Petfood subscription service Butternut Box has raised a further £280m as it seeks to solidify its position as Europe’s largest fresh dogfood player.

The fundraising was led by new investor General Atlantic, the global private equity player also invested in UK-based Gymshark. It was joined in the round by existing Butternut Box investor L Catterton.

The petfood player had raised over £100m to date since its launch in 2016 from a variety of non-trade investors including L Catterton, White Star Capital, Five Seasons Ventures and HSBC.

Terms of the fundraise were not revealed, but it is believed to value Butternut Box at over £500m.

It said this latest investment would be used to build on strong trading momentum that has seen it grow into Europe’s largest fresh dogfood brand and operating across the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and most recently Poland.

Butternut Box plans to use this funding to accelerate its leadership position across the fresh category through further European expansion, including the development of a new European manufacturing facility.

The planned facility will be the second of its kind for Butternut Box after Rudies Kitchen, a fully integrated manufacturing and fulfilment facility that opened in March 2021, which gave the firm complete control over its emissions production.

Kevin Glynn, co-founder of Butternut Box, said the brand was “just at the starting line” in terms of the development of fresh dogfood. “We are incredibly excited by what this investment will unlock for our customers (dogs and humans) in the years to come as we are nothing without them,” he said.

Fellow co-founder David Nolan added: “Everyone here is driven by a uniting purpose to deliver health and happiness to all dogs, everywhere. This investment will help us take the next leap forward in doing just that.”

Melis Kahya Akar, MD and head of consumer for EMEA at General Atlantic, added: “There is an immense opportunity set across the fresh petfood category in EMEA, and we believe Butternut Box is well positioned to leverage its digitally enabled business model to meet this growing demand.

“We look forward to utilising our pet expertise and technology capabilities to support the company through its next chapter of growth.”

Howard Steyn, a partner at L Catterton, commented: “While we have long had conviction in the UK fresh category after investing behind this concept in the US, we’ve been particularly impressed by how Butternut Box continues to innovate and deliver such compelling value to its customers. We look forward to leveraging our global experience in the pet category to support the brand’s next phase of growth.”

The group, which delivers freshly prepared meals for dogs to customers’ doors, had grown sales to almost £35m in its last filed accounts for 2021 – up 51% year on year.

As well as a core meals range of 12 fresh recipes, it also sells a growing selection of treats, chews and supplements.

Completion of the latest fundraising is subject to customary regulatory conditions and is expected to occur in Q4 2023.