"Without that investment back in 2011 we would have missed out on a great opportunity."
Richard Farley, CEO and founder
Kidspace Adventures runs play centres and a day visitor attraction for children in and around the London area. It aims to create ‘best in class’ destinations for family outings where both the play equipment and food has the edge over competitors.
Before VCT investment, Kidspace had opened its Romford and Croydon play centres, which are indoor ‘soft play’ centres aimed mainly at younger children. However, it saw an opportunity to acquire a third site in Epsom, called Hobbledown, which could incorporate a play farm to blend indoor and outdoor space, and attract families with children up to the age of 12.
How VCTs helped
To buy and develop the Hobbledown site, capital was needed. Availability of bank funding was limited for the company, as both the site and concept were new and untested. The company decided to go with VCT financing as it gave the founders more flexibility and allowed them to retain control of the business. In 2011 and early 2012, Downing VCTs invested £5m in Kidspace, as well as providing invaluable practical advice.
Profits at Kidspace have comfortably more than doubled over the past two years, with the Hobbledown site exceeding budgeted profits from the outset. With continued VCT support, further expansion is planned for Hobbledown, while Kidspace is also planning to open more sites over the coming years.