Mindful Chef

Crowdfunding appetite for food and drink startups was undiminished in 2017 as more businesses than ever in the sector pitched for growth capital, according to figures from Crowdcube.

Fundraising in the sector made up almost 20% of the total £130m pledged on the site last year, with 41 food and drink businesses securing £23m.

It compared with 36 pitches gaining £22.8m of investment in 2016, though £10m of this came from a bond issue by BrewDog, the largest-ever raise on a UK crowdfunding platform.

The average funding round for food and drink on Crowdcube in 2017 was £561,000, compared with £633,000 the year before. It was another record year for the platform overall as 328 companies raised £130m, a rise of 19% on 2016.

Crowdcube hosted 32 funding rounds that raised more than £1m, including recipe kit business Mindful Chef, which smashed its £1m target in less than a week in October, and gin and whisky maker Lakes Distillery, which hit a £1m target in just two days in November.

“Our 490,000-strong crowd of investors continue to have a strong appetite for backing food and drink businesses,” said Crowdcube co-founder Luke Lang.

“The sector remains a firm favourite with our investors, who invested more than £23m in the sector last year alone. For the businesses, crowdfunding has the added benefit of letting consumers of food and drink products have a stake in companies they love.”

Cauli Rice also raised cash in 2017, along with Raw Halo, Wild Beer Brewery and Tribe.

However, a number of food and drink businesses collapsed. Frozen yoghurt maker Lick and gluten-free manufacturer Feel Free ceased trading in early 2017, followed by Yorkshire Meatball Co in October and luxury milkshake brand Mr Sherick’s Shakes in December.

Rival platform Seedrs also saw a rise in food and drink campaigns in 2017, with 24 pitches raising £10.7m in the sector. It compared with £7.9m from 14 campaigns in 2016. In total, £125m was invested across Seedrs last year, with 168 deals funded from 17 different sectors.

Latin American-inspired sauce brand Capsicana this week beat its £200,000 Crowdcube target, with 291 investors pledging £226,000 in return for a 10.2% stake, valuing the business at over £2m.