Akula Living partners with BGF for continued global expansion

The marine-grade outdoor furniture manufacturer has secured a multi-million-pound investment from BGF to accelerate its growth.

8 January 2024

Akula Living, a marine-grade outdoor furniture manufacturer to the world’s largest hospitality and cruise operators, has attracted a multi-million-pound investment from BGF.

Founded by CEO Tim Appleton in 2009, Akula is a true Yorkshire export success story, which counts global brands such as Royal Caribbean, Four Seasons, Holland America, Marriott, and Hilton among its list of clients.

With international offices in Hong Kong, Dubai and the US, Akula is unique in the quality, customisation and innovation of its products. This specialisation has been a key factor in the success of the business to date, leading to exceptional sales growth in recent years, and reaching £22 million revenue in the year to 30 September 2023.

With 95% of sales to overseas markets, the company’s remarkable achievements were recently honoured by the King’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade 2023. This prestigious recognition is a testament to Akula’s substantial contribution to the UK’s export economy, demonstrating its strong global presence and impact.

Following BGF’s multi-million-pound investment, Akula is set to continue this impressive growth trajectory, further solidifying its status as a leader in outdoor furniture for the hospitality and cruise industries.

Tim Appleton, CEO at Akula Living said: “We’ve achieved strong growth to date, but wanted to partner with an investor who could help us to supercharge our ambitions. When you combine our experience, originating from a nearly 100-year legacy of textile manufacturing, with BGF’s expertise and track record of scaling businesses, we’re a force to be reckoned with. This latest investment will not only enhance the company’s market position but also contribute significantly to the broader economy.

The partnership was led by Chris Boyes and James Baker, investors in BGF’s Yorkshire team, with BGF portfolio team member Becky Odam joining Akula’s board on completion. Andy Dunkley has been named non-executive chair (NXC), having been introduced via BGF’s Talent Network – one of the UK and Ireland’s largest groups of board-level non-executives.

Chris Boyes, Investor at BGF said: “Akula is a fantastic company, which has demonstrated excellent growth, partnering with some of the world’s most recognisable brands in the hotel and cruise industries. We’ve been hugely impressed by Tim and the team and look forward to working together to achieve our global ambitions for the business.”

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