About the company

Modern Rugs is the UK’s leading dedicated online rug retailer. The company, which is based in a 5,000 sq ft facility at Aycliffe Business Park, County Durham, offers an extensive selection of rugs in over 20,000 different design and size combinations catering for all tastes and markets and with prices ranging from below £50 to over £1,000.

Its market-leading website, which includes innovative features such as unique “feel-the-pile” product videos, has enabled it to remain firmly ahead of the competition. The company sells over 25,000 rugs per year to a customer base consisting of domestic and trade clients and the interior design industry. It also operates the Sisal Rugs online store.

PHD Equity Partners and Enterprise Ventures backed the £3.2m management buy-in by Martin Tragen and Mike Seery. Martin becomes Managing Director, taking operational control and Mike assumes a Non-Executive role.

The structure of the deal allows the founder Ben Dale to release capital from the business, hold an equity stake whilst continuing to drive the business forward as Commercial Director.
Ben set up Modern Rugs in 2004 as a marketing graduate using contacts introduced to him by his parents Peter and Sue, who ran a carpet wholesale business in Bishop Auckland.

Martin, spent 19 years as FD of Timpsons, during which time he oversaw the disposal of the shoe retail business and the growth of the shoe repair business from 165 to over 800 outlets. Since leaving Timpsons he has been involved in a number of turnaround projects, the most recent being the Total Fitness gym chain.

Mike Seery, the former head of corporate recovery at KPMG in the North West, is investing alongside Martin Tragen and will Chair the business.


  • Investment Company

    Modern Rugs
  • Type of Investment

    Development Capital/Cash Out
  • Investment Amount

  • Date of Investment

    Dec 2014

Investment rationale

Having been introduced to Ben by Martin and Mike eighteen months ago, we immediately like this successful business. By building on the well-developed customer proposition we believe accelerated growth will come from brand strengthening, online development, premium marketing positioning, and continued operational excellence.

PHD Contact