ISIS Equity Partners, investing funds from the Baronsmead VCTs, has completed a £3.7m investment in Happy Days Consultancy Limited (“Happy Days”) a Day Nursery operator.
Happy Days was formed by Robin and Sarah Karkeek in 1991 out of their own need for childcare and currently has 16 sites across the South West of England, all managed from its head office near Newquay. Happy Days caters for children as young as three months to five years old, offering both full day care and sessional care that provide parents and their children flexible times at the nurseries to suit their individual needs.
Since they founded the business, Robin and Sarah have grown Happy Days to be the largest chain in the South West, and the business is currently the 13th largest for-profit child day care provider in the UK. In 2008, Jackie Arthur joined as COO before becoming MD in 2011 and Ian Sanders was recruited as FD in 2011 in order to strengthen the management team to support the growth of the business.
The business has won numerous awards for quality, and in 2007 Happy Days Treloweth received an OFSTED for “Outstanding” citation for its care and educational delivery. This nursery setting was one of the first in Cornwall to achieve such an OFSTED rating in all areas of delivery. A number of other Happy Days sites have since also received an “Outstanding” rating.
The investment by ISIS will allow South West Ventures Fund, who invested a minority stake in the business in 2004, to realise their holdings. The investment will support the business to expand, both organically and through acquisition, with ISIS providing further funding for development. ISIS will initially support the roll out of four new sites as part of an organic growth strategy to expand towards Exeter and Bristol.
ISIS’ experience of backing growing businesses in the sector includes day-care provider kidsunlimited, who it invested in during 2001. During the period of ISIS’ investment the business successfully rolled out new nurseries in its core regions. When ISIS sold kidsunlimited in 2008 in a deal worth £45m, turnover was in excess of £30m, up from £8m in 2001.
Robin Karkeek, Co-Founder, Happy Days comments:
“Happy Days has been at the forefront of delivering excellence in the field of childcare in the South West and has won both regional and national recognition over the years for its work in the sector. The business is now ready and positioned to expand, and the positive involvement of ISIS provides the necessary support and experience to help Management achieve its ambitions. It’s going to be an exciting journey and everybody at Happy Days looks forward to working with the Team at ISIS.”
Paul Morris, Director, ISIS Equity Partners, comments:
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Happy Days in the next phase of its growth strategy. The team has built a high quality business which is well positioned for rapid expansion in the sector. ISIS will be a supportive partner offering both experience and capital to support the ambitious plans of the team.”
Published 17 April 2012