If you ever needed convincing of how alternative finance can skyrocket a business when banks close the door, then take a moment to read how funding from The Route – Finance enabled a UK couple realise their dream, semi-retirement project in Lot-et-Garonne in the south of France.
Back in 2012, Tony and Yvette Martin founded WeDubYou – a VW campervan rental business, where holidaymakers are met at the train station, port or airport with a classic VW Campervan, which will be their home for the duration of their French vacation.
All WeDubYou Campers are of the classic ‘Type 2’ model, built between 1973 and 1979 with bay windows and a ‘Westfalia’ interior – but with a modern twist. The vehicles are all fitted with the latest gadgets and conveniences to get happy campers started on their travels – iPads, iPhones, user guides, maps, a starter pack of food, bed linens and kitchen wares.
In its fledgling year, WeDubYou was completely self-funded and proved to be a resounding success, with all four vehicles of the initial fleet being fully booked and oversubscribed by more than 100 per cent.
The potential of the business was more than self-evident, and Tony and Yvette wanted to expand their fleet to keep up with increasing demand, and to add additional locations to the offering.
And so it was in 2014 that the couple approached The Route – Finance in search of funding for the initial round of additional vehicles.
Tony comments: “I knew it would be pointless approaching my bank for the funding, given the fact that normal routes to finance were – generally – closed. I also knew I couldn’t approach a French bank as a British national with no local track record.
“We knew we had to seek a less conventional solution. But we were convinced with our product and could really see WeDubYou taking off.”
The Route – Finance completed a full assessment and due diligence and presented the proposal to individual Route – City Wealth Club Members who mandate funds to The Route – Finance’s Private Debt Platform (PDP). The raise, which was oversubscribed, provided a loan of £613,000 and generated 60 per cent of the finance required to purchase 18 new vehicles, with the remainder coming from private equity.
Today, WeDubYou owns 22 vehicles across SW France, NE Spain and Auckland in New Zealand, but Tony and Yvette still have plans for further expansion.
WeDubYou is an example of an excellent business model, which The Route – Finance network of high-worth sophisticated business lenders are always keen to invest in. The Martins’ plans to expand the business into a further 3 or 4 locations over the next 2 years with even more vehicles is likely to be oversubscribed by The Route Members once more.
Enjoying the continued growth and success of his venture, Tony Martin adds:
“The Route – Finance represents a really valuable piece of the alternative finance market. Banks cannot and will not step up to the plate, but small businesses need to establish and grow for the economy to thrive and flourish.
“Without The Route – Finance and other alternative finance companies, businesses simply wouldn’t get off the ground and investors wouldn’t be seeing such a good return for their hard-earned cash.”