BGF exits retail tech platform as Reconomy swoops

Telford-headquartered ReBOUND, the technology platform which supports retailers – such as ASOS, Gymshark, Missguided, JD Sports and Sweaty Betty – to manage their returns sustainably, has been sold to fellow Telford firm Reconomy.

The deal marks an exit for investor BGF, which backed ReBOUND in October 2018 to accelerate the company’s growth. In this period, annual sales increased by 130% and the returns management platform secured many of the UK’s most successful fashion brands as customers. The business has been ranked in Sunday Times Fast Track leagues three times with its first entry into the Tech Track 100 as the tenth fastest growing tech business in the UK in 2019.

ReBOUND’s technology, supply chain expertise and data-led approach allows brands to understand what’s being sent back to them, why, and what to do with inbound items. The company specialises in working with fashion brands to offset the environmental impact of packaging, shipping and processing returns, helping brands calculate the most carbon-efficient routes, eliminate wasted transport miles and recycle goods, wherever possible.

Graham Best, ReBOUND Founder & CEO, said: “We’d already experienced fast growth when we first met BGF, but we had big ambitions to accelerate this by working with more retailers to tackle the challenge of managing returns and help them recognise the value of their returns data. BGF brought the perfect combination of a long-term, investment approach and expertise of scaling up businesses like ours. The partnership has allowed us to position ReBOUND for our next phase of growth more quickly than we anticipated.”

Gurinder Sunner, head of BGF in the Midlands, said: “Graham, Phil and their team have done a brilliant job in establishing and growing ReBOUND while supporting the growth of the business’ own impressive customer list. The exit has delivered strong returns for all involved as the company has exceeded growth expectations. Sustainable returns have taken on more importance during the pandemic and continue to be a challenge for many businesses committed to high environmental standards. As the UK’s ecommerce sector continues to thrive, we look forward to seeing what the ReBOUND achieves in its next chapter.”

The deak marks BGF’s fifth exit in the Midlands in the past six months, generating significant returns for all shareholders. The deals included: BGF’s exit of Nottingham life sciences incubation business, BioCity last month, following exits from CHS Healthcare, Olive Communications and Chase Distillery, which was acquired by Diageo at the end of last year.

ReBOUND will continue to operate under its own name while collaborating closely across the Reconomy Group. ReBOUND joins the likes of Valpak, the UK’s largest packaging compliance scheme and data insight provider, and Munich-based Reverse Logistics Group (RLG), a firm also specialising in environmental compliance and after-market services internationally.

Paul Cox, Reconomy CEO, added: “Adding ReBOUND to the Reconomy Group is a very exciting development and we extend a warm welcome to the whole team. Their innovative approach, underpinned by great technology and a focus on providing an excellent user experience, makes for a perfect fit with Reconomy. ReBOUND’s expertise, combined with the Reconomy Group’s existing returns activity, will offer clear, unique benefits to our customers as we continue to build an unrivalled set of services to help drive the circular economy on the global stage.”

Clearwater International were the advisers to BGF and the shareholders of ReBOUND. The deal team consisted of managing partner Phil Burns, partner and international head of TMT Carl Houghton, director Richard Ellis, associate sirectors Finn O’Driscoll and Kirsten Handley and executive Carly Sinicrope.

Houghton said: “We’ve seen several pre-existing trends in tech accelerate to warp speed in the new world. A business like ReBOUND, which delivers market-leading ecommerce enablement in returns management was always going to attract a lot of interest and we’re delighted that it has found such a good home in Reconomy.”

 

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