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The Cambridge Satchel Company Raises $21M from Index Ventures

LONDON and CAMBRIDGE, England, Jan. 24 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Cambridge Satchel Company, the leather goods brand and maker of the original and best satchel, today announces funding of $21m from Index Ventures, backers of global brands and fashion retailers including ASOS, Moleskine, Net-a-Porter and Nasty Gal.

A made-in-Britain worldwide phenomenon, The Cambridge Satchel Company was created in a bustling family kitchen on a budget of just £600 by mother-of-two Julie Deane, with her own mother Freda Thomas. Determined to source best-quality leather for her satchels from the outset, Deane turned to a traditional UK craftsman to produce her first samples.  

The brand's lovingly-handmade satchels and leather goods quickly won fans around the world and across the generations, as well as approving write-ups from early adopter fashion-bloggers. Soon the company's satchels had become a celebrity 'must-have', appealing to catwalk and playground alike.

Today The Cambridge Satchel Company has over 100 employees and sells to more than 100 countries. Its bags were chosen by director Matt Weiner for cast-members of Mad Men -- the hit U.S. TV show famed for its sartorial style -- as the Season 5 wrap-party gifts.

Deane, who still oversees almost every aspect of the business (during the recent Christmas rush, she was personally embossing satchels), plans to use the investment to further strengthen her management team and recruit specialist digital talent to boost the company's profile as an internationally-recognised online brand. 

The company's partnership with Index will also enable Deane – who last year became the first woman to win the RSM International Entrepreneur of the Year Award and is a champion of UK manufacturing -- to develop The Cambridge Satchel Company's global presence, pushing into new markets including China, and more deeply into existing ones such as the U.S., while retaining the brand's hallmark of artisan authenticity.

With new product ranges in the pipeline, the workforce at The Cambridge Satchel Company's Leicestershire, UK, manufacturing-base will grow and its apprenticeship scheme will also be expanded, thereby preserving British crafts-skills that would otherwise be lost.

"Digital is at the heart of everything we do, which is why we are so excited to be entering into this partnership with Index, who have no equals in the digital arena," said Deane.

"Their work with inspirational companies like Moleskine, ASOS, Net-a-Porter and Nasty Gal, shows why they are the best-placed investors by far to help us navigate this fast-moving and ever-changing space, as we take The Cambridge Satchel Company into new markets and expand our global digital presence."

Giuseppe Zocco, co-founder and partner at Index Ventures, added: "The continuing rise of The Cambridge Satchel Company is one of Europe's most exciting entrepreneurial stories. With vision and determination, Julie turned a boot-strapped company, born without resources or support, into one that is so fearlessly taking on the world.

"At Index, we have no doubt that she has the ambition to continue to develop The Cambridge Satchel Company as a world-renowned brand. We are delighted that she has chosen us to help support her in that exciting mission," he said. 

About The Cambridge Satchel Company
The Cambridge Satchel Company, was founded in 2008 by Julie Deane and her mother Freda Thomas.

The company is committed to preserving British manufacturing, and in 2011 they set up their first factory based in Leicester, employing many locally skilled craftsmen and craftswomen.  In 2013 the company moved to a new factory -- still based just outside Leicester, four times the size of their previous site enabling production to keep pace with the terrific demand.

Collaborations with prestigious designers and retailers including Vivienne Westwood, Comme des Garcons, Christopher Shannon and Chris Benz, have seen The Cambridge Satchel Company grace catwalks from London to New York, further securing its role and international acclaim as the 'Brit It Bag'. The bags have appeared in shows including Girls, The Good Wife and Gossip Girl.

The bags can be bought online at www.cambridgesatchel.com as well as at their Covent Garden (15 Shorts Gardens, Seven Dials, London, WC2H 9AT) Rose Crescent (17 Rose Crescent, Cambridge, CB2 3LL) and recently opened Spitalfields Pop-Up Store (16 Lamb Street, London, E1 6EA).

For more information on The Cambridge Satchel Company, visit www.cambridgesatchel.com

About Index Ventures
Index is a multi-stage international venture capital firm based in London, San Francisco and Geneva. Since 1996, Index has teamed up with exceptional entrepreneurs in more than 20 countries who are using technology to reshape the world around us. The companies they've backed include ASOS, Climate Corp, Criteo, Dropbox, Etsy, Just Eat, King,  Moleskine, Nasty Gal, Ozon, Pure Storage, Skype, Soundcloud, Sonos and Supercell.

For more information on Index Ventures, please visit www.indexventures.com

SOURCE The Cambridge Satchel Company

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