Travel Counsellors has announced that Vitruvian Partners has backed the company in a secondary management buyout from Equistone Partners Europe.
In October 2014, Equistone backed a management buy-out of the business led by Steve Byrne, Chief Executive. Since then, the business has continued to experience rapid growth, with annual total transaction values increasing by £130 million to £512 million. Statutory turnover and profit have also seen strong growth over the period, increasing by an average of 17% and over 20% per annum respectively.
Equistone has invested significantly to provide the platform for the business to rapidly grow and scale globally. The leadership team has been expanded, annual investment in technology has been doubled, supporting its franchisees with more than £6 million set aside to spend on IT developments in upgrades in 2018, and the business now operates from new headquarters.
Vitruvian Partners, which has previously backed travel businesses Skyscanner, JacTravel and OAG, will continue to invest in and build on Travel Counsellors’ success bringing its wide sector and technology experience together with the company’s differentiated business model and culture.
Steve Byrne said: “Steve O’Hare and Equistone have been integral to our recent success, helping us to scale the business, strengthen the leadership team and invest in the technology and support we provide to our franchisees and colleagues. We will always be grateful to them for the support and care they have shown the business, the people in it and the investments they have made in us.
“The fact that we have secured a secondary buy-out is testimony to the confidence in the long-term growth prospects and plans for the company. We have carefully chosen the right investment partner with the experience in technology particularly, who also have a deep and natural affinity to our business model and values. They will help us realise the many opportunities we have to grow in both the leisure and corporate markets globally and provide the platform for each of our franchisees to accelerate and future proof the growth of their own businesses.”
Cathy Burke, Director of Global Business Development and General Manager Ireland, Travel Counsellors, said: “This is great news for the company, our individual TCs and our shared ‘Future Without Limits’. We are all very excited here in Ireland.”
Steve O’Hare, Senior Partner, Equistone Partners Europe, said: “We have been proud to have been able to support Steve and the talented management team through investing and building the business over recent years and provide a platform for the business to continue to grow and scale even further, building on the foundations laid by David Speakman. It has been a pleasure to be involved in such a people-orientated business and culture. I am looking forward to seeing the next phase of growth for Travel Counsellors and its incredible journey.”
Ben Johnson. Partner, Vitruvian Partners, said: “We are excited to announce our investment in Travel Counsellors. It is a business with a unique culture and reputation and high standing in the travel industry. We believe in its focus on empowering its Travel Counsellors to work flexibly and smarter using the company’s propriety technology. We only back exceptional high growth technology-enabled businesses with stable, proven leadership teams. We are proud to back the business and just want to help it grow and be even more successful.”