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July 6, 2022

Poolwerx: Global Pool Service Uniquely Delivered

swimming pool

A backyard pool is one of the most complex and technical parts of a home, and the maintenance and service it requires are often overwhelming to a homeowner. A backlog of pool construction during COVID-19 has only increased the demand for professional services. According to the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), sales of new residential pools grew 24 percent overall in 2020, a historic spike driven by the pandemic. The need for high-quality pool maintenance and services will continue to grow in the coming years, and from our experience, we believe branded, well-run service platforms should be able to seize on that opportunity.

Our Investment in Poolwerx

Norwest has deep experience partnering with industry-leading home services brands (such as junk removal franchisor Junk King), and we have grown to appreciate just how large the total addressable market is for pool services through our investment in Swimply. We are very excited to announce our partnership with Poolwerx, a global franchise pool service brand based in Brisbane, Australia and Dallas, Texas. We are leading an equity investment in the company.

We are thrilled to partner with founder John O’Brien and build on his 30-year legacy with Poolwerx. As partners, we will help John and his team differentiate in a fragmented industry. The Poolwerx team’s relentless drive, sound business judgment and strong operational skills have enabled the company to distinguish itself, and we are eager to capitalize on that advantage.

Poolwerx founder and CEO John O’Brien in front of a Poolwerx retail store.
Poolwerx founder and CEO John O’Brien in front of a Poolwerx retail store.

A Unique – and Very Effective – Hub-and-Spoke Model

Poolwerx’s success can largely be traced to its unique distribution model. The company deploys a hub-and-spoke model to deliver a multi-faceted offering to pool owners. Poolwerx franchise partners leverage their retail stores as the “hubs.” The hub clientele are primarily do-it-yourself customers who purchase pool supplies, such as chemicals and equipment and seek expert advice. Franchise partners then leverage vans as the “spokes,” bringing certified technicians to local pools where “do-it-for-me” customers need service.

This two-pronged model has been instrumental to the company’s success, and we found this approach to be unique in a market where competitors focus on only one of the strategies or the other.
While Poolwerx started in Australia nearly 30 years ago, the company’s recent push into the U.S. market will drive growth in a geography with millions of serviceable backyards.

Leveraging Our Experience with Home Services Success

Poolwerx has several attributes that remind us of our investment thesis when we partnered with Junk King and helped their system become the leading technology-driven provider in a traditionally low-tech industry. Like Junk King, Poolwerx has industry-leading brand recognition, a system situated in a highly fragmented market, and a franchisor model that deploys a highly trained and organized field team in a largely unprofessional industry. By relying on a thoughtful playbook, Poolwerx is poised to bring pool health to families and commercial operations across the U.S. market.

We and the Poolwerx management team are excited about the future. In the words of Poolwerx founder and CEO John O’Brien: “This partnership will have a huge impact on the growth opportunities for our U.S. operations. While our leadership team and day-to-day operations will remain the same, we are expecting to see a big impact on the footprint and size of our brand.”

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