Online craft network and sales platform LoveCrafts has raised £26m in a funding round which marks the largest investment in a venture-funded UK business so far this year.
The fundraising was led by Scottish Equity Partners (SEP), which has previously invested in Skyscanner and Matchesfashion.com, along with current investors Balderton and Highland Europe.
The company currently operates two sites, LoveKnitting and LoveCrochet, but co-founder Cherry Freeman told City A.M. that the funding will allow the company to expand into other areas including sewing, quilting, cake decorating, jewellery-making and fine arts. She also said there were plan to expand into new countries and double down on existing markets in North America and Germany, as well as reinvesting in technology.
“Late last year we launched a mobile app,” Freeman explained. “It’s like a kindle for knitters and crocheters to store all their patterns rather than carrying bits of paper.”
She added: “Crafters are very present in social media. They’re using technology like everybody is but I just don’t think there’s been anything significant for them in the digital sphere.”
Stuart Paterson, Partner at SEP, who joins the board of LoveCrafts said: “Crafting is the world’s largest hobby. LoveCrafts has built an impressive, scalable, digital community-based platform targeting an international market worth $100 billion per annum.”
Soho-based LoveCrafts combines a social network for craft enthusiasts with an independent marketplace for pattern designers. The company also sells crafting supplies to users, with it distribution centres in Manchester and Missouri delivering over ten million balls of yarn to date. It was founded by Nigel Whiteoak, Cherry Freeman and Edward Griffith in 2012.