 2017 – Expansion of its E-commerce offerings is a core strategic direction for the realignment of Office Depot Europe, a group company of AURELIUS Equity Opportunities (ISIN DE000A0JK2A8). To this end, the company is investing 20 million euros in updating and expanding its internet presence based on the SAP Hybris E-commerce module until the end of 2018. The investment centers on improved customer flow on the websites, new functionalities, responsive design for automatic adaptation to different devices, and scalability across the individual Office Depot companies. In addition to web technology, the company is also investing in expanding its linkages to retail partners and extending the functions of its order management and tracking. Customer satisfaction and conversions are moving in a promising direction, and should be improved further on.

E-commerce and self-service are more and more important for B2B customers, as is the online marketplace. With this major investment, Office Depot is addressing this development. In addition to the company’s proven product and service offerings, Office Depot is opening up new revenue potential with simple, fast, intuitive and service-oriented processing on its new websites. Through this move, Office Depot is bringing its internet activities into the center of its customer communication. The strategy is flanked by investments in further points of contact to customers (voice, print and key accounts).

The introduction of the new technology in the first test markets Germany, Austria, Ireland and the Netherlands has already shown positive results, as revenues from online sales and customer satisfaction have risen significantly. The rollout in other national companies and the ongoing further development of the technology will reinforce this positive trend in 2018 and have a major impact on the overall growth of Office Depot Europe.

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Musti ja Mirri acquires VetZoo – expands online platform

eqt

Pet specialty retailer Musti ja Mirri today announces the acquisition of VetZoo, Sweden’s leading online retailer of pet supplies. The add-on accelerates Musti ja Mirri’s multi-channel strategy and manifests its position as the leading pet specialty retailer in the Nordics.

EQT Mid Market acquired Musti ja Mirri in December 2014 with a mission to support its Nordic expansion and multi-channel platform development. Since then, Musti ja Mirri has had a strong organic growth into Norway, and into Sweden through the franchise acquisition of the pet stores Arken Zoo and Djurmagazinet, Trimmis grooming salons and the veterinary chain Vettris.

Today, Musti ja Mirri operates a network of 250 pet specialty stores in Finland, Sweden and Norway – offering a wide range of pet supplies, accessories, foods and adjacent pet related services.

VetZoo, founded in 2010, is a leading pure-play online retail platform for pet supplies with operations in Sweden and Norway with sales exceeding EUR 13 million and an annual growth rate close to 100%. The acquisition of VetZoo will further strengthen Musti ja Mirri’s online offering and is yet another step in EQT Mid Market’s strategy in creating the leading pan-Nordic pet specialty retail group across channels.

“We have known VetZoo for years and are impressed by what the founder Lars Martin and the team have developed in a relatively short time frame. The company will complement Musti ja Mirri’s existing business and is a great addition to the company’s focused multi-channel strategy. As a result of the acquisition, Musti ja Mirri’s total sales within e-commerce will double, from 7% to 14%, with the ambition to reach 20% in a few years”, says Johan Dettel, Partner and Investment Advisor to EQT Mid Market.

David Rönnberg, CEO at Musti ja Mirri comments: “With VetZoo, we will scale up our e-commerce offering which will be a natural complement to the 250 physical stores. Our clients want a full-service, single provider to accommodate the needs of their pets and with VetZoo, we will be able to respond to this demand. And not the least, the add-on strengthens Musti ja Mirri’s already leading position as the number one pet speciality retailer in the Nordics.”

VetZoo will continue to operate under its current brand. The management team will reinvest into the combined group, demonstrating their commitment to the strategic direction of VetZoo, now under Musti ja Mirri’s ownership.

”We are excited about joining forces with Musti ja Mirri and EQT and I look forward to continue the growth journey of VetZoo. We will now be in a broader context and work together in a very interesting market segment. VetZoo and Musti ja Mirri are a great match with our strong online development complemented with Musti ja Mirri’s extensive product knowledge and assortment”, says Lars Martin Norviit, founder and CEO of VetZoo.

