He may not have qualified for the London Olympics, but swim star Michael Klim has just had a $2 million win on the business front.
Klim's Milk & Co venture, based in Melbourne, produces natural skincare products for men, and has expanded into other lines including baby skincare. Stockists now include Coles, Woolworths and global pharmacy powerhouse, Boots.
The former Olympian medallist's wife, Lindy, is also involved in the growing venture, along with Julie Milnes, former general manager at clothing brand Metalicus.
Blue Sky Alternative Investments has now announced its private equity arm will inject $2 million into the enterprise, which will be used to support expansion into overseas markets and new products.
Klim said his business had grown steadily over the past four years.
"We've always had ambitions to become a lifestyle brand and we've recently extended the brand into apparel with [clothing label] Milk by Lindy Klim coming out later in the year, so this investment will really help us grow,” he said.
“It will also give us working capital. Cash flow is always tough when you're a small business, so to be able to [use the investment to] fund our growth will be a relief. We're calling it a turbo boost to get us to the next stage of growth.”
Milk & Co products are already distributed in 12 countries and Klim says Blue Sky's investment will help the business service its retailers, including the UK-founded Boots chain of chemists and global cosmetics retailer Sephora.
Blue Sky investment director of private equity Alex McNabb said they made the decision to invest after being impressed with the Klims' success so far.
“They've achieved a lot with limited financial and people resources and have a strong brand, national distribution and international clients,” he said.
Blue Sky currently has around $180 million in assets under management. One of its other investments is fast food venture Beach Burrito Company, which Blue Sky says turns over $5 million annually.
When it comes to an expected return from the investment, McNab says investors in the Blue Sky fund expect a high return “north of 20 per cent per annum” given the elevated risk attached to investing in a non-listed, entrepreneurial business, compared to a more established business.
“I would think with Milk & Co within three to five years, it will have built a more established business in Australia and will have better global distribution and would be an attractive business for a fast moving consumer goods or cosmetics business,” McNab said.
“There are a number of different opportunities for the business and part of our challenge is making sure it's focused on the right things.”