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Casabu aims for a million members this year following private equity funding

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Casabu has set its sights on having a million members by the end of the year after winning private equity investment.

The flash sales site for mums, founded 10 months ago by Rachel Oxburgh and John Heseltine, has now raised £0.9m from financiers led by Ingenious Ventures, the private equity division of investment and advisory group Ingenious. Funding also came from existing investor Horatio Investments.

Casabu targets time-poor price-conscious mums, offering discounts of up to 90% on clothing, toys, nursery equipment and maternity wear in sales that can last as little as 48 hours.

Rachel Oxburgh, Casabu’s chief executive, (pictured) said: “The beauty of the flash sales model is that we don’t need to sink capital into stock and we can use this investment to grow our customer database.

“As well as acquiring customers through traditional channels, we will be investing in new technologies that enable us to deliver the best in customer curation, personalisation and social shopping.”

Oxburgh cited the example of US start-ups that achieve “great success by putting the customer at the controls of the business development. Mums are time-poor but know what they want. We are planning to take the flash sales concept to a whole new level, providing women with the service they want, when they want it and how they want it, placing them firmly at the heart of everything we do.”

Patrick Bradley, chief executive of Ingenious Ventures, said: “When we met Rachel and her team, we were immediately impressed by their ambition and enthusiasm, but most of all their innate understanding of the market they are targeting: time-pressed parents looking for good value clothes and toys without sacrificing quality or style.”

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, 89% of mums with young children in the UK use the internet regularly, spending an average of 17.8 hours online each week. Casabu aims to enable these “digital mums” to shop the devices they want to use, whether that’s a PC, tablet, smartphone or to share their shopping experience through social media.

“Our target customers are mums who love sharing ideas and experiences with their friends. As long as we provide them with uncompromising quality and great customer service, they will spread the word about Casabu for us,” said Oxburgh, who founded and built digital agency The Storm before starting up Casabu.

Casabu was named one of the top 20 start-ups of 2012 by It operates in a baby and nursery market that has grown by an estimated 20% since 2008.

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