Mini-golf concept Puttshack has identified more than target 30 locations in the UK as it ramps up its expansion plans, CEO Joe Valkrin has told MCA.
Valkrin, a seasoned fundraiser for leisure concepts, said Puttshack’s recent £27m equity raise led by Promethean was the easiest fundraising round he had ever been involved with.
He credited investors’ backing of the business, which uses technology to enhance mini-golf, to the strength of the concept, growing popularity of experiential entertainment, and high-quality food and drink offer.
The strength of the game, Valkrin said, was in its broad appeal across ages and genders, compared to his previous business, driving range simulator TopGolf.
As well developing its corporate and events offering at subsequent sites, Puttshack will look to make a regular use case to consumers to support its ambitious growth target of 50-plus sites in the UK.
He told MCA: “We’ve already identified north of 30 locations that we can do in the UK. After we get to 50 we’ll be in a position to say, ‘can the market support more than that?’ We have quite a long runway available in the UK. We’re just getting started.”
The original Puttshack opened in July 2018 at Westfield London White City, with Intu Lakeside opening this summer and 1 Poultry, Bank in Autumn 2019.
Vrankin, the former chief executive of Topgolf and chief operating officer of Arena Football League, was announced as CEO at the time of investment, and joins Adam Breeden, co-founder of All-Star Lanes, Bounce and Flight Club, and Topgolf founders Steve and Dave Jolliffe on the board.
Puttshack was originally part of Breeden’s Social Entertainment Ventures (SEV), but has since been spun out into a standalone business, as it seeks to fast-track its US, UK and global expansion.
On the fundraise, Valkrin said: “I have been involved in raising money for companies at a senior level for the last 20 years, and while raising money is never easy, it’s the easiest I’ve ever been involved with
“It’s a combination of how amazing the concept is, the growing popularity of experiential entrainment, and high quality casual dining. It’s an area that’s really appealing to consumers. It all seems to be aligning very nicely.”
On the wide appeal of the game, Valkrin said: “Mini golf is so broadly appealing across all age ranges, and is a game that people play globally. From a gender demographic standpoint, Puttshack appeals in equal measure to male and female. With a lot of concepts it is hard to get that equally balanced appeal.”
Valkrin said there had been learnings from the debut at Westfield, but it was mostly about refining the offer and operations, rather than making drastic changes.
“We’ve done an awful lot right,” he said. “But any time you do something for the first time, there is we can do better.”
He said subsequent sites would have space better suited for large events, and would look to convert special occasion visits, into repeat visits.
“When people are looking to go out and have fun for an evening, we want to be in that mindset mix,” he added.