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Kano Raises $28M in Series B, and Brings New Computer Kits to More Than 4,500 Retail Stores

Index Ventures

Today, DIY computer company Kano announced a mass North American rollout into more than 4,500 retail stores, stocking its creative computing kits in every Best Buy and Target, select Walmart stores, Microsoft Stores, Jet.com and The Source, as well as existing partners Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Indigo and Toys R Us. This expansion is fueled by $28M in new funding.

The Series B round was led by the Thames Trust and Breyer Capital, with Index Ventures, the Stanford Engineering Venture Fund, LocalGlobe, Marc Benioff, John Makinson, Collaborative Fund, Triple Point Capital, and Barclays participating.

At more than 1,000 stores, Kano’s full line of all-ages computer and coding kits – including the new Pixel Kit, Motion Sensor Kit, and Computer Kit Complete – will be presented on interactive displays, both on shelves and on end-cap fixtures, heading up the new STEM category.

Kano shipped the first “computer anyone can make” in September 2014, and is now expanding its retail presence more than four-fold. Its kits are deployed in more than 1000 education programs worldwide. Its community of beginner developers, in 86 countries, many as young as six, have shared over 150,000 apps in the last year alone. These beginners spend 13.5 hours, close to Snapchat, on the company’s Computer Kits during the first 30 days. Kano describes itself as a new kind of computer company, focused on creation, not just consumption.

“Kano has grown into a category leader, with hardware and software that prepares all ages for the future,” said Jim Breyer, Founder and CEO of Breyer Capital. “The financing, expansion into mass retail, and new products will expose the unique Kano experience to millions more.”

“The opportunity for Kano and other creative, educational platforms like Codecademy and Roblox is growing,” said Danny Rimer, General Partner at Index Ventures.

“We believe that the time has come for a new kind of computing, premised on people’s need to understand and shape the world around them – not just swipe, tap, and wait for the latest similar-looking screen,” said Alex Klein, Kano’s Co-founder and CEO. “The next generation is rising and ready to make their own technology.”

Kano is already collaborating with the Best Buy Foundation, bringing Computing Kits and workshops to schools and academies across North America as well as supporting the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s ConnectHome initiative, where it provides kits and digital literacy training to underserved communities. The company will also be participating in the Barnes & Noble Mini Maker Faire on November 11th and 12th. All ages will be able to make their first computer and test the range of Kano kits at hundreds of participating stores.

Kano kits combine device building (computers, sensors, light boards) and creative coding with a free online community, available to makers across the globe. The product lineup ranges from the free Kano App and the $29.99 Motion Sensor Kits, to the $249.99 Computer Kit Complete, a build-your-own laptop. Kano is the only end-to-end system in the ed-tech category, and demystifies computing for all ages through simple steps, physical building, and play.

The Computer Kit, starting at $149.99, is the original build-your-own-computer. It comes with all the bits and books you need to make a powerful PC, and a suite of onboard software challenges, that let you explore the terminal, Hack Minecraft, make music, and build apps, leveling up as you go.

The $29.99 Motion Sensor Kit opens up infrared technology and lets you learn to code apps, music, and games, controlled with hand gestures. The $79.99 Pixel Kit is a DIY light board that lets you draw & code animations, interactive apps and art. You can try Kano Code, the most playful learn-to-code platform, here, and explore community creations here.

“The Source is very excited to be featuring Kano products as part of its gifting line up this holiday season. Not only are they fun but also introduce new skills and learning opportunities,” said Ron Craig, Vice President, Marketing and Operations at The Source.

“Best Buy Canada is excited to partner with Kano in bringing their computer building kits for youth to our stores,” said Zayn Jaffer, Best Buy Canada’s Vice President of Emerging Business. “These products will help youth learn about the physical and software components of computers, while providing invaluable educational skills in coding and programming. These skills are important for future generations to learn early on.”

For videos, please check the Kano YouTube Channel. For other press materials, please click here.

About Kano

Inspired by a challenge from a 6-year-old, Kano creates computer and coding kits for all ages, all over the world. Its mission is to make technology as simple and fun to create as it is to consume. Kano launched the first computer anyone can make on Kickstarter in 2013 – it raised $1.5M, the largest ever ed-tech crowdfunding on the platform, with the backing of thousands of young people, artists, makers and teachers worldwide. It became the UK’s fastest growing tech startup in 2016 and Fast Company’s ninth most innovative company in consumer electronics in 2017.

