Wetherby’s Akula gets BGF investment for global push

Akula Living CEO Tim Appleton

Wetherby-based Akula Living, a marine-grade outdoor furniture manufacturer to some of the world’s largest hotel and cruise operators, has attracted a multi-million pound investment from growth investor BGF.

Founded by CEO Tim Appleton in 2009, Akula counts global brands such as Royal Caribbean, Four Seasons, Holland America, Marriott and Hilton among its list of clients.

Akula has international offices in Hong Kong, Dubai and the US.

The firm’s revenue reached £22 million in the year to September 30, 2023.

“Following BGF’s investment, Akula is set to continue this impressive growth trajectory, further solidifying its status as a leader in outdoor furniture for the hospitality and cruise industries,” said BGF.

Appleton said: “We’ve achieved strong growth to date, but wanted to partner with an investor who could help us to supercharge our ambitions.

“When you combine our experience, originating from a nearly 100-year legacy of textile manufacturing, with BGF’s expertise and track record of scaling businesses, we’re a force to be reckoned with.

“This latest investment will not only enhance the company’s market position but also contribute significantly to the broader economy.”

The BGF investment was led by Chris Boyes and James Baker, investors in BGF’s Yorkshire team, with BGF portfolio team member Becky Odam joining Akula’s board on completion.

Andy Dunkley has been named non-executive chair of Akula Living, having been introduced via BGF’s Talent Network.

Boyes said: “Akula is a fantastic company, which has demonstrated excellent growth, partnering with some of the world’s most recognisable brands in the hotel and cruise industries.

“We’ve been hugely impressed by Tim and the team and look forward to working together to achieve our global ambitions for the business.”