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*** New funding takes total raised by online DVD rental business to over £15 million ***
London, 13 June 2005: Today, Video Island announced that it has raised a further £5 million from EVP, Europe’s leading venture debt provider, adding to the £10 million it has raised to date. This funding takes the total amount raised by Video Island to over £15 million, substantially more than any other UK or European online DVD rental company business. EVP joins current equity investors Benchmark Capital, Cazenove Private Equity and Index Ventures.
This funding both cements Video Island’s position as the leading online DVD rental company in Europe and demonstrates Video Island’s strong financial position and ability to raise debt as well as equity. The funding will be used to expand Video Island’s DVD library - already the largest and most comprehensive in Europe – and to support the exceptional growth and market reach achieved in less than 20 months. Furthermore it will enable Video Island to further position itself for accelerated growth and invest in both new revenue and acquisition opportunities.
Saul Klein, CEO, Video Island, "Having already raised £10m, Video Island has always recognised that building a scaleable and substantial business in this sector is both extremely capital intensive and requires total operational focus combined with highly specialist expertise. The fact that in recent weeks Wal-Mart has decided to handover their online DVD rental business in the US, to a specialist, clearly validates the complexities of the sector and highlights our success in creating a model that has made us Europe's premier platform in this space. We are delighted to welcome EVP to our team of blue-chip investors to further drive the growth of our platform and support the development of Screenselect.co.uk and the sister brands we operate for Tesco, MSN, ITV and easyGroup.”
Video Island, founded in September 2003, dominates the UK online DVD rental market and is the largest independent player in Europe. The successful pioneer of a platform strategy, Video Island now powers the online DVD rental services of some of the Europe’s largest national brands - Tesco, MSN, ITV and easyGroup – in addition to its own consumer brand, ScreenSelect.co.uk. Boasting a library of over 32,000 titles and making nearly 1.5m shipments per month, Video Island is the online equivalent of 150 high street stores and recently celebrated the rental of its 6 million DVD.
Ross Ahlgren, Partner at EVP, “Video Island has established itself as the dominant player in this market and has forged ahead of its rivals both in terms of market share and innovative approach. We are excited to team up with some of Europe’s premier VCs to support the continuation of Video Island’s impressive development.”
“Already a common financing technique in the US, EVP’s venture debt proposition is ideally positioned to fulfil Video Island’s current funding requirements. We are delighted to be working with the EVP team,” added Simon Cook, Investment Director of Cazenove Private Equity.
According to Screen Digest, the online video rental business has expanded dramatically in the last few months and is estimated to be on track to represent 15% of the total UK rental sector this year.
Contact: Louise Ballard, Ballard Associates – +44 20 7727 3223
About Video Island
Video Island, launched in September 2003, is a company set to revolutionise the home entertainment market. Video Island delivers unlimited DVD subscription services to a mass-market, through both its ScreenSelect.co.uk brand, which is distributed by the likes of Boots, Comet, Virgin Megastore, Top Up TV, Toys R Us, Dixons, Currys, Real Networks (RNWK) and Radio Times as well as by operating fully integrated DVD subscription services for some of the UK’s largest national brands such as Tesco, ITV, MSN (MSFT) and easyGroup.
Video Island offers Europe’s largest DVD selection of 32,000 titles, through a variety of different packages. The ScreenSelect.co.uk service has been awarded numerous 5 star ratings including the highest rated service from Computing Which? Magazine in January 2005. In fact 94% of subscribers have recommended the service to friends and collectively contributed over 4 million DVD ratings and written over 100,000 customer reviews.
Video Island, through its partners and ScreenSelect.co.uk offers both the latest releases from the day that they come out for DVD rental, which means that someone looking for the latest box office hits is as well catered for as someone looking for TV shows, music or specialist art-house films.
Video Island has raised nearly USD 30 million in venture capital and is backed by global venture capital firms Benchmark Capital, Index Ventures, Cazenove Private Equity and EVP.
Hitwise, which monitors the popularity of websites, has placed Video Island in its Top 10 of most visited sites within the ‘entertainment and movies’ category. This puts them in the same category as both Odeon and UCI cinemas and above Empire.
www.videoisland.com / www.screenselect.co.uk / www.tescodvdrentals.com / www.itvmovieclub.com / http://msn.videoisland.com / www.easyCinema.com
About European Venture Partners
European Venture Partners (“EVP”) was formed in 1998 as Europe’s first Venture Debt provider. With offices in London, Tel Aviv and Stockholm, EVP has invested over €200M in 85 companies and 10 countries. EVP is currently managing EVP II which is able to invest another €400M in Venture Debt facilities. Venture Debt provides both entrepreneurs and Venture Capital investors the ability to leverage a company’s initial equity at a time when traditional debt is not available. For more information on EVP, its services and products, please visit our website http://www.evp.co.uk <http://www.evp.co.uk/>
Published on: 12:00AM on 13th June 2005