Bridges Ventures-backed budget boutique hotel opens in London

Bridges Ventures (“Bridges”) has announced it is backing Qbic Hotel London, a brand-new budget boutique hotel to open in London’s East End this week.
Located in Whitechapel, in the Borough of Tower Hamlets, and with rooms from as little as £59 per night, the hotel will offer affordable yet stylish accommodation to leisure and business travellers – its 171-rooms will feature innovative design based around the “Cubi”, a pre-fabricated bedroom that has enabled the conversion of an old office building into a hotel quickly, efficiently and with very little environmental impact.

The hotel is the second investment of the Bridges Sustainable Growth Fund III that has just announced its final close at £125m, exceeding its original target of £100m. The fund focuses on the provision of growth to ambitious businesses that generate impact through the products they sell in certain sectors like education & skills, health & well-being or the environment, or to consumer champion businesses serving underserved markets or companies building economic dynamism in under-invested areas.

Developed by Paul Rinkens and Paul Janmaat in Amsterdam, Bridges identified Qbic as an exciting hotel concept with great potential to generate strong returns for investors as well as positive impact. Bridges worked intensively with the management team to bring regeneration and sustainability to the heart of the company’s strategy, including environmental and social considerations into the business model as key drivers to its potential commercial success.

Located in Tower Hamlets, one of the most deprived local authority districts in England, Qbic aims to contribute to the regeneration of the local area encouraging economic dynamism and job creation in the community. The hotel is recruiting at least 50% of its staff locally and partnering with the charities Food Cycle and Bike Works, both of which help to train and assist people back into work – Qbic will hire approximately 20% of its staff from these charities.

In addition, a number of environmentally friendly features have been introduced in the refit of this previously vacant office building, obtaining a “Very Good” BREEAM  rating. These include solar panels and heat pumps which will result in a projected reduction of 30% of CO2 emissions over benchmarks for similar developments and significantly reducing operating costs.
The team plans to roll-out the Qbic concept to other locations across the UK and is already looking for other potential sites in London.

Bridges Sustainable Growth Funds have a strong track record in backing ‘consumer champion’ companies that seek to provide value-for-money for customers from underserved areas. An example of such investment is The Gym, a company backed by Bridges in 2008, which pioneered the concept of low-cost gyms in the UK and that today operates from 40 sites across the UK offering state-of-the-art fitness facilities at very low cost.  Bridges sold its majority stake in The Gym in June, a transaction that generated a 50% IRR and 3.7x multiple for investors in Bridges funds.

In July the firm announced the launch of The Vet, the first investment of the Bridges Sustainable Growth Fund III, a new choice of veterinary service that aims to bring the best clinical care at affordable prices to pet-owners from brand new, bright clinics mainly located in underserved areas.
The team has also had success in the hotel sector before with The Hoxton Hotel, a boutique hotel located in Hackney that Bridges developed, funded and exited last year generating a 47% and 9x multiple for investors.

Anne-Marie Harris, Partner, Bridges Sustainable Growth Funds, said: “Qbic is an exciting new addition to London’s hotel scene and we are delighted to be working closely with Paul Rinkens and Paul Janmaat in bringing their concept to the UK. Together we hope to build up a business with great potential to succeed both commercially and by creating positive impact on local communities.”

Paul Rinkens, Concept Developer at Qbic, said: “Finding an investor with the ethos of Bridges Ventures is not something that happens every day.  We are really looking forward to learning more from them and working together to grow this great concept into a strong brand with character.”

Qbic Hotel London is located in Whitechapel, a short walk from Aldgate East Underground Station and Brick Lane. To mark its launch, the hotel is running a £1 room sale for three months, with the proceeds going to charity. To find out more about the hotel and this promotion please visit http://london.qbichotels.com/ or follow them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/QbicLondon or Twitter @QbicLondon

Press contacts
Giles Abbott
0203 219 8805

Notes to Editors

Bridges Ventures (www.bridgesventures.com)
Bridges Ventures LLP (“Bridges Ventures”) is a specialist fund manager dedicated to using an impact-driven investment approach to create superior returns for both investors and society at large. Bridges Ventures has raised seven funds to date which total £340m: Sustainable Growth Funds I, II and III, the Bridges Sustainable Property Fund, the CarePlaces Fund, the Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund and the Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund.