The Skunkworks Surf Company, Northern Ireland’s first surfboard company, based in Coleraine, has received the cash injection through a joint deal involving a local private investor and Co-Fund NI, which is a fund created by Invest Northern Ireland and managed by Clarendon Fund Managers to help businesses with growth potential access equity finance.
Co Fund NI is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.
Founded in 2014 and headed up by brothers Ricky and Chris Martin, The Skunkworks Surf Company manufactures its own, 100% recyclable surfboards and stand-up paddleboards which will be on sale throughout the UK and Europe from September. The firm now plans to use the investment to grow its manufacturing capacity and break into the US market.
Currently employing a team of five people which is set to grow to eight by the end of June, Skunkworks won the 2015 Northern Ireland Science Park’s Invent Award for best engineering, and was also a runner-up in the ‘New Things’ category of last year’s Virgin Media ‘Business Pitch to Rich’ competition, which secured a £10,000 investment.
Welcoming the £500,000 investment announced today, Ricky Martin, Co-founder and Head of Sales and Marketing at The Skunkworks Surf Company, said:
“This a landmark investment for Skunkworks and one which will play a major role in helping us realise the ambitious targets we have set ourselves. We have recently returned from a trade mission in California where the interest in, and demand for, our products is huge – this funding can help us make inroads into the US market.
“We have just taken on a 10-year lease on new and bigger premises in Coleraine Harbour and plan to employ 15-18 people in the next three years. This investment is a major vote of confidence not just in Skunkworks, but in the local SME sector in general. We would like to thank the investors for the funding and Arthur Cox for legal guidance.”
Brian Cummings, Investment Director at Clarendon Fund Managers welcomed this landmark investment for CoFundNI saying: “We are delighted that this is our 30th investee company. The private investors are a great fit with the team and will no doubt help Ricky and Chris achieve their ambition of making The Skunkworks Surf Company a global surf board business.”