Frozen ready meals start-up Stocked has won backing from Steven Bartlett following an appearance on tonight’s Dragons’ Den.
The brand, which makes chef-cooked meals frozen into space-saving blocks, secured a £50k investment in return for a 6% stake, valuing Stocked at just more than £800k.
Founders Sam Moss and Charlie Gilpin will use the funds to support a launch into the retail channel and create more NPD.
“It was a surreal and amazing experience having grown up watching the show”, Moss said. “We couldn’t have picked a better Dragon to work with. Steven has an incredibly strong background in nutrition and marketing, so we can’t wait to start working together.
“The partnership will allow us to develop a retail product to bring our mission to a whole new audience.”
Moss partnered with his childhood friend Gilpin, a private chef, to launch the business in 2021, starting out cooking their meals in a family home kitchen before moving to using a pie kitchen after hours.
The pair have since created dozens of recipes, including the likes of chicken tinga, pork rendang, beef chilli and harissa jackfruit, cooked in small batches using fresh ingredients and reputably sourced British meat. Stocked also pledged that at least 50% of its range would always be plant-based.
Stocked’s innovation is the space-efficient, easily portioned blocks created to save room in freezers and avoid food waste, with meals ready in as little as five minutes.
In 2023, the business secured investment to grow the team and move into a new kitchen in north west London, and also extended the brand with a kid friendly range of low salt and no additives recipes.
Stocked sold more than 400,000 of its blocks last year, growing 300% and hitting an annualised run rate in excess of £1m.
A further £1m funding round is planned for the summer to support continued product development.
“We wondered what it would be like if we got rid of the rules around food,” Moss added. “Why should we let our portion sizes be determined by someone else when it comes to convenience food? Ready meals are far too one-size-fits-all and we’re here to change that.”