Imbiba Leisure EIS

The Imbiba Leisure EIS invests across the leisure and hospitality sector in Central London. Imbiba, led by serial leisure entrepreneur John Connell, is a venture capital business specialising in bars and restaurants. The team has extensive experience developing EIS businesses in the pub, bar and restaurant sector. This latest iteration of the fund is looking to raise £10 million.


  • Target returns of 2.5x, not guaranteed (after 5 years and including income tax relief)
  • Creating and developing bars and restaurants with a focus on Central London
  • Leasehold site with long leases
  • Experienced team with good track-record
  • £10,000 minimum investment

Important: The information on this website is for experienced investors. It is not advice nor a research or personal recommendation to invest. If you’re unsure, please seek advice. Investments are for the long term. They are high risk and illiquid and can fall as well as rise in value, so you could get back less than you invest.

The manager and the fund

Imbiba, a specialist bar and restaurant operator with a focus on London, has been running for over 20 years. Fuelled by a young, affluent working population and high-spending tourists, the London bar and restaurant market continues to grow: it is this trend upon which Imbiba hopes to capitalise.

It seeks to deliver capital growth through improving the trading and profitability of the investee companies. That involves refurbishment and development, improved operations and the creation of a scalable business model. 

Imbiba has a “buy, build and exit” philosophy. It plans to roll out a concept over a number of sites, prove the concept works and then sell it. The expected exit route is a trade sale to larger trade buyers or private equity investors after four to five years, not guaranteed.

Watch a video interview with Darrel Connell, partner at Imbiba:

Imbiba prides itself on being able to match the right location with the right concept. To do so, the team has divided London into a number of ‘villages.’ Each village has its own personality. Camden, for instance, is alternative whilst Chelsea is traditional. The City is for business and the West End is for those who ‘dress down.’ The operating concept or brand of the bar or restaurant must be in keeping with the village in which it is located.

Imbiba can be credited with the highly successful Drake & Morgan, the fast-growing London-based bar/restaurant group which was sold to Bowmark Capital. Successful branded concepts that can profitably grow to 10 sites or more and demonstrate to the next buyer further roll out potential continue to attract very strong exit multiples with plenty of private equity money chasing the best businesses. So far Imbiba has been good at picking scalable and profitable concepts: note past performance is not a guide to the future.

Enterprise Investment Partners will provide fundraising and corporate finance advice to Imbiba.

Example portfolio companies

Drake & Morgan – Imbiba Leisure EISDrake & Morgan – exit

Founded as a partnership between Killian MacLean and Imbiba in 2008, Drake & Morgan operates stylish bars and restaurants across London.

Since opening its first site, The Refinery, in late 2008, the company has expanded its portfolio to 24 locations across London, Edinburgh and Manchester.

The company completed a £30 million management buy-out deal in 2013 with backing from private equity firm, Bowmark Capital. This exit led to Imbiba winning the Best EIS Exit Award in 2014.

The Dream Corporation – Imbiba Leisure EISThe Dream Corporation

A virtual reality company, The Dream Corporation offers immersive, dynamic experiences in purpose-built bars and pop-up attractions. The company was founded by Chris Adams, an e-sports entrepreneur and Ed Wardle, a former screenwriter.

In 2019, the company opened its unique 'Virtual Reality Bar' in Hackney. Complete with 14 immersion rooms, guests can experience everything from battling robots to ascending Everest.

Imbiba has invested $1.1 million into the company alongside a number of angel investors. This funding will be used to expand the number of sites across the UK.

Newport Pub Company

As is to be expected, not all investments work out.

Imbiba invested £1.6 million into the Newport Pub Company in 2007 after launching the pub chain in 2004. However, as a result of the 2008 banking crisis, the company had its bank loans cancelled and the value of its properties dropped.

This was one of two Midlands based investments, the other being the Cedar Pub Company, to suffer as a result of the market crash. Consequently, all Imbiba investments since have been in London-based businesses.

Charges & savings

A summary of the main charges and savings is shown below. Some of these will be payable by the investor, whilst others by the investee companies. The investment may have additional charges and expenses: please see the provider documents, including the Key Information Document, for more details.

Investor charges
Full initial charge
Wealth Club initial saving
Net initial charge through Wealth Club
Annual management charge
Administration charge
Performance fee 20%
Investee company charges
Initial charge 5.5%
Annual charges 1.75%
All fees and charges are stated exclusive of VAT, which may be applicable in some cases. Any fees and charges payable by the investee companies or the underlying businesses do not directly come out of your investment. However, they will effectively reduce the returns generated by investee companies and therefore impact your investment.

More detail on the charges

Risks – important

This, like all investments available through Wealth Club, is only for experienced investors happy to make their own investment decisions without advice.

EIS investments are high-risk so should only form part of a balanced portfolio and you should not invest money you cannot afford to lose. They also tend to be illiquid and hard to sell and value. Before you invest, please carefully read the Risks and Commitments and the offer documents to ensure you fully understand the risks. 

Tax rules can change and benefits depend on circumstances.

This EIS fund invests in early-stage businesses which are more likely to fail than larger ones. So you should expect a number of failures in the portfolio.

Wealth Club aims to make it easier for experienced investors to find information on – and apply for – tax-efficient investments. You should base your investment decision on the provider's documents and ensure you have read and fully understand them before investing. This review is a marketing communication. It is not advice or a personal or research recommendation to buy the investment mentioned. It does not satisfy legal requirements promoting investment research independence and is thus not subject to prohibitions on dealing ahead of its dissemination.

The details

Target return
Funds raised / sought
£6.0 million / £10.0 million
Minimum investment
Last updated: 24 September 2019

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