Go Ape reaches for new heights with major growth plans
PUBLISHED: 15:39 04 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:03 04 June 2019
HF/ Hamish Frost
A woodland zip-wire adventure firm is geared for major growth with the help of major investment.
Bury St Edmunds-based Go Ape, founded by Rebecca and Tristram Mayhew, has announced plans to double its business over the next five years with the help of external investors.
The outdoor adventure company, which has 34 sites across Britain, is set to expand to further locations across the country and revamp existing courses with the extra finances. By 2023, it says it expects to welcome more than 2m customers a year.
The family-owned business, which now welcomes more than 900k visitors and generates sales of £19.2m, began 17 years ago, when it made tree-top high ropes available to the British public for the first time.
Since then, it has expanded its offer to include zip wires, off-road segways, mountain bikes, and tree top trampoline nets, with two new activities due to launch later this year.
Founder and chairman Rebecca Mayhew said: "Having built the business up from scratch over the last 17 years into something we are all enormously proud of, we want to build on this momentum and ensure that Go Ape continues to thrive in the years ahead.
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"From the beginning we have constantly pushed the boundaries and we want to continue to challenge, surprise and excite new audiences.
"As a team we've made a strategic decision to partner with an external investor to allow us to double the size of Go Ape over the next five years. We believe in the transformational power of outdoor adventure. With extra investment and expertise, we can go faster and reach more people."
The growth plan is led by managing director Jon Noakes, who joined Go Ape in 2017 and was promoted the following year.
Mr Noakes said: "Rebecca, Tristram and the team have created the undisputed leader in the market for outdoor challenges - a market that is growing rapidly. The activities we provide and the way we provide them are world-class."
He was "extremely excited" about the new experiences they will offer our customers and the opportunities they can create for our employees, he said.
Livingstone Partners, which has been working closely with Go Ape to provide specialist guidance and support on the investment, is seeking prospective investors on behalf of the business. Partners will be confirmed by the end of the year.