Source: Rogue

Rogue plans to use the cash raised to target retailers nationwide

Jam and chutney maker Rogue has finally launched its first crowdfunding campaign to pursue its ambition of becoming the UK’s “most popular preserve brand”.

The Welsh startup, which participated in an accelerator programme co-ordinated by Seedrs in the summer, was due to hit the platform last October, seeking £150k.

After losing the backing of a major investor, however, Rogue was forced to delay its launch.

It has now also lowered the amount it is seeking to £100k, offering a 13% stake for a £650k valuation.

“We thought a potential investor was going to back us and when that didn’t happen it really scuppered our plans,” said founder Asher Flowers. 

“We have now revised our forecast to a more sustainable and conservative rate of growth and we have changed the valuation accordingly.”

He continued: “I have started this business with £350 from a little terraced house in the valley in Wales. I don’t have family or friends that I can rely on for funding but I was able to build up everything from scratch.

“If we were able to turn over around £30k starting from £350, imagine what we could do with £100k.”

The funds raised would go towards growing stock levels, hiring additional staff and scaling marketing activities to “get Rogue out there in the world”.

Launched in 2018 from Flowers’ mother’s kitchen, Rogue’s eight-strong handmade marmalades and chutneys – featuring flavours such as Espresso Martini, Negroni and Spiced Carrot – have already caught the attention of major retailers.

From September 2019 to January 2020, three SKUs were launched in Sainsbury’s as part of the supermarket’s Taste of the Future initiative. The brand is due to launch on Ocado in Q1.

The startup however failed to secure a permanent listing with Sainsbury’s following the 14-week trial as it did not have enough capital “to make the most of the launch”, Flowers said.

“We had a lot of insight into our customers, their demographic and what else they buy, which is really going to help us develop our proposition,” he added.

“However, I feel like we couldn’t do the best job because we didn’t have everything in line from a financial perspective, but we are very thankful for the experience and the learnings we had from it.”