Asti Wagner & John Vincent Invyted-01

John Vincent and Asti Wagner

Leon co-founder John Vincent has made a move into influencer marketing, by taking a “significant stake” in the food-focused social media influencer platform Inbited.

The platform, which was founded by food influencer Asti Wagner in December 2022, will relaunch under the name Invyted with the aim of expanding into new sectors after initially soft launching solely in the food and hospitality sector. 

Vincent, who has made the investment as part of his venture capital business The Longhouse, will join as an executive partner. He will help guide Invyted’s commercial direction and growth, which includes expanding into sectors beyond food and hospitality.

The platform enables businesses to post opportunities or invitations to a vetted database of influencers, who can then agree to relevant pitches or opportunities. It solves two main problems for food business owners, the pair told The Grocer. 

“One is businesses not having enough revenue and not being able to tell enough people about what they’re doing,” said Vincent. “Two, the admin hassle of having to do that when you have to contact and find all these different influencers and liaise with them for logistics.”

Wagner, who has more than 48,000 follows across her Instagram account @eatwithast and TikTok, said the benefit for influencers was helping them more easily deal with what can be an “overwhelming” amount of requests and invitations.

The platform also enables business owners to track the total reach and social impact of any influencer campaign. Invyted already has access to Facebook and Instagram insights, and has been approved for TikTok, which will go live next month.

Influencers can sign up for free, but must have at least 10,000 followers to be registered with Invyted. Businesses are then charged a flat rate for every visit organised through the platform, but can sign up for additional monthly subscriptions to access more features.

Wagner said the business had chosen to rebrand to Invyted ahead of a planned expansion of the platform to target new sectors beyond food and hospitality, including music venues, cinemas and beauty salons. Invyted is also targeting a US launch by the end of the year.

Vincent said he wanted to invest in businesses that “keep real world experiences alive”, and helped people that have developed products share those with customers.

“I just see the potential of it to be able to go to New York and LA. And actually, I think it could be quite a lot of fun, too,” Vincent told The Grocer.

Invyted is Vincent’s latest investment following the £100m sale of Leon, the fast food chain he cofounded alongside Henry Dimbleby and Allegra McEvedy in 2004, to Asda-owners EG Group in 2021.

The first, a vegan and gluten-free cookie franchise called The After School Cookie Club, is set to open three new sites in London later this year. Currently it has two, in Boxpark Croydon and Boxpark Shoreditch, but is targeting new units near Borough Market and Victoria Station, alongside a third an as yet unconfirmed location.

Vincent has also invested in launching Ava, a food hall-cum-incubator for plant-based food brands, and is currently looking for a suitable site. He has described the concept as akin to Eataly London, the Italian food hall in Broadgate.

“By right it could be 20,000 sq ft and the challenge in London is finding something that big,” Vincent said. “We might have to start looking outside [London], because it is quite big.”