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Dublin: 15 °C Monday 17 June, 2019
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Dublin's Viking Splash Tours are heading for Europe...

AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH!

6076199929_83310a7760_o Source: Mic

LOCK UP YOUR daughters, the Vikings are coming.

Dublin’s Viking Splash Tours are some very modern Norsemen indeed though – they’re looking at a €100,000 expansion and they’ve announced they’re going to do it through crowdfunding.

The lender in question, Linked Finance, are Ireland’s largest crowd sourcing venture. They recently announced a €250 million expansion of their own fund by 2017.

The tours, formed in 1999, are famous for driving (authentic World War 2) amphibious vehicles around Dublin landmarks both by sea and land while shouting very loudly at passers-by and wearing Viking helmets.

They’re also exceptionally well-reviewed with just under a maximum rating on TripAdvisor, and are pretty much part of the city’s furniture at this stage.

With the amount of attention the tours attract from tourists (and stag and hen parties naturally) it’s rare indeed to see one of the tours’ vehicles empty.

Vikings1 Source: Viking Splash

So, their expansion has been coming, but what will it involve?

Initially, the money will be used to develop the next generation of the company’s vehicle fleet, but after that, expansion to new cities will be the order of the day.

TheJournal.ie spoke to Crevan Dunne, founder of the company, who feels very confident about the future.

“We’re a successful, profitable, and hopefully enjoyable venture, but our six vehicles are 75 years old,” he says.

They’ve served us wonderfully, but we have to look to the future and that’s what this is about. So our project will see us design the next iteration of vehicle that will secure our future.
After that, we’ll be looking to expand into other European cities. Our current vehicles aren’t allowable in certain other cities so the expansion has to wait until our new ones are ready.

No cities are mentioned by name, but according to Dunne they’ll have a “million-plus catchment” with “river or sea access through historical areas”. So, pretty much every European city then.

Why crowd funding though?

Well, we’re very customer friendly, and we’d like to think we’re an integral part of Dublin’s landscape at this stage.
So rather than traditional banking routes, we thought it would be interesting to give other people the opportunity to get on board.
The structure is also very important to us, this kind of loan offers both very favourable terms and flexibility. So, given how seasonal our business is, we can move forward with the project outside the summer months when we’re at our busiest.

Meanwhile, Peter O’Mahony of Linked Finance sees the announcement as a “milestone” for both them and peer lending in Ireland in general.

“It’s a milestone also in the development of an innovative company,” he said.

The speed with which businesses like Viking Splash can secure loans from us will mean no delays in the completion of their new amphibious vehicle.

Read: Central Bank asked to watch the state fund for small businesses like a hawk

Read: The Viking Splash Tour fell foul of the clampers

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