It seems investors are flocking in their droves to pump millions into promising tech companies these days. It’s been just over a week since Funding Circle announced it had raised an eye-watering $150m and we’ve now been greeted with the news that our former cover star, Lopo Champalimaud, has secured a $46m investment for Wahanda, the hair and beauty marketplace he founded in 2008.
Wahanda raised the hefty sum from one of its current investors, Recruit Holdings, as it looks to expand its European market. The Japanese recruitment giant, following a nine-figure buy-out of other investors, now owns 80% of the company. It marks a highly successful exit for other investors as Recruit officially becomes Wahanda’s sole investor.
Wahanda has certainly gone from strength to strength since it launched seven years ago, enjoying 300% year-on-year growth. And it is expected to turn over a whopping £40m this year. With its sights set on conquering the European market, Wahanda recently bought rival booking websites in Germany and Austria, and the additional funding secured by Recruit will be used to accelerate Wahanda’s European position, with the company aiming to set up shop in eight countries by the end of June.
Champalimaud previously lent his talents to online booking giant, Lastminute.com, with Wahanda’s previous investors including Lastminute.com’s founder and entrepreneurial king, Brent Hoberman, who was among others bought out by Recruit in the nine-figure deal. However, Wahanda will hold onto some entrepreneurial backers including Klaus Nyengaard, the former CEO of Just Eat, who has been chairman since 2013, and who will now continue serving the company as co-chairman.
“Recruit invested in July 2014 and have been very active investors,” said Lopo Champalimaud. “We are extremely excited to continue growing the business with them. This is a great deal for everyone involved – employees and investors, and, most importantly, our customers and merchants.”
Sharing in the excitement of such a colossal investment, Kazumasa Watanabe, CEO of Recruit Holdings, was thrilled to expand on Recruit’s presence in Japan. “We recognised in Wahanda a world-class team and a company that had already established itself as the market leader in Europe,” he said. “We look forward to supporting them with the aim of becoming a global leader in the beauty industry.”
While we’d hope that Champalimaud and his team will now be kicking back with some well-deserved R&R, we expect they won’t settle until Europe – and the world – has well and truly caught the Wahanda bug.