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The nine-figure deal, which supports Wahanda’s ambitious growth strategy, means Recruit is now the sole investor in the business and represents a highly successful exit for the other institutional investors.
Wahanda’s management team will continue to own a significant stake in the business and remains fully committed to continuing to drive the success of the online bookings platform, which has seen 300% year-on-year growth. Klaus Nyengaard, the former CEO of Just-Eat, will continue to sit on the board as co-chairman, having been chairman of the Company since 2013.
Lopo Champalimaud, CEO and founder of Wahanda, said: "Recruit invested in July 2014 and have been very active investors. We are extremely excited to continue growing the business with them. This is a great deal for everyone involved – employees and investors, and, most importantly, our customers and merchants."
"With its Hot Pepper Beauty business in Japan, Recruit has a wealth of experience in this space and understands how to scale our business. Our ambitions are aligned and the capital investment, expertise and knowledge that Recruit provides will enable us to continue on our growth trajectory, truly cementing our position as the leader in our field."
As part of its European expansion strategy, Wahanda acquired Germany’s Salonmeister in October 2014 and, just two weeks ago, Austria’s Beautycheck. In January, the Company completed the acqui-hire of the LemonLabs team, the leading Lithuanian mobile app development agency, substantially strengthening the Company’s mobile leadership. The additional funding by Recruit will be used to further build and accelerate Wahanda’s European position and the company expects to be in eight countries by the end of June this year, with further expansion plans in the months ahead.
The investment will also be used to support a major recruitment drive to build on its 210- strong workforce, as well as funding further product developments and ramping up the customer acquisition & retention strategies in the UK and Europe. Kazumasa Watanabe, of Recruit Holdings Co. Ltd. said: “This investment will allow us to further improve our international position in the hair and beauty industry. We recognised in Wahanda a world-class team and a company that had already established itself as the market leader in Europe. We look forward to supporting them with the aim of becoming a global leader in the beauty industry.”
Davor Hebel, Partner at FGPE, and previously Wahanda’s lead investor, added:
"Fidelity, along with 14W, Lepe Partners and ASI, have been long standing believers and supporters of Lopo's innovative vision to transform the hair and beauty industry by building the world's largest platform for appointment bookings. Wahanda is now the undisputed leader across Europe, and its partnership with Recruit, who have great know-how in the space, is another significant step in this direction. Congratulations to Recruit and the entire team at Wahanda.”
The Company, shareholders & management were advised by Taylor Wessing.
Wahanda is Europe’s largest hair and beauty marketplace, headquartered in London and employing 210 people across Europe. Its online platform allows customers to browse and instantly book appointments at over 12,000 salons and spas throughout Europe. Wahanda is currently growing at over 300% year on year. The company was founded in 2008 by Lopo Champalimaud.
Founded in 1960, Recruit Holdings is a leading information services and human resources company in Japan. Through a wide range of services, Recruit is focused on variety of areas, including employment, education, housing, marriage, travel, restaurants, beauty, cars, hobbies, and lifestyles. Recruit has more than 30,000 employees and operates in Asia and North America.
Photo: Ramiro Checchi