ArmaUrto (ArmaUrto.com), an innovative provider of protective cycle wear, has secured a £150k equity investment from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF), as part of a larger £300k funding round. The investment round was led by The FSE Group, the appointed fund manager of CIOSIF.
Interest in road cycling has long been on an upward trend and during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic cycling activity has been propelled higher by as much as 100%. Whilst overall the activity is extremely beneficial for health and fitness, unfortunately accidents involving bikes in the UK have also risen to more than 25,000 per annum.
Chris Battin, founder of ArmaUrto, was quick to recognise the risks that cyclists face and after having a serious accident himself, he realised just how vulnerable and exposed to potential falls and collisions cyclists actually are. He also realised that unlike the protective garments motorcyclists wear, generic sportswear or lycra garments for road cyclists offer minimal impact protection.
This inspired him to create a range of protective clothing for road cycling, and ArmaUrto was born: an innovative range of protective cycle wear. The clothing range is designed to offer all the benefits of traditional high-performance cycle wear whilst incorporating extremely low-profile but effective crash protection for critical areas using “ARMA” material. This EN12621-1 accredited energy absorbing material dissipates the impact of a fall, allows for ventilation and air flow and can be washed repeatedly.
ArmaUrto benefits from a strong management team including former Moss Bros CEO Rowland Gee as Chairman, and Imogen Battin as Operations Manager. In addition, as part of the transaction, experienced South West-based businessman Clive Banks is joining the company as a non-executive director.
Chris Battin, Founder of ArmaUrto comments: “After my cycling accident, I was keen to develop a range of innovative protective cycle wear that is on trend and functional. The range offers maximum protection to keep cyclists safe whilst commuting in peak hour traffic or out on country lanes. This investment will help us to expand our current product range and further develop our marketing. The first stage of this will be the re-launch of our website which will tie in with our relocation to Saltash. Exciting times are ahead for ArmaUrto and our thanks to Martin at The FSE Group for helping us realise the next stage of our business development.”
Martin Macey, Fund Manager at The FSE Group, added: “It was a real pleasure to work with Chris and the team. Being a regular road cyclist myself, I could immediately see the appeal of ArmaUrto’s high-quality products that address a clear market gap. Road cycling is a ‘hot sector’ for investment and Cornwall is becoming known as a popular location for a number of top cycling brands. We’re excited to be supporting ArmaUrto’s high-calibre management team on their journey.”
The £40m Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund provides debt and equity finance from £25,000 to £2 million to help growing small businesses across the region. It has been established by the British Business Bank in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and is operated by appointed fund managers The FSE Group.
Sarah Newbould, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, said: “This investment is a great example of how CIOSIF can help businesses to scale up and attract additional investment. We are pleased to see CIOSIF continuing to provide vital funding which can make a real and measurable difference to businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
LEP non-executive director John Acornley, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that ArmaUrto is revolutionising cycle wear. The combination of innovative products, a strong management team and the continued boom in cycling means the company is ideally placed for strong growth. We’re delighted to be investing in the business.”
CIOSIF is supported by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
For more information about the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund including how to apply, please visit www.ciosif.co.uk or follow the fund on Twitter at @CIOSIFBBB2