NPIF – Maven Equity Finance, managed by Maven Capital Partners and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, has led a £3 million funding round in Manchester-based DigitalBridge, a Guided Design platform for kitchen and bathroom retailers.
The transaction comprises a £1.5 million package from Maven’s Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and £1.5 million on behalf of NPIF – Maven Equity Finance.
The funding will support the roll-out of DigitalBridge’s platform and the creation of 15 new jobs. It will also enable the company to create additional products and penetrate new markets, particularly the US. DigitalBridge has been working with Kingfisher Plc (owners of B&Q and Castorama) since 2017.
DigitalBridge technology guides consumers through the entire process of creating a dream bathroom or kitchen, from concept to completion. Integrating directly into a retailer’s website and using pioneering AI and Computer Vision technology, DigitalBridge simplifies the decision-making process by guiding people to easily design and visualise their dream bathroom or kitchen. The technology has been proven to drastically reduce sales cycles, increase conversion rates and average basket sizes as well as drive more engaged customers into store.
Customers today expect a streamlined shopping experience. 51% of people abandon the idea of refurbishing because they can’t visualise the new space and 35% of customers return items because they didn’t know when purchasing how it would look at home. This is compounded by the fact that online transactions now account for 19% of all retail sales in the UK and is steadily increasing year-on-year. In addition, the roll-out of the 5G network is making this type of technology increasingly accessible across any device.
DigitalBridge uses AI and Computer Vision to deliver an intuitive and simple to use consumer-focused solution that hides complexity, whether recommending products from the retailer’s catalogue that fit the customer’s budget, needs and style, or auto-designing a dream space. Having supported more than 800,000 customer projects, DigitalBridge believes in the power of hyper-personalisation and is focused on the end user to build them the best possible product.
Jeremy Thompson, Investment Director at Maven, said: “The team at DigitalBridge have developed a market-leading AI product which solves a genuine problem for retailers by better engaging with their customers online. The considerable traction they have seen proves they’re enabling retailers to increase conversions, shorten sales cycles and increase order values.
The business is developing a strong working culture which has helped them attract some exceptional talent in Computer Vision and Machine Learning. We are genuinely excited to work with them and support their next stage of growth, as they look to accelerate deployment of the existing product, develop new products and enter new markets, including the US.”
David Levine, CEO at DigitalBridge, added: “Consumer buying behaviour has fundamentally changed, especially online as e-commerce now accounts for 15 percent of all retail purchases, according to Mary Meeker’s Future of the Internet. People are doing most of their research online and are being inspired by what they see. Bathrooms and kitchens still require a lot of face-to-face time and store visits, however, so DigitalBridge uses AI and Computer vision to guide consumers through the complex and confusing journey of designing their dream bathroom or kitchen.
We’re excited to partner with Maven to drive DigitalBridge to the next level. In addition to the European retailers we are working with, this investment supports our growth into the US market and allows us to deliver on the opportunities we’re already working on.”
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially 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 and the European Investment Bank.
Maven Capital Partners UK LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Firm Reference Number 495929