Soul Padel secures seed investment and increases investor appeal

Soul Padel, an ambitious padel operator in the UK, has bolstered its attractiveness to investors by securing seed investment status. Located in North-West England and established by Mark Hewlett, a former executive in retail and healthcare, the company has gained preliminary approval for the HMRC Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).

This approval allows investors to make tax-efficient investments in padel, the world's most rapidly expanding sport.

The investment potential for padel is highlighted by a 2023 Global Padel Report from Deloitte and Playtomic, projecting the padel ecosystem to reach a value of €2 billion by 2026, with the number of courts worldwide expected to double from 40,000 to 85,000 within the same timeframe.

As an emerging market for padel, the UK is experiencing swift growth, with the number of courts doubling to approximately 400 in just one year by 2023. With over 90,000 players, the sport's development in the UK is supported and regulated by the Lawn Tennis Association.

Soul Padel plans to establish several indoor facilities, including a centre of excellence, to cater to the surging demand for the sport. The company is focused on creating community hubs around padel and has pinpointed various sites across North-West England for development. It has recently partnered with Padel 1969, a prestigious Spanish padel court manufacturer and installer, and has added a non-executive director with extensive investment experience to its team.

Hewlett said: “Now is the right time for investors to be putting money into padel. The sport is at a nascent stage in its growth in the UK and it is recognised as the fastest growing sport in the world.

“Padel offers a diversified investment opportunity into the rapidly expanding ‘competitive socialising’ sector. Securing SEIS status signals to the market that we are serious about the growth of the business.

“The sports and leisure industry has yet to tap into this investment resource, making Soul Padel pretty unique.

“We have achieved SEIS status with the support of Sam Simpson at Founder Catalyst and have purposely taken the time and effort to get approved by HMRC, which is no mean feat. We want to encourage and attract investors, allowing them to take advantage of the tax incentives.”

The advantages for investors include receiving an initial tax relief of 50% on investments up to £100,000 (or £200,000 for shares issued on or after 6 April 2023) and Capital Gains Tax exemption for any gains on the SEIS shares held for at least three years.

Hewlett added: “I'm investing significant personal funds into Soul Padel to get the business started but I certainly welcome the right investors, who want to be part of and contribute towards our journey and that of padel. This is a good time to get involved and I’m looking forward to talking with investors who want to be part of Soul Padel.”

Data from HMRC, published in May last year, revealed that in 2021 to 2022, 2,270 companies raised a total of £205 million of funds under the SEIS scheme, the highest amount since the launch of the scheme.

Most companies receive investments of over £50,000 through the SEIS (69% in 2021 to 2022). In 2021 to 2022, around 45% of companies raised amounts over £100,000, compared to 39% in 2020 to 2021.

Businesses in recreational, arts and entertainment sectors accounted for around five per cent of the funds invested. The Information and Communication sector accounted for £83 million of investment (40%), with the Professional, Scientific and Technical, the Wholesale and Retail Trade, Repairs, the Manufacturing sectors together accounting for 32% of investment.

Regionally, companies registered in London and the southeast accounted for the largest proportion of investment, raising £137 million (67% of SEIS investment) in 2021 to 2022. Businesses from the north west region accounted for less than 10%.