Ski instructor marketplace in 'pole' position for growth after raising £1.3m
Maison Sport, a ski instructor marketplace founded by former members of the British Ski Team, has raised £1.25 million – and added Skyscanner co-founder Gareth Williams to its list of investors.
The venture, led by Edinburgh-based chief executive Nick Robinson has hailed the completion of the new funding round, following collaboration with a collective of investors, alongside a Seedrs crowdfunding campaign.
It said the investment – which fell short of its £1.4m target as the pandemic hit the travel sector – will allow it to continue to expand globally and to build its portfolio of independent ski instructors.
Over the past six months, the business has secured further funds from existing advisory board members Kevin Byrne, founder of Checkatrade.com, and serial entrepreneur Lorenz Bogaert as well as signing up Mr Williams.
Maison Sport said it now boasts the third-largest selection of instructors of any ski school in the world, offering individual and group ski lessons from more than 1,200 independent instructors.
The founders of the firm – who also include Aaron Tipping and Mr Robinson’s brother Olly – say they created it to be a disruptor, and it has continued to grow over the past year.
It said that during the pandemic resorts remained open in Switzerland, where the firm secured more than double the number of bookings this past winter compared to the previous year.
The recent funding will help it enter new markets, with the tech start-up having set its sights on expansion this year into Scotland, Norway, Sweden and Japan, targeting Asia and South America next year.
Other plans to grow the business as a result of the funding include expanding the team from 15 to 20 by the end of the year, launching an Edinburgh office, and inking brand partnerships.
Nick Robinson said: “We set out to challenge the status quo and make real change, so from day one, the three of us have worked incredibly hard to share our vision and ideas with the ski industry. We’re disrupting the way things have been for years and years, so we’ve really had to be persistent and positive in order to open minds and push progressive change.”