Go Ape hunts for new investment to fund rapid expansion

Outdoor adventure business Go Ape has launched a hunt for new investment, as it looks to double in size.

The high ropes course operator, which has 34 sites across Britain, is looking to sell a stake in the firm in order to double over the next five years.

Corporate finance firm Livingstone Partners has been hired by the family-owned business to seek out prospective investors, with the hope of securing investment by the end of 2019.

New funding will go towards plans to launch “new and innovative outdoor experiences”, expand to further locations and revamp existing sites.

The firm, which was launched 17 years ago, predominantly runs tree-top high ropes courses but has expanded to offer also zip wires, off-road Segways, mountain bikes, and tree-top trampoline nets.

In 2018, the company welcomed more than 900,000 visitors and generated sales of £19.2 million.

Founder and chairman Rebecca Mayhew said: “Having built the business up from scratch over the last 17 years into something we are all enormously proud of, we want to build on this momentum and ensure that Go Ape continues to thrive in the years ahead.

“As a team we’ve made a strategic decision to partner with an external investor to allow us to double the size of Go Ape over the next five years.

“We believe in the transformational power of outdoor adventure. With extra investment and expertise, we can go faster and reach more people.”

The growth strategy has been driven by managing director Jon Noakes, who joined the firm in 2017 before being promoted to the top job last year.

Managing director Mr Noakes added: “Rebecca, Tristram and the team have created the undisputed leader in the market for outdoor challenges – a market that is growing rapidly.

“The activities we provide and the way we provide them are world class.

“I am extremely excited about the new experiences we will offer our customers, the opportunities we can create for our employees, and the millions more people who will feel the sense of energy that only the completion of an outdoor challenge can bring.”