Unlike other “kid tech” toys, Kano kits let beginners build real devices, and offer a range of learn-to-code environments. It takes makers from block based to real text coding, including Python, JavaScript and Unix commands, and into collaborative coding on the Kano World community platform. Over 200,000 applications and over 33 Million lines of code have been uploaded so far by creators of all ages.

The original build-and-code-your-own computer remains a crowd favorite, with 85% 5 star reviews on Amazon.com and a Net Promoter Score of 55. Kano also works with local communities to bring digital literacy to underserved areas in Africa, Asia, and North America.

The company has been boosted by the involvement and endorsements of customer Steve Wozniak, Pong inventor Al Alcorn, supermodel Karlie Kloss, athlete Novak Djokovic, artist Nile Rodgers, and British Prime Minister Theresa May. Its most recent product is the Computer Kit Complete, a powerful, educational build-your-own laptop for $249.

The London company was co-founded by Saul Klein, Yonatan Raz-Fridman and Alex Klein.

Kano is the recipient of the first ever Cannes Lion for Product Design, Gold; the Red Dot Product Design Award; the Edison Award in Gaming/Computing, Gold; the German Design Award, Gold; the International Design Society of America, Silver; the Webby Award and People’s Voice Award; The International Design Excellence Award, Silver; and D&AD (In Book Award).

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Project A invests in 3i portfolio company Lampenwelt

Project A

Berlin-based operational VC Project A teams up with private equity group 3i and invests in Europe’s leading online retailer of lighting fixtures

Berlin, 26 October 2017 – Berlin-based operational VC Project A today announces its agreement with London-based private equity group 3i to invest in Lampenwelt, Europe’s leading online retailer for lighting fixtures.

“With a very strong founder-led management team, significant profitable growth, and ample opportunities to further scale, Lampenwelt has the key ingredients we look for in private equity co-investment opportunities”, says Ben Fischer, Partner at Project A. “Our operational capabilities in scaling and improving digital businesses will help the company to reach its full potential and further strengthen its leading position in Europe.”

With the investment, Project A will contribute its operational capabilities and teams in areas such as digital marketing, business intelligence, product management, and IT.

“Project A’s operational capabilities make it a perfect fit for us, and we look forward to working closely with their team of experts to make our ambitious vision for Lampenwelt a reality,” says Thomas Rebmann, founder and CEO of Lampenwelt.

Lampenwelt started by selling lighting fixtures on eBay and quickly grew to become the European market leader. Today, the company has 300 employees and is present in all core European markets.

For Project A, Lampenwelt is the third private equity co-investment. In March 2016, the operational VC announced their investment in Kfzteile24, Germany’s market leader for car parts and accessories, joining global private equity group EQT. In November 2016, Project A announced the second private equity co-investment. Together with Bregal Unternehmerkapital, Project A invested in Onlineprinters, one of Europe’s leading online printing companies.

About Lampenwelt

Headquartered in Schlitz, Germany, Lampenwelt is Europe’s leading online-specialist for lamps and lights, with over 1.5 million customers. Founded in 2004, Lampenwelt employs around 300 staff and offers some 50,000 products to suit all styles and purposes. The goal of the e-Commerce pioneer is to offer every client their dream lighting solution. As well as quality own-brand products, Lampenwelt offers a wide range of lamps and lighting from top brands such as FLOS, Serienlighting, Luceplan, Tecnolumen or Swarovski. Online shops in 14 European countries form the basis of Lampenwelt’s success, underlined by over 100,000 positive customer evaluations on independent evaluation portals. Lampenwelt’s German store is available at www.lampenwelt.de.

About 3i Group

3i is an investment company with two complementary businesses, Private Equity and Infrastructure, specialising in core investment markets in Northern Europe and North America. 3i’s Private Equity team provides investment solutions for growing companies, backing entrepreneurs and management teams of mid-market companies with an EV typically between €100m – €500m. We back international growth plans, providing access to our network and expertise to accelerate the growth of companies across the consumer, industrials and business and technology services industries. For further information, please visit: www.3i.com.

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