Universal Avenue, the on-demand sales service, has raised $10m in venture capital in its series A funding round, to further expand global operations.
The investment round was led by Eight Roads, the proprietary investment arm of Fidelity International Limited, with participation from existing investors Northzone and MOOR, and brings the total funding raised to $17m.
Universal Avenue has quickly established itself as a market leader in connecting growing businesses with a freelancing salesforce to drive customer acquisition, a model that introduces sales to the on-demand economy. Already active in the UK, Spain, Greece, Sweden, Norway and Finland, Universal Avenue allows businesses with high growth potential to test new markets, expand and scale without carrying the risks of employing an internal salesforce.
For sales professionals, this means they can work flexible hours, travel as they work and be their own boss. The company plans to launch in the US and elsewhere in Europe later this year.
“With its global reach and excellent track record, Eight Roads is a great addition to an already strong cap table. This series A round of funding will allow us to grow further and faster and enable Universal Avenue to become a truly global on-demand sales service. We are packaging a service that fits companies with ambitious sales and expansion targets, along with the need to manage overhead costs and keep risk at bay”, says Universal Avenue’s Co-Founder and CEO Johan Lilja.
“We’re delighted to see a continuous stream of leading global brands trusting and joining our platform”, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President Petter Hederstedt adds.
Davor Hebel, Head of Eight Roads Ventures Europe, who will join Universal Avenue’s board, commented: “The talented team at Universal Avenue has built a unique and scalable platform that meets a growing market demand and is rapidly gaining traction with both sales professionals and strong brands like Spotify Business and Shopify. We will share our expertise, international network and resources to support Universal Avenue, bringing its community of Brand Ambassadors to the global stage.”
“At the core of Northzone’s investment in Universal Avenue is the thesis that fast growing companies today will have to be more creative in how they expand, acquire new customers and manage overhead costs. This includes how they look at building their workforce. Lots of digital brands are successfully outsourcing in disciplines like engineering, but they have been underserved when it comes to good options for sales. Universal Avenue is offering a unique solution for these companies and we are impressed with what they have achieved so far“, says Hans Otterling, General Partner at Northzone.
“The myth of big corporations offering job security is fading - people want more control of their work lives and many find it more secure to work for themselves, with projects they’ve chosen. These changes are particularly prominent in the US, where more than 40% of the working population is predicted to do away with the 9-5 office culture over the next four years, in favour of working for themselves”, says Lilja.
About Universal Avenue Universal Avenue is a global on demand sales platform. It connects growing and established brands with a talented community of Brand Ambassadors that help drive customer acquisition, where and when a business needs it. For brands, this provides the flexibility to expand and scale in existing and new markets. For Brand Ambassadors, it offers the freedom to define their own working patterns, have a flexible lifestyle and create a lucrative revenue stream by introducing innovative, new products to the market.
Universal Avenue launched in July 2014. Headquartered in its native Stockholm, the company also has offices in London, Athens and Barcelona, and represents Brands and Brand Ambassadors worldwide.
About Eight Roads Ventures Eight Roads Ventures backs technology entrepreneurs with aspirations for greatness. By combining a collaborative approach with the strength and resources of the Fidelity network and a 50-year history of investing, Eight Roads helps companies across the globe accelerate their growth and become leaders in their field. A strong track record includes investments in Alibaba, CloudByte, Cúram (IBM), InnoGames, Made.com, Manthan Systems, Metaps, NewBay (RIM) and Treatwell (Recruit). In Europe, Eight Roads Ventures is currently investing a £150 million fund focused on enterprise, consumer and financial technology. www.eightroads.com @8roadsventures
About Northzone Northzone is a technology investment partnership. Founded in 1996, Northzone has to date raised seven funds and invested in some 100 technology companies. The current portfolio includes companies such as Spotify, Avito.ru, Trustpilot, WideSpace and SpaceApe. The company has offices in London, Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen and New York. For further information, visit www.northzone.com
About MOOR MOOR is a leading Nordic early stage investment firm focused on digital innovation. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, MOOR invests in teams with unique ideas and the capability to reach global scale. As an active investor, MOOR utilizes its network and experience to catalyze growth in their portfolio companies. MOOR is backed by serial entrepreneur Kaj Hed, who founded Trema and is the majority owner of Rovio Entertainment, creators of the Angry Birds mega brand. For more information, please visit www.moorcap.com