Deals round-up: VENTURE CAPITAL – Advent International into bricks & clicks’

Advent International has joined forces with Kingfisher plc and Flextech plc in a GBP10 million (EURO16 million) joint venture investment to support the expansion of improveline.com.

Launched last year by Marshall King, a former Bain & Co consultant and Dun & Bradstreet director, improveline.com is the UK’s leading home improvement e-hub. Anyone who has ever suffered the attentions of cowboy’ builders or plumbers will appreciate the advantage of a hub which links homeowners to pre-screened, approved contractors and product suppliers.

For service providers, improveline.com provides a means of accessing job leads and a network of professionals in their area, while for suppliers, the e-hub is a unique medium for marketing to and communicating with service providers.

improveline.com derives fees from successful purchases of services and from service providers listing on the sites. The company has received home improvement work requests totalling GBP25 million since January this year. improveline has already established a partnership with MultiAssistance, which specialises in repair work for insurance companies, and also has close links with Improvenet, the US’s Number One on-line home improvement service.

The partnership with Kingfisher, Europe’s leading DIY retailer, gives improveline.com access to the group’s customer in the UK, France, Germany and Italy, while the relationship with television and new media group Flextech gives the firm access to IT expertise and content.

Advent International partner Victor Vadaneaux predicts that improveline “will transform the European home improvement market” and adds; “With Kingfisher and Flextech bringing in the potential of their huge customer and supplier bases, as well as content, improveline.com should be able to expand rapidly in the UK and across Europe, giving it market dominance”.