EQT Backs Accelerated Growth of Avenso AG
- EQT invests in Avenso AG, a leading German photographic art specialist
- EQT and the founders become the sole owners
- EQT provides new funds to accelerate growth strategy
STOCKHOLM -- September 17, 2013
EQT has invested in Avenso AG ('Avenso' or the 'Company'), a leading gallery
network and online retailer for photographic art serving the contemporary
photographic art market, based on a partnership agreement with the founders.
The existing minority shareholder Burda will be bought out by EQT.
Avenso was founded in 2004 by two art collectors in Berlin. With its flagship
brand LUMAS, the Company has created a space for photographic art for young
collectors and all art-lovers, offering exceptional art photography from a
diverse selection of works by over 160 established artists and carefully
selected emerging talents. With 24 galleries worldwide (16 in Germany, the
others located in international cities such as Vienna, Zurich, London, New
York and Paris) more than 1,400 works are available as original photographs in
editions of 75 to 150. Signed by the artist, these editions enable LUMAS to
offer art at affordable prices, starting at a price of EUR 100.
Via its second brand WhiteWall, a high-profile photo laboratory, Avenso offers
custom made mounting and framing services for private customers and
professional photographers. WhiteWall is a leading online retailer for
large-scale, gallery-quality prints.
Funds provided by EQT will be used to continue to develop the international
footprint of Avenso as well as to expand its growing online activities. The
plan is also to open new galleries and further strengthen the LUMAS and
'LUMAS and WhiteWall are serving unique market segments, driven by high
customer retention. The product and service offering are very suitable for
many more markets, which will facilitate the further growth of Avenso. We are
happy to partner with the founders of this well positioned business', says Dr.
Rolf Hagemann, EQT Industrial Advisor and designated member of the Company's
Board of Directors.
Avenso has already successfully expanded into the US, UK, Switzerland,
Austria, Spain, Italy, France and the Netherlands, while maintaining high
growth rates in its German home market. LUMAS' and WhiteWall's online business
shows high double digit growth.
'Over the last 10 years, LUMAS has created a new market segment for art,
offering selected established and young artists a platform to reach new
customer groups as well as providing art interested customers with access to
high quality photographic art in limited, signed editions. After partnering
very successfully for six years with our first investor, Acton Capital
Partners, EQT is a perfect investor for the next phase. EQT shares our vision
for quality, has strong experience in international retail and e-commerce and
can help us to accelerate the further growth of Avenso', says Marc Ullrich,
Co-Founder and CEO of Avenso.
EQT is the leading private equity group in Northern Europe with approximately
EUR 20 billion in raised capital, portfolio companies with total sales of more
than EUR 25 billion and over 550,000 employees. The funds' investment
philosophy is to help acquired companies grow and develop into great and
sustainable companies, both under EQT's ownership and with future owners. The
result so far: the over 60 previously or currently owned portfolio companies
have during EQT's ownership seen an average annual increase in the number of
employees by 11%, sales by 11% and earnings by 15%. Almost all of the return
on investments is attributed to operational improvements such as increased
sales and efficiency gains.
EQT supports a growth oriented business strategy, which has its roots in the
Nordic culture, and a transparent governance model, combined with access to
EQT's unique international network of industrialists. By implementing clear
strategies and having access to operational expertise and ownership skills,
the portfolio companies develop and grow. The strategies and implementation of
operational excellence are driven by the appointed CEO and management team,
board members who are handpicked from EQT's Industrial Network. Portfolio
companies are monitored by more than 120 Investment Advisory Professionals
from EQT Partners. EQT's funds represent the investment of hundreds of
investors from all parts of the world.
Funds launched since the beginning of 2012 are managed in the Netherlands, the
UK and Luxembourg. EQT Holdings AB, based in Stockholm, Sweden is the parent
company of these general partners/fund managers. This means that EQT applies a
corporate structure with transparency for all stakeholders, unique in the
private equity industry.
EQT's mission since its first investment two decades ago remains the same -
create value in medium-sized to large companies in Northern and Eastern
Europe, Asia and the US by investing, helping them to develop and transform
into great, leading companies.
More information can be found on www.eqt.se
About Avenso AG
Founded in Berlin in 2003, Avenso has been democratizing the art market with
its brand LUMAS since 2004. Created by art collectors, brought to life by 160
renowned artists and promising talents from major academies, LUMAS is
passionate about offering original, inspiring art as affordable editions.
Since 2008 Avenso has also been operating the renowned online Photo-Lab
WhiteWall, which is held in high regard by hobby and professional
photographers for its gallery-quality prints. The entire production process
for both brands takes place in Germany.
More information can be found on www.avenso.com
About Burda Digital Ventures
Burda Digital Ventures (BDV) is the corporate venture fund of German global
media group Hubert Burda Media. Since 1999, BDV has focused on
internet-enabled B2C companies from early to late stage situations. The BDV
Fund is managed by Acton Capital Partners, an independent, partner-led venture
capital investor in the internet and mobile communications sector.
Before founding their own independent company in 2008, the Acton team incepted
Burda Digital Ventures as a corporate venture capital vehicle for Hubert Burda
Media. The investment team responsible for the initial investment in Avenso in
2006 has supported the company's growth trajectory ever since. Acton's current
fund, the Heureka Growth Fund, focusses on growth equity investments in the
B2C and B2smallB field, with funding coming from international private and
institutional investors. Established in 2008, the fund's portfolio today
includes 15 companies in Europe and North America.
More information can be found on www.actoncapital.de
+46 706 05 63 34
+49 69 247 045 130
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