LONDON — SIMBA Sleep, the British mattress startup advertised by Gareth Bale, has raised £13.2 million issuing new shares, as tens of millions of pounds continue to pour into mattress businesses in the UK.
Filings with Companies House show SIMBA raised £11.4 million of new money at the start of June. It also issued £1.8 million worth of shares to settle a liability.
At the same time, a £9 million convertible loan secured in February from investors including fund manager Henderson and stockbroker Numis Securities was converted into equity in the business.
SIMBA’s cofounder James Cox confirmed to Business Insider that it had raised new money, saying it “makes up a small part of a much larger raise we will announce shortly.”
The money came from existing shareholders and one new investor, he said. SIMBA’s backers include Michel de Carvalho, whose wife is the sole heir to the Heineken family fortune, Richard Goldstein, whose family founded Superdrug, and advertising guru Sir John Hegarty, who also serves as SIMBA’s creative director.
SIMBA, founded in February 2016, manufactures hybrid memory foam mattresses and ships them in vacuum compressed boxes. The cheapest bed starts from £399 for a single and Real Madrid football star Gareth Bale advertises the brand’s products. Most sales come through its website but the company also has a partnership with upmarket department store John Lewis in the UK.
The new investment in SIMBA is part of a flood of capital into mattress startups — an unlikely retail niche that has become one of the hottest areas of investment in recent months.
Earlier this year UK-based Eve, which also manufactures its own mattresses and sells them online, raised £35 million listing on London’s AIM stock exchange. Leesa, a Manchester-based online mattress retailer, raised £17.6 million in a private funding round last week.
SIMBA’s £11.4 million in new money comes on top of a £2 million interest-free, unsecured loan from investors in May as the startup chases ambitious growth targets. An investor deck prepared at the start of the year and seen by Business Insider promised revenue growth of 460% this year.
Eve, Leesa, and SIMBA have been inspired by US startup Casper, which has reportedly been valued at over $US1 billion and counts the Hollywood stars such as Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio among its investors. SIMBA says in its pitch to investors that it “aims to emulate the success of Casper.com.”
Cox said in an emailed statement to Business Insider:
“SIMBA is now Europe’s market leader by 50% ahead of competitors, still with by far the lowest return rate in the industry, and we are working with existing investors to expand our successful hybrid retail and direct to consumer sales model on a global scale.
“To support this growth, we have an interim injection of £13.2 million, from existing shareholders and one external investor — as well as converting the £9m of convertible loan notes. For clarity, this raise makes up a small part of a much larger raise we will announce shortly.
“By September this year, we will have a presence in over 20 countries with circa 1,750 retail outlets agreed globally, the retail part of our business only accounts for 15% of our revenues, with 85% through our own websites solidifying our position as a leading direct to consumer eCommerce player, and plan to roll out to over 30 countries in the next year as we focus on our longer-term strategy to continue to innovate the sleep category.”
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