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Investment Fund for Wales announces its first major deal

British Business Bank £130m Investment Fund for Wales makes £1.3m first equity investment in online adventure travel brand EverTrek

(l-r) - Bethan Bannister, Dave Carpenter, Andy Moore, Jen Hall, John Cordrey

The British Business Bank announces its first major equity deal from the £130m Investment Fund for Wales, with a £650,000 investment from the Equity Finance fund, managed by appointed fund managers Foresight Group (“Foresight”), into ‘hard adventure’ travel firm, EverTrek.

The deal includes co-funding of £650,000 which Foresight has provided using the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (“MEIF”); this is operated by British Business Bank and Foresight was appointed fund manager to MEIF in 2018.

The investment in EverTrek is the first deal announced on behalf of the Fund and comes just two months after its launch on November 23rd 2023.

The Investment Fund for Wales was launched in late November 2023 by the government-backed British Business Bank to boost the supply of early-stage finance to small and medium-sized businesses across Wales.

Caerphilly (and Hereford) based EverTrek is a growing online travel brand catering to the £1.7bn hard adventure segment of the £10.7bn UK adventure tourism market. Voted the UK’s number one trekking and walking company by the British Travel Awards, the company currently offers a range of high-altitude treks through external partners, with premium treks including Mt Everest in Nepal, Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and Machu Picchu in Peru.

As part of the investment package the EverTrek team will be supported by sector specialist, Gordon Mathie, who has been appointed as Chairman, as well as the wider Firebird Collective, an experience led travel sector specialist advisory group which will also provide further support. Gordon co-founded LoveTEFL, led the buyout of i-to-i from TUI in 2015 and orchestrated an MBO in 2020, followed by a successful exit of both ventures to Learn Direct in 2021.

This is EverTrek’s first investment round, and has already created five new skilled jobs, with the appointment of two marketing employees, an Operations Coordinator, Financial Controller and Finance Director, as well as the establishment of a small office in Hereford.

The investment will also be used to expand the selection of tour experiences across the globe, in Costa Rica, Patagonia, Iceland, Romania and Slovenia. In addition to the hard adventure sector, the firm will also be expanding its soft adventure experiences offering, in order to address more accessible tourism markets.

Based at WelshICE in Caerphilly, EverTrek was founded in 2017 by CEO Andy Moore following a trip to Nepal, and together with the EverTrek management team Dave Carpenter and Jen Hall, they have since established EverTrek as an emerging force in the adventure tourism market.

With the support of the new investment the trio are aiming to achieve a turnover of £2.5m in 2024 and increase customer numbers to 3,000 annually.

Andy Moore, founder and CEO of EverTrek:

“We’re hugely proud of what we’ve achieved so far over the last few years and are delighted to secure this investment from Investment Fund for Wales. It was clear from our very first conversations with Foresight that we were aligned in unlocking EverTrek’s full potential.

“We’re excited to start working with our new Chair, Gordon Mathie, and believe his sector expertise will be invaluable and will support us in achieving greater long-term success. EverTrek’s next steps look extremely positive and we look forward to providing further updates”.

Ken Cooper, Managing Director, Venture Solutions, at the British Business Bank, said:

“This investment in EverTrek marks a significant milestone for the Bank’s Investment Fund for Wales. The fund has been established to back innovative and ambitious companies like EverTrek so we are particularly pleased to see this investment, supporting their expansion plans, complete less than two months after the launch of the Fund. Growth businesses in Wales can now see that the Investment Fund for Wales is out of the blocks, and ready to invest.”

John Cordrey, Principal in the private equity team at Foresight, said:

“The opportunity to invest in EverTrek provides the Investment Fund for Wales with an exciting investment shortly after the fund launched. EverTrek is an exciting, high-growth, differentiated adventure brand with significant scope for expansion. We are very pleased to be supporting Andy and the EverTrek team who are driven, passionate and knowledgeable about the sector.”

Foresight has invested £650,000 in EverTrek through The Midlands Engine Investment Fund – East Midlands Equity Finance, which is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.