Newcastle startup Camplify lists on the ASX in $11.5 million IPO

Aussie Airbnb-for-campers startup Camplify has listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in an $11.5 million IPO, after the COVID-19 pandemic left the domestic travel sector ripe for disruption.

Founded in 2015 and based in Newcastle, New South Wales, Camplify is essentially an Airbnb for caravans, allowing the owners of RVs, campers and other homes on wheels to rent them out to holiday makers.

The startup lodged its prospectus in May, with an offer price of $1.42 per share, giving the business an enterprise value of $42.1 million at completion.

The IPO was four-times oversubscribed, raising a total of $11.5 million, with strong interest from both institutional and retail investors.

And stronger than expected growth in the first half of the year has allowed the team to update its prospective results for the financial year.

Now, Camplify is predicting gross transaction value for the 2021 financial year to top $30 million, up from the $27.8 million forecast in its prospectus.

Revenue is expected to reach between $7.3 million and $7.6 million, up from the $6.7 million forecast.

The success of the IPO represents a great result for Camplify, now trading under the ticket CHL. But for founder and chief Justin Hales, it doesn’t come as a surprise.

The business has seen an average revenue growth of 88%, year-on-year for the past four years.

Now the opportunity is ripe to continue that growth trajectory, he says.

“We’ve got market conditions in our favour,” he explains.

“We’re in an industry that, from a tourism perspective, isn’t as COVID-affected as others.”

The pandemic has posed a challenge for the whole of the travel sector. For a business like Camplify, an uptick in domestic travel has led to more demand.

At the same time, we’re seeing state borders close at late notice, hampering local travel plans and damaging consumer confidence across the whole sector, too.

“It’s definitely been challenging,” Hales says.

“We’ve had to constantly keep our customers informed … and be flexible with them.”

That said, the founder says Camplify bookings have increased during lockdown periods.

Campers are self-contained, and provide the ultimate flexibility, he explains. Even if restrictions emerge while you’re on the road, you can always change direction.

“An unbelievable opportunity”

After a disrupted 12 to 18 months in the travel sector, Hales does predict things will start moving again soon enough. The catalyst, he says, will be the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

The fewer lockdowns are required, the more confident people will become, and the more adventures will be booked in.

And even when the international borders finally re-open, he doesn’t think Camplify will see a dip in bookings.

First and foremost, the service provides a safe option for those still feeling cautious.

But the business has also always been constrained by supply, not by demand, he explains. There are typically more people looking for vans to rent than there are vehicles available.

“As we grow our network of vans, we will be able to service that demand,” he says.

The IPO allows Camplify to take advantage of the opportunity and ramp up its expansion plans.

“We felt the business was at a maturity level in terms of its operation, and from a corporate perspective, to be able to take on that next challenge,” Hales says.

Many of the startup’s customers have also expressed interest in investing in the business.

Part of the plan is to grow Camplify’s presence overseas. There’s a fleet already on the ground in New Zealand, in a perfect position to meet the demands of Aussie travellers as soon as they can cross the ditch.

The startup is also building on its position in the UK and Spain, as the European markets start to see signs of recovery.

And it has new products in the works, too.

For Hales, the IPO represents the beginning of the next step in Camplify’s journey.

“We’re really proud … and optimistic for the future,” he says.

“We’ve got an unbelievable opportunity now to really take this thing to the next level.”

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