Flight Club, the London-based birthplace of Social Darts, has secured £5m in Growth Capital funding from Santander Business Banking to help it open additional venues in London and the UK. Flight Club has two sites in London and one in Manchester. Its third site in London, supported with the funding from Santander, is due to open in Victoria on 30 November, complementing ones in Shoreditch and Bloomsbury.
Established in November 2015, Flight Club is the world’s first Social Darts concept. By developing patented technology which enables automated scoring, the business has revolutionised the traditional game of darts and housed it in spectacular venues. The new Victoria venue will be located at Unit 8, Sir Simon Milton Square SW1E 5DJ next to the Victoria Palace Theatre.
With strong momentum in the market and demand for its services at record highs, the management team at Flight Club is eager to get as many people playing Social Darts as possible; looking to add to their portfolio in London but also in key cities across the UK. The business has seen staff numbers rise to over 200 to accommodate this impressive growth.
Launched in 2011, Santander’s £20m Growth Capital Fund is unique in the UK commercial banking sector and addresses the gap that exists in the funding landscape between traditional bank debt and equity funding. Growth Capital loans are targeted at businesses with annual turnovers of up to £50m which have a demonstrated history of high year-on-year growth in turnover, profit or employment.
Flight Club has also benefitted from a part-funded intern using Santander’s unique partnership with UK universities, through the Santander Breakthrough programme. This programme, which is aimed at fast-growth, ambitious businesses, includes funded overseas trade missions, Masterclass events as well as providing graduate interns to SMEs.
Ross Shepley-Smith, chief financial officer, Flight Club, said: “We’ve been thrilled by the success that Flight Club has seen, appealing to a wide range of customers; whether small groups toasting Tuesday or large corporate teambuilding events. We’re delighted to be opening in Victoria and have strong aspirations to grow further, taking Social Darts to as many people as possible, and the funding from Santander will help us fulfil this ambition.”
Paul Stagg, relationship director, Santander Business Banking, said: “Ross and the management team at Flight Club have developed an exciting, unique business which has clearly found favour with people looking for a fun night out, something, with our Growth Capital loan, they should be able to replicate in new locations across the UK.”