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Food startup: 5 top-tips to build your food business

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Since I’ve started building Crowdfooding almost 2.5 years ago, I believe I’ve been engaging with more than 2,000 food and drink entrepreneurs from all over the world and I spend a great amount of time advising quite a few of them on a daily basis (and I love it). Thus, since I’ve been asked by many food entrepreneurs to share some tips about building a food business, I’ve decided to capture the five most important pieces of advice I often find my self giving to very early stage startups.

1.Focus on the product and keep it simple

Get busy in your kitchen make small batches and go out to make people trying your product. Product is the king, so spend the least possible time developing the rest (eg. branding, packaging, IP protection). I’m not saying those aren’t important, but at the beginning it’s not your priority. And yes, when you start you don’t need an expensive commercial kitchen to begin with or professional tools. Remember you need to validate whether you can make a product people want.

2. Start selling from day 1 & ask for feedback

The best (and only) validation for your product is sales. Start from the low hanging fruits: your friends, colleagues, neighbours are the best beta testers for your product. Once you feel you’ve created something people may like, get a stall at a local market to scale your test by selling your products to as many strangers as you can.

3. Be obsessed with gathering data

Data is your compass for making informed decisions. Ask all the people who try your product for their email address. Then build a simple survey (eg. using Google forms or Typeform) and send it to all the people who get to try your product, that’s the only way you can ensure you can improve your product by capturing their feedback.

Extra tip: Usually tech people are pretty good at collecting data, if you have a geek friend ask her/him to help you out with it 😉

4. Review feedback and be ready to go back to the drawing board

Put your (best) ‘I don’t take it personally’ hat on and be completely open in this process, I know it’s your baby but in order to succeed in this game you need to develop a product that people love and (more importantly) want to keep buying. Once you have a new version of it, send/give it to all your customers and ask for more feedback. You need to be prepared to ‘lose money to make money’: send samples, attend events to learn from fellow entrepreneurs and use every occasion you have to tell your story.

5. Success = selling + building your own tribe

Embracing selling early on is of pivotal importance. Understandably, most food entrepreneurs feel more at ease in their kitchen but with no sales they just can’t keep producing their products, right? Ultimately you’re the best person to sell it…if you think about it, none knows the recipe, how good are the ingredients you put in it, and so on, better than you do.

It’s never too early to start building your community so do the following:

  • Collect contact details for all your beta testers or any person who gets to try your products
  • Open a Facebook/Twitter/Instagram page for your business and use it to show your progresses
  • Focus on building your community and foster it day after day with tons of content (eg. pictures of your latest batch of goodies, quote from friends, article with the latest trend of your industry, interview of your favorite entrepreneur)

You’ll be surprise about how active and engaged people become when you feed them with fresh content on social media every day 😉

Additional things to consider (thanks Julia from Nix&Kix & Tessa for your words of wisdom), especially for those developing CPGs (consumer package goods):

  • Think about scale and COGS (cost of goods) early on: to successfully approach retailers you want to have a decent manufacturing capacity to (at least to fulfill their orders) and can offer interesting margins to list your products
  • Don’t try to create new categories or rush into super-new ones: it’s easier to improve products within already established categories. Try to leverage the big guys’ publicity in your favor, ‘educating’ consumers is usually very expensive

To this end, as part of Crowdfooding’s offering for startups, we’re helping entrepreneurs with their marketing efforts by enabling them to sell their products through our ‘sales booster’ — to learn more visit Crowdfooding.co.uk or email us at info@crowdfooding.co

DISCLAIMER: This list is based on my experience interacting with a bunch of food entrepreneurs. Since I’ve never built a food business myself, I might have missed important points in this list.

Wavey Ice: The Journey So Far

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Alex Situnayake, founder of Wavey Ice, shares his journey so far:

I got the idea in my head that crowdfunding could be an option when I got back from Barcelona at the end of September last year. I didn’t really know what to do next and I had no money left! My options were either seek private investment or go down the crowdfunding route. I initially decided that I’d look for private investment as, at the time, it seemed like the easier option! I quickly realised that no investors would get behind a brand with no solid sales figures or financial projections and I realised I would feel uncomfortable with people investing in a brand that had no proven track record! After a few conversations with various people the crowdfunding path began to make more sense. It would allow me to really gauge interest in the brand and get some solid figures under my belt before coming up with a proper a pitch deck to present to investors in the future.

