Growth Stories

Growth Stories


Sometimes you find that opportunity and everything up until that point – the experience you’ve gained, the hard yards you’ve done – was just the preparation…well that’s how it happened for Dan Luper and Tom Jeffrey, co-founders of Wave Direct.

Dan’s background was in product sourcing from China, and Tom had 10 years’ experience in e-commerce, becoming head of e-commerce for a high growth men’s fashion retailer.

Dan was sourcing inflatable hot tubs for one of his online catalogue customers and shared with Tom just how popular the product was. From that conversation, their business – Wave Direct – was born and founded in Newcastle.

They tested the market in 2018 in their spare time, with an initial container order of 100 inflatable hot tubs, which sold-out immediately. In 2019, they placed a bigger order, which again sold out instantly. With such clear demand and weak competition, they jumped on the opportunity to create a fresh new brand for hot tubs, Wave Spa’s, stepping away from their full-time jobs in late 2019.

The pandemic – and lockdown demand – really turbocharged the business, with revenues up to £10m for the year 2020, leading Tom and Dan to take their first steps into international expansion in the US and also launching a new stand-up paddle board (SUP) brand, Wave Sup’s.

And that’s when conversations with Growth Partner began, leading to an investment in March 2021.

Why we love Wave Direct

You couldn’t wish to meet two more passionate entrepreneurs, whose skills and experience create a unique synergy for their business.

Dan and Tom have a vision to establish a leading global brand for leisure and outdoor products and that vision is now well underway.

Looking ahead…

The Wave team grew significantly in 2021 and 2022 and they have continued to develop their award-winning Wave Spa range while launching the Wave SUPs brand and also trialling other new products which will be launched throughout 2023.

Wave has expanded overseas via launching e-commerce sites in targeted territories – principally the US to date, with Canada and EU territories continuing to be a priority for 2023, working with local partners for warehousing and fulfilment on a territory-by-territory basis.

“Two things I’d say specifically that makes Growth Partner different to, and better than, other investment options.   First, when things are challenging – like they were for us last year when we were experiencing Pandemic-related sourcing issues - you’re never looking over your shoulder and they are right there to support. Unlike private equity, Growth Partner aren’t chasing a number over a short or specific period of time, they are focused on working with us to build real value for the long term.   Second, when you partner with Growth Partner, they really are a partner, and you become part of a family of other like-minded businesses and entrepreneurs; your support network grows overnight.”
Tom Jeffrey, Co-founder of Wave Direct
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