Cambridge Satchel Company announces £12.6m Index Ventures investment

Startups Awards-winning company started in founder's kitchen with £600

Leading bag design company The Cambridge Satchel Company today announced the completion of a major £12.6m round of investment, set to fund international expansion for the fast-growing business.

Founded in 2007 by Julie Deane and her mother Freda Thomas with just £600 initial capital, The Cambridge Satchel company designs, makes and sells a range of handmade leather satchels.

The company, which won the Natwest Startups Business of the Year award in 2011, is best known for its unique range of brightly-coloured satchels, which have attracted worldwide renown and seen the company collaborate with the likes of Vivien Westwood.

The company now employs more than 100 people at its Leicestershire base and sells its products across more than 100 countries, stocked in stores including Harrods and Harvey Nichols in the UK and Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue in the USA.

The £12.6m investment will go towards consolidating The Cambridge Satchel Company’s strong US presence as well as expanding into potentially lucrative new markets including China, where founder Julie Deane accompanied the Prime Minister on his recent trade visit.

It will also be used to hire a new senior management team and improve the company’s website.

Index counts several other leading fashion brands on its fashion portfolio, including Moleskine, ASOS, Net-A-Porter and Nasty Gal.

Julie Deane, founder of  The Cambridge Satchel Company, said a number of investors had approached her but Index Ventures had the most to offer. Commenting on the investment, Deane said: “This is a huge story for us and for manufacturing in Leicester.

“We want to double production at the factory and are looking for people with great leather-working skills or to join us as apprentices.

“Digital is at the heart of everything we do, which is why we are so excited to be entering into this partnership with Index, who have no equals in the digital arena.

“Their work with inspirational companies like Moleskine, ASOS, Net-à-Porter and Nasty Gal shows why they are the best-placed investors by far to help us navigate this fast-moving and ever-changing space, as we take The Cambridge Satchel Company into new markets and expand our global digital presence.”

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