Ireland-founded indoor climbing company raises £ 4million

The Climbing Hangar, an Irish company looking to build a chain of indoor climbing centers across Britain, has raised £ 4million (€ 4.7million) to help its expansion.

Founded and managed by Ged MacDomhnaill, from Lisburn, County Antrim, the company already has five centers open in Liverpool, London, Swansea and Plymouth, with a new facility in Sheffield nearing completion and a building permit. got for another in Exeter.

Having opened in 2011, the Climbing Hangar typically attracts 12,000 combined climbers to its centers each month. It employs a hundred people.

The new funding, which has been provided by the Northern Venture Capital Trust Funds of Mercia, brings the total raised by the company to date to £ 10million.

Mr MacDomhnaill said he plans to double the size of the company over the next 18 months with the opening of five more centers.

Urban presence

“We think most UK cities could accommodate at least one climbing center and some, like London, could have up to 20, while Manchester could easily accommodate five comfortably. Ideally, I would like to see us establish a presence in all major urban centers, ”he said.

Ged MacDomhnaill: “Unceasing growth is the order of the day and in doing so we will benefit from economies of scale. ”

Mr. MacDomhnaill admits it’s the whole task of trying to accomplish in 18 months what it took 11 years for the company to do. However, he says, as it has grown, the Climbing Hangar has become considerably more professional.

“When it started we were just avid climbers and we wanted to avoid doing a good job. During the first 15 months of activity, I pretty much lived in a large closet on site. We were helped by the fact that Team GB Olympic climber Shauna Coxsey was our first employee and her success coincided with ours, ”he said.

Irish insurance costs

Mr MacDomhnaill expressed interest in expanding in Ireland at one point, but said he had been put off by stories of skyrocketing insurance costs.

“Continuous growth is the order of the day and in doing so we will benefit from economies of scale. We have a lot of opportunities here and we haven’t even looked at some areas like Scotland yet, ”he said.

The businessman said that while there will be standardization across the group, he wants each center to have its own identity.

“People want consistency, but the idea of ​​having the same thing repeated over and over again bores me completely so I’m honest and want each center that we have to have its own look,” he said. declared.