A look at Seedrs’ and Crowdcube’s latest strategic movements and the F&B businesses that dominated their platforms last month
straight & narrow
Straight & Narrow is seeking to help fund its launch during Dry January 2022

Once again, food and beverage dominated UK crowdfunding platforms Crowdcube and Seedrs, with alcohol alternatives, snack foods and DTC delivery and subscription models heavily featured throughout November.

The crowdfunding model has become so popular and sought after that both platforms made major moves in recent weeks to expand into new markets and gain investment of their own.

On 1 December, Seedrs announced it was being acquired by North American private investment platform Republic for $100 million.

The move will enable both parties to establish cross-Atlantic private investment opportunities.

The newly merged group will focus on expanding across Europe while entering into new markets and bringing new investment offerings like crypto and real estate to the Seedrs platform.

Meanwhile, Crowdcube closed its own £10 million funding round in November, led by Circle Internet Financial, the owner of US-based crowdfunding platform SeedInvest.

Clearly, both platforms have ambitions to grow outside of the UK and replicate their investment model elsewhere.

The news comes eight months after both parties proposed a tie-up that was ultimately blocked by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority.

However, it has yet to be seen whether the current format for companies to crowdfund on either site will change, so for now here’s a round-up of food and beverage start-ups that listed in November.

In a recent NutritionInvestor webinar, Crowdcube senior equity fundraising manager Shanaya Curtis provided more insight into the crowdfunding model and how the UK nominee system favours the model, while US regulations will likely pose a challenge.

Bang! Curry: £150,000 target

Curry kit brand Bang! Curry is capitalizing on the UK’s love of South Asian food, while also providing a quick and easy direct-to-consumer cooking solution that can be ready to eat on half and hour.

The company has grown its revenue by 600% since 2019 and has over 200,000 units in the UK in the last seven years.  

Bang! Curry is listed on Holland & Barrett’s and Whole Foods Market’s online stores in the UK and Amazon in the UK and EU.

The campaign had hit 100% of its £150,000 target on Crowdcube at the time of writing.

In 2019, it raised £183,610 in an initial Crowdcube listing which enabled the start-up to move from DTC to retail.

Offering investors a 6.67% equity share on a £2.10 share price, the company was valued at £2.1 million prior to listing.

Capital raised will go towards scaling sales and developing new products.

Black Bee Honey: £150,000 target (oversubscribed)

Carbon neutral honey brand Black Bee Honey is seeking investment to fund its next stage of growth.

Valued at £1.95 million, the company had raised 139% of its £150,000 target at the time of writing.  

Black Bee is another company on its second Crowdcube campaign, after closing a successful funding round in 2017.

It has big sustainability ambitions from how and where it sources ingredients, to packaging and distribution.

After securing a listing with Amazon’s start-up Vendor programme, the company grew its Amazon sales by 220% in 2020.

The company says it is in early discussions with a number of national retailers in the UK and expects to secure new listings in the next 12 months.

Black Bee is offering investors up to 9.72% equity at a share price of £0.61. Its 2020/21 sales grew 135% year-on-year, reaching £348,000.

Capital raised will be spent on new product development and establishing an international sales strategy.

The Real Olive Company: £200,000 target (oversubscribed)

This Mediterranean snack brand has ambitions to grow its team, its product range and its geographical reach with the capital it is raising on Crowdcube.

At the time of writing, the company had surpassed its £200,000 target by 130% with investment from 391 participants.

Founded in 1998, the business has recently gained traction among health and environmentally-conscious consumers in the UK.

Former Innocent Drinks and Pukka Herbs finance executive Edward Gardiner joined the business as COO in 2019 to grow its retail presence and drive its sustainable and healthy messaging.

Its ecommerce offering has 31,600 customers registered, while products are also stocked in Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Ocado, Wholefoods and Planet Organic.

New funds will drive a major sales and marketing push to help secure new retail and foodservice listings across the UK and internationally.

The Real Olive Company is offering 4.97% equity on a £0.50 share price. It’s  pre-money valuation was £5 million.

Straight & Narrow: £150,000 (oversubscribed)

On Seedrs, Straight and Narrow has sought to raise £150,000 to fund the launch of its zero-alcohol spirits selection in time for Dry January 2022.

The concept was coined during the 2019 Covid-19 lockdown after CEO Jason Stoneham realised his alcohol consumption had increased and very few zero-alcohol alternatives were on the market.

This year, the company approached a number of retailers to stock it’s ready-to-drink offering once it becomes available in January.

Nigel Broadhurst, ex-managing director for Iceland Frozen Foods, has joined the firm as a non-executive director, while Stoneham has a strong FMCG background including a stint at Life Health Foods Europe.

At the time of writing, the campaign was 165% oversubscribed with 13 days left. A 15.53% equity share is being offered up to retail investors at a share price of £9.

The company was valued at £900,000 pre-fundraise.

Straight and Narrow’s business model includes selling complementary alcohol-free brand at a 10-15% margin, including German Pils Krombacher.

White-label products will also be developed for potential commercial partners.

Capital raised will be re-invested in product development, PR and marketing, operations and distribution costs and salaries and expenses.

Heart and Soul Nuts: £110,000 target

Nut butters continue to perform well among the Millennial and Gen Z demographics as a healthy and protein-heavy snack option.

Independent peanut butter maker Heart and Soul Nuts has sought to raise £110,000 on Seedrs to increase its brand awareness, acquire new customers and expand into new nut-based products.

Heart and Soul’s peanut butters are currently sold on Amazon, while the start-up is aiming to gain listings in Holland & Barrett and Tesco in 2022.

It also distributes with a number of independent farm shops and retailers and has sold over 20,000 since its launch in March 2020.

The company is offering investors on the platform 10.89% of its equity at a share price of £1.80. At the time of writing the campaign was 84% subscribed with 6 days left on the listing.

Heart and Soul’s pre-money valuation is £900,000.

Date published: 3 December 2021

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