I started properly planning the campaign at the beginning of January without knowing yet which platform I would be using to host the campaign. I filmed a quick teaser video with my friend Ben and sent it out to all my contacts explaining what my plans were for the crowdfunding. I got a great response back which made it clear in my mind that this was the right thing to do.

We began filming the campaign video without much hesitation and I started putting various different mailing lists together and compiling all my contacts! If there’s one thing I’ve definitely learned from all this so far it’s that organization is absolute key.

I think I’d spoken to Alessio from Crowdfooding previously via The Food Hub group on Facebook and we’d spoken about crowdfunding. I told him about my plans and that I was still undecided on which platform to use. He suggested using the Crowdfooding platform to host the campaign and after going down to meet the guys in Camden I decided this would be the best option to go for in order to maximize the chances of success for the project!

I’ve learned a lot from working with the Crowdfooding guys and one of the main reasons I chose to go with them was the additional support they were offering me. The success of a crowdfunding campaign is basically determined by the amount of work you put in before you even launch it. Reaching out to your network, contacting blogs, sampling events etc. I don’t think I could’ve pulled this off as effectively if I was going at it alone!

After months of planning, MailChimp emails and countless Google Hangouts we were finally ready to launch my campaign. Being in Birmingham I decided the best place to host the launch party would be here in the city. I managed to sort out a booze sponsor through a friend from Wray & Nephew and booked a relatively well known rapper to come and perform at the party! I knew this would bring a big crowd in. We got a great turnout on the night and it was such a good feeling hosting a successful event in the city I was born in. Although I think most people were there for the free booze rather than to support the campaign!

It’s been mad ups and downs since the launch of the campaign. I had it in my head that we’d get funded straight away but that’s obviously very rarely the case with these things. It feels weird asking people to basically give you their money but then you realize you’re actually offering some really great rewards that you’ve worked hard on to produce. It’s a really nice feeling when your friends and family do start coming through with the pledges and it makes everything worth while!

I think the most difficult thing about the campaign so far has been literally having to drive all the traffic to the campaign myself. The only thing that put me off using the Crowdfooding platform was that it was a relatively new platform without many previous campaigns and regular visitors to the site, but it was the offer of additional support that swayed me. It’s also been difficult contacting businesses, brands, and individuals trying to get them to share the campaign or pledge money but you basically have to be relentless if you want to be successful at the end of the day.

My advice to anyone out there looking to start their own business, launch a crowdfunding project or basically chase any kind of dream would be;

Keep your head down, work hard, stay fit, stay focused, talk to your family, talk to your friends, run, get a whiteboard, push yourself out of your comfort zone every day, be passionate, stop putting things off, focus on the positive things, Instagram followers don’t equate to success, you get out what you put in and at the end of the day only YOU can make things happen.

Top-tips series: 3 ways to create buzz for your food brand

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Crowdfooding has partnered with Jess Bailey from Crowdfund 360 to feature a series of ‘social media tips for busy foodpreneurs’  – where we share some tricks from real life foodie startup founders and advice on building your own brand on social media.

Brand buzz is clearly an essential part of crowdfunding, after all, as the name suggests you need a crowd to crowdfund! But sometimes it’s hard to get your crowd to engage. A social media following of 5,000 looks great at first glimpse but if none of them are liking your posts or sharing your content, they probably also aren’t going to give you their money.

So here are our top three tips for creating brand buzz:

Extra tips for creating (even) more buzz:

  • Don’t focus on selling your product. As counter intuitive as this sounds, focus instead on making the customer feel good about themselves. For this, just think and follow Innocent Smoothies. They basically covered the whole of Eurovision and mentioned smoothies only once or twice. Sometimes I see them appear on my social feeds and they tell me I’m going to need an umbrella today, low and behold I look out and it’s raining. They rarely sell me their product directly, but they humour, inform and entertain, so that they stay in my mind and take the place of the most friendly, helpful smoothie brand out there.

  • Draw out the suspense and build on it. Do not give away all your cards in one go. Show teaser videos, show reactions to something, countdown until a launch date. Give the audience as many reasons as possible to think and ask “what is this? I want to be a part of it”. Take a look here at how WavyIce built up the suspense for their crowdfunding campaign.

If you want to learn more about how to turbocharge your food business with crowdfunding visit Crowdfooding or email info@crowdfooding.co to get started.

For more info about how to run a crowdfunding campaign contact Jess at info@crowdfund-360.com

What have we been up to at Crowdfooding ?

