Omlet was founded in 2004 by James Tuthill, Johannes Paul, William Windham and Simon Nicholls, who met at London's Royal College of Art where they completed a postgraduate course in Industrial Design Engineering. During their final year, they developed the Eglu chicken coop a revolutionary product which made it easy and fun to keep chickens in any garden.
The Eglu went on to win several awards, has been exhibited around the world and is even included in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum. More than 125,000 Eglus have been sold to date and they have housed the feathered friends of broadcaster Chris Evans, Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussein and comedian John Cleese.
Omlet's original chicken coop products have continued to expand and the product offering now includes additional core pet categories including dogs, cats and small animals. The business based in Banbury, Oxfordshire, employs more than 60 people and has expanded to Australia, Europe and the US.
The Business Challenge
Given the business’ ambitious growth plans, Omlet’s management recognised it needed external investment to grow the business long-term.
When considering who to lean on from an advisor perspective, Omlet, already being supported on outsourcing and tax services by BDO, looked to engage the corporate finance capabilities of the firm, aware that BDO had the breadth of services and global scale it would require over the long-term.
Specifically, the founders required an advisory team that could take a holistic approach to help professionalise their finance function, and partners that understood the intricacies of both UK and international tax, had strong relationships within the Private Equity community and could run an M&A process diligently and aligned to the founders’ objectives. Similarly, their advisors had to be able to work as an extension of their team – adding value throughout the journey.
Why Omlet Chose BDO
As a business that self-funded its growth to date, the M&A process posed a challenge for the founders to navigate alone. In addition to the rounded accounting and tax advice BDO already provided, Omlet chose BDO as their M&A partner for three reasons:
- With an already established rapport and relationship, BDO has continued to deliver proactive insights and guidance.
- Omlet’s founders were able to have transparent, candid conversations with BDO’s experts - allowing them to bounce ideas off each other to uncover the best strategies and results.
- BDO’s team has an exceptional understanding of all M&A and financial matters, which means that they can guide Omlet through the process and keep them abreast of accounting and regulatory changes.
When it came time to secure outside investment in the business, BDO guided Omlet’s executive team through the process – from start to finish. BDO understood that Omlet wanted to bring on an investor who had a strong alignment to the consumer brand’s vision and customer-centric approach, while also supporting and elevating its mission to educate the market on animal welfare through peer-to-peer communication and resources.
Based on Omlet’s vision for an investment partner, BDO drew up a shortlist of potential investors – all of whom met the company’s funding and investor criteria. Navigating a Private Equity process can be a complex and lengthy endeavour, so BDO acted as a trusted sounding board for Omlet’s founders and helped them understand what the process entailed, what questions to ask potential investors and where or how to manage expectations.
This resulted in Omlet securing £33 million in minority investment from Piper Private Equity in November 2021, which will support Omlet to achieve its strategic ambition.
Ongoing support as the business continues to grow
Over the last 12 months, Omlet’s growth has maintained a steady upward trajectory, bringing its ambitious growth plans forward by two to three years. As a result, Omlet is in a strong position to meet customers’ needs and generate sales across multiple channels.
Looking ahead, Omlet is focused on achieving four core objectives:
- Growing its sales and market share in the US.
- Acquiring and retaining more customers in the dog & cat categories.
- Attracting/retaining top talent.
- Fostering an inclusive, engaged workforce and protecting the business culture.
To continue to support its global growth and ecommerce strategy, Omlet will rely on BDO to support them in financial, tax and accounting matters.
“Going through the M&A process whilst simultaneously running a business was extremely challenging. With so many moving parts, it was critical to engage with a strategic advisory firm like BDO to guide us along the M&A process and bring an advanced level of accounting and tax expertise. Without BDO, we would have struggled to hit key milestones and position ourselves for long-term growth.
“As a global ecommerce company with customers around the world, expansion is a vital part of our growth strategy. So, we’ve worked with BDO’s US and German offices to support our expansion goals. We look forward to continuing to work with BDO and seeking further support as and when necessary to scale our business further.”
Johannes Paul, Co-Founder & Director, Omlet
|Secured £33m in Private Equity funding for growth
||Reduced accounting, tax and compliance risks, particularly in respect of international growth
Planned geographical expansion into the US
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