Ski Marketplace Maison Sport secures government Future Fund investment
Game-changing ski instructor platform Maison Sport is among only a handful of travel businesses to secure finance from the UK Government’s Future Fund.
The trio behind the innovative tech start-up, which connects skiers and snowboarders with some of Europe’s best instructors, set out to apply for the funding support in May 2020, at the height of the pandemic, when the scheme launched. With the travel sector hit hard by the impacts of Covid-19, Maison Sport felt the effects of closures at countless resorts across Europe and ski holidays cancelled for many. The funding has given the tech start-up a much-needed financial boost, allowing the platform to continue to support independent instructors across Europe.
The Future Fund – developed by government and delivered by the British Business Bank – was established to support the UK’s innovative businesses affected by Covid-19. It was created for businesses unable to access other government business support programmes, due to being pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically reliant on equity investment.
With a third-party investor willing to support the growth and ambitions of Maison Sport, the trio of founders were able to apply for the convertible loan which saw the government match their investor funds.
It is the latest success in Maison Sport’s fundraising drive to ensure the business survives and thrives through the pandemic. Over the past six months, the business has secured further funds from their existing advisory board members Kevin Byrne, Founder of Checkatrade.com and serial entrepreneur Lorenz Bogaert, as well as new investor, Gareth Williams, Co-Founder of Skyscanner. It will enable Maison Sport’s expansion into new markets globally and will help to grow their impressive international portfolio of instructors and customers.
Started by three former ski champions – brothers Nick and Olly Robinson and Aaron Tipping – Maison Sport has more than doubled the number of instructors in its marketplace throughout the pandemic. It is currently represented in more than 350 resorts, with over 1,200 qualified instructors across France, Switzerland, Italy and Austria.
The aim now is to expand into four new markets this year – Scotland, Norway, Sweden and Japan – with plans to move into Asia and South America next year.
Founder and CEO Nick Robinson says: “We’ve worked so hard to remain positive and ambitious over this past year or so. The Future Fund initiative has really given us a boost to move on to the next level. As the only platform dedicated to independent instructors, we’re really optimistic about the way Maison Sport is evolving and we’re looking forward to spreading our vision globally.”
Future Fund, delivered by the British Business Bank, has allowed companies to apply for a convertible loan with private investors at least matching the government investment.