The Eight Roads team always believed that Europe was capable of producing amazing online retail brands because of its successful history in high street and luxury brands. In 2015, Eight Roads invested in MADE’s £40m growth round. MADE had a compelling consumer proposition, an integrated business model and a strong position in the UK, and the potential to become an international business.
The company has scaled at speed since it was founded in 2010 - expanding across Europe, growing its team to over 500, and professionalising its operations and logistics. Here was a team united by their appreciation of good design and with a clear concept: simplify things, work directly with the makers and bring high-end lifestyle design to everyone, everywhere at a fair price. Eight Roads made a further investment in 2018, when the business hit significant milestones, including launching in Spain and revenues rising 40%, despite an increasingly challenging environment in Europe.
MADE is already being seen as one of Europe’s champion consumer tech stories, these are the elements that we think have helped it succeed so far:
Best-in-class across online, design and logistics: Unlike some other e-commerce founders, Founder Ning Li realised early-on that building a business in this space was not just about having a great website. MADE.COM has successfully become best-in-class online (with its website and marketing), in logistics and fulfilment, and in design - finding next generation design talent to create innovative products to suit its target audience. The combination of these three elements have allowed it to challenge established competitors and push the industry forward.
Global ambitions: The business started in the UK, but from day one this was an international team with aspirations to expand. Moving the business into France in 2013 was a pivotal moment and the team was relieved when the same products that were selling in the UK also sold well in France. Though expansion was not without challenges, this positive feedback from the French customers gave the team confidence to test other markets - MADE is now operating in eleven countries across Europe and continues to expand its footprint.
Professionalisation: As MADE has scaled, the business has become increasingly complex, from sourcing designers, to delivering marketing campaigns in multiple languages, to supply-chain logistics and delivery. In response, the founders decided to bring in experienced operators, including: Philippe Chainieux (now CEO), Susanne Given (Non-Executive Chairman) and Adrian Evans (CFO). These individuals have helped to professionalise operations, enabling the company to navigate the additional complexity and continue its growth trajectory.