LAUNCHPAD: Cambridge Satchel Company bags $21m

The Cambridge Satchel Company has just closed its first-ever funding round. Not bad, for a firm started in its founder's kitchen.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 31 Jan 2014

Exciting times for The Cambridge Satchel Company: the firm has closed its first-ever round of funding, raising a not insignificant $21m (£12.7m) from Index Ventures. The investor knows its fashion: it’s previously invested in Asos (which happens to be a distributor for Cambridge Satchels) and Net-a-Porter.

The company’s bags may be ubiquitous now, but founder Julie Deane started the business in her kitchen back in 2008 with just £600. Satchel fever ensued: the bags have appeared on catwalks, slung across celebrities’ shoulders and, of course, on that Google TV ad that makes MT well up a bit every time it sees it. As a result, the company’s expanded to more than 100 employees, selling to more than 100 countries.  

Index said part of the attraction was that the company’s products are, on the whole, made in the UK. In 2012, Deane told MT manufacturing abroad ‘isn’t an option for us.

‘There’s an enormous sense of pride watching the satchels being sewn and made in UK factories, and creating the new jobs to go with it.’

Deane reckons she’ll use the extra cash to recruit digital talent. The Cambridge Satchel Company is practically an internet business: ‘On the internet nobody knows you’re in your kitchen,’ she told the BBC in December.

That smallish firms are able to raise funding of this scale again is another sign investors are coming out of hibernation after the long, cold winter of the recession. Lovely.

- Stay tuned for an interview with Deane on MT next week

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