Kennet invests in shopping commmunity

As frugal shoppers continue to move away from high street shopping in favour of internet stores, technology growth investor, Kennet Partners has led a €14.9m investment into pan-European shopping community BuyVIP.

As part of the investment, managing director of Kennet, David Carratt, will join the board of BuyVIP. The London and Silicon Valley-based firm will invest €11.1m in the financing and will be joined by existing investors Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, 3i Group and Molins Capital inversion. Active Partners advised Molins Capital and was also involved in the round.

The investment into the shopping community comes at a time when retail consumers are flocking to the web to save both time and money. The opportunity in the online shopping market is estimated at €1bn in 2009. Within e-commerce, fashion is the fastest growing sub-segment, with 34% growth year-over-year.

Carratt said: “The overall shift from offline stores to the internet continues and there are substantial opportunities within this trend. BuyVIP has been growing at more than 300% per year and we believe that the company has the team and processes in place to build a significant European business.”

With operations in Spain, Germany and Italy, BuyVIP is a private buyers club with an online community of approximately 3.5 million members.