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Booktopia opens up shares to the public with Equitise’s largest ever Equity Crowdfund​​ of $10 million

November 30, 2018 Business News No Comments Email Email

Australia’s leading online bookstore, ​Booktopia ​​today announced it is opening up shares in its business to everyday Australians through leading investment platform ​Equitise​​. The Booktopia Group plans to raise up to $10 million at $1 per share with 8.1 percent of the business open to Aussies seeking a local investment opportunity in a fast-growing company. The raise marks the first time the Booktopia Group has opened up equity in its business to external investors and is part of its fast-tracked plans for scale and growth.

This is the largest-ever equity crowdfunded capital raise through Equitise. Booktopia is the largest company thus far to use an equity crowdfunding platform to raise capital in this way.

The Australian online-only book retailer, Booktopia was founded in 2004 by Tony Nash, Steven Traurig and Simon Nash and has grown into a business valued at $113.4 million. Booktopia has served in excess of 5.2 million customers across Australia and New Zealand. This strong customer base is one reason the company chose to raise money from ‘the crowd’. It wanted to give its customers the opportunity to invest and stand to profit if the company does well.

One of Australia’s most successful companies, the Booktopia Group sells one item approximately every 6.1 seconds and shipped over 4.7 million items in the 12 months to 30th June 2018, with over 1.8 million repeat customers.

PwC‘s Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook 2018-2022 shows that consumer and educational book total sales (from 2013 to 2017) increased from $1.806 billion to $1.933 billion, resulting in $127 million in extra sales over the 5 year period. The Outlook forecasts that from 2017 – 2022 the total market will grow from from $1.933 to $1.975 billion.

A large proportion of the growth in the market has come from Booktopia Group’s growth in revenue. “Booktopia’s number of website visits has increased ​approximately 33 percent per annum, from approximately five million in FY2011 to approximately 21 million in FY2018. Booktopia started on a budget of $10 per day and it took three days to sell the first book.” said Tony Nash, Booktopia’s CEO.

“We have always said that our customers have been our investors because they bought books from us and we used those funds to re-invest in the business to grow further. It is exciting we can offer our customers the opportunity to actually own a piece of our future.”

Over the last ten years, the Booktopia Group’s revenue has grown at a CAGR of 31.9 percent per year from $9.4 million in FY2009 to ​$113.9 million in revenue for FY2018 – up from $99.8 million in the previous year.

Founder of Equitise, Chris Gilbert says he couldn’t be prouder to have such an industry leader in its field like Booktopia raising capital on the Equitise platform.

“Booktopia is by far one of the most robust and successful self-made businesses I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. With such a solid road map for continued growth and new opportunities in new markets and their recently launched book distribution business, this opportunity to invest I’m sure will capture the attention of many savvy investors,” he said.

“Working with businesses like Booktopia is why we started Equitise some four years ago. These businesses can use capital to grow when listing on the ASX, for whatever reason, is not an option. Equitise gives Booktopia and other businesses, from start-up to later stage, the opportunity to raise capital from an alternative source – a source that gives their customers, friends, family and sophisticated investors the opportunity to come along for the ride.”, says Gilbert.

Booktopia has plans to capture a higher share of the market and is in a good position to do so with continued industry growth, a shift in consumer behaviour towards buying books online, its quick delivery times, its range and depth of stock (148,000 titles) and its strong customer service focus.

In 2018, the Booktopia Group ramped up its Booktopia Publisher Services (BPS) business to act as the Australian and New Zealand wholesale distributor for local and international publishers as well as individual Australian authors. BPS has many bookstores and businesses buying from it directly and is a growing part of the company.

These distribution agreements ensure that the stock is immediately available from BPS rather than ordering it in from another distributor. Holding stock in the Booktopia Distribution Centre means that the product is ready to ship to retail customers, removing one step in the process. The BPS business now shares the same distribution channels, logistics and data feeds as Booktopia, and is fully integrated into Booktopia Group’s custom-built Warehouse Management System.

With increased working capital and new investors, the Booktopia Group will use the funds to expand automation, hold more stock and fund the liquidity of the business.

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