Quipmo wins investor backing

23/10/2020 - 09:16

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A Perth start-up that has created a specialist online market for adventure gear is poised for expansion after locking in a funding deal with local investment group Eastcourt.

Quipmo wins investor backing
Chris Evans remains positive despite challenges presented by COVID-19.

A Perth start-up that has created a specialist online market for adventure gear is poised for expansion after locking in a funding deal with local investment group Eastcourt.

Quipmo has created a peer-to-peer rental business specialising in surf, bike, and snow adventure gear.

Three years after coming up with the concept, founder Chris Evans has completed his first capital raising, securing $500,000 in pre-seed funding from Applecross-based Eastcourt.

The connection between entrepreneur and investor arose after the City of Canning sponsored Mr Evans to attend a forum run by Western Australian Leaders.

It was there that he met, and impressed, experienced company director and Eastcourt advisory board member John Groppoli.

That was followed by an introduction to Eastcourt chief executive Tom Oosterhof, who also liked what he saw.

“Chris has done an amazing job with limited resources,” Mr Oosterhof told Business News.

“He clearly has a great idea but he also has the commercial and strategic capacity to really follow through.

“He has a strategy that is really well mapped out, so it was a no-brainer for us to back him.

“We saw a relatively small cash injection by way of our investment as a vehicle to see it really scale up quickly.”

The Quipmo investment marks another step in the diversification of Eastcourt, which traditionally has focused on the property sector.

Mr Oosterhof said the family group has made a number of private equity-style investments in growth businesses but this was the first time it has made an early-stage investment in a start-up.

Mr Evans drew on his experience as a global traveller and adventure enthusiast when he developed the Quipmo concept.

"I realised the challenge and frustration of finding quality adventure gear when you are travelling and the cost of transporting that gear from home when you head to remote locations was a recurring theme," he said.

The answer he came up with was ‘equipment for the moment’ or Quipmo.

It’s an online marketplace that puts adventure seekers in touch with local hire businesses and local people who have quality equipment they are willing to rent out.

“It's early days but our growth has been significant,” Mr Evans said.

“We have listings with businesses and individuals in 21 countries.”

Quipmo has also established partnerships with a dozen sporting bodies.

The business has already gained considerable endorsements.

It was awarded Austrade’s Going Global Award in 2019 and was selected by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science, and Innovation to represent Western Australia at a virtual trade mission at this year’s London Tech Week.

Along the way, Mr Evans, who has considerable commercial experience, has continued to invest in his own development.

After completing an MBA in 2017, he has participated in the Curtin Ignition program as well as the Western Australian Leaders program, led by Rupen Kotecha.

Quipmo will use the new capital to recruit staff in Queensland, extending its presence in the tourism region between Byron Bay and Noosa.

It will also continue to grow its presence across Western Australia.

Mr Evans said he remained positive despite the challenges caused by COVID-19.

“We are already seeing record levels of intrastate travel in Western Australia, and once domestic borders open, we are firmly of the view that people's desire to travel and to experience adventure again will surge,” he said.

To support the group’s growth, he has already built in plans for further capital raisings.

Mr Oosterhof has been appointed Quipmo’s inaugural chair while Mr Groppoli has joined its board.

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