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And here we are…a little more than 1 year ago, we were launching Crowdfooding in London, time is flying !

Back then, our goal was to help food entrepreneurs raising capital through crowdfunding. Is it still the case ? Well, yes, but our ultimate mission evolved over time as we want to bring together food entrepreneurs, passionate foodies and established food organizations to create meaningful relationships and foster food innovation.

There have been many learnings, encounters, & events that have helped us to realise that we can stretch beyond this.

We started the platform with the idea that raising capital was the biggest struggle for food startups, and that connecting them with the relevant investors through equity crowdfunding was the best approach.

We quickly learned that most entrepreneurs who have approached us were simply not ready for equity crowdfunding. Either they were struggling getting their first sales in, were often tied to one distributor without any perspective to scale, had very little following and engagement on social media, or just didn’t know how to handle their marketing. In other words, we realised a good chunk of them were not investment ready.


That’s why we decided to also introduce reward crowdfunding as a way for startups to validate the market, build a community of early adopters and wrap their head around their marketing strategy and messaging. We certainly acknowledge that crowdfunding isn’t just a way to raise funds, it’s a real marketing exercise that requires strategic thinking, creativity, time and full dedication. Startups running a successful reward crowdfunding campaign are not only creating a much more engaging relationship with new customers and building up their brand identity but most and foremost, gaining more credibility towards future potential investors.

To this end, since February, we also have been allowing startups to simply sell products on our platform, through what we call the ‘sales booster’. The idea behind it is to help very early stage companies who may not even have an e-commerce website, to drive their first sales, or to provide an extra sales channel to the more established startups, where they can have the flexibility to test and validate new products with our community of foodies.

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 09.40.43

Another discovery we made is that the London startup scene is geographically very fragmented. There is no space identified as the place to be for food entrepreneurs, food corporations and other food organisations to meet & interact through events, collaborate, or even create together. This led us to realise there was a need for a Food Innovation Hub. Back in November, we started pitching the idea to food corporations from our network. Not only the idea was well received, but it validated the point that not only startups need corporates to scale up, but food corporates have a real need for startup collaboration in order to innovate. Read article

Having a physical space would be an excellent way to facilitate these interactions, and we are now in the process of securing a venue in central London, to open during the Summer. Stay tuned !

As a matter of fact, our first ‘success story’, the Chocothon campaign, was all about collaboration.  It created a collaboratory that was able to bring together smaller producers like Tony’s Chocolonely and Dark Sugars, consumers, and chocolate industrials like Barry callebaut and Nestle to hack for the future of chocolate! We used our crowdfunding platform to finance this open innovation project, therefore reinforcing the collaborative aspect of it.

There are several other ways for which corporates could leverage crowdfunding; whether for market validation or consumer engagement, as well as a way to identify acquisition opportunities, or running call for ideas. We are currently working with some of our corporate partners on crowdfunding and startup scouting activities.

So what’s next ? Our permanent team has now grown to 6 people, and with a few new crowdfunding campaigns in the pipeline, new startups joining our sales booster every week, and the Food Innovation Hub to open this Summer, we are quite confident that you will hear a lot more about us in the next few months 😉

Stay in touch !

The Crowdfooding Team.

Learn more about our services:

=> Crowdfunding platform

=> Online offering for startups

=> Online offering for corporates

=> Food Innovation Hub

#LAUNCHFood Forum Recap – San Francisco

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Last week our founder Alessio D’Antino flew to San Francisco to take part of LAUNCH Food Forum, a fantastic global open innovation program for innovators, entrepreneurs, or intrapreneurs with big ideas for improving health outcomes by enabling people to make healthy food choices. Founded in 2009 by NASA, US agency for International Development (USAID), Australian AID, US Department of State and Nike Inc, LAUNCH has tackled various challenges in water, health, sustainable chemistry and more. The 2017 LAUNCH Food Forum aimed at supporting an amazing group of 12 innovators from all over the world. In order to support these entrepreneurs with further developing their business, they have created LAUNCH Food Council: a strong group of 50 experts, strategists and decision-makers from across the food system who are committed to helping create a healthier world through innovation.

He was invited to join the Forum as a Council Member and had been asked to provide feedback, suggestions, and offers of support in five key areas: capital, capacity, connectivity, credibility, and creativity.

The crowd was a mix of incredible entrepreneurs, investors, intrapreneurs, key thought leaders from the academic world, as well as numerous representatives from top-notch NGO’s.  It’s been a unique opportunity to meet, all at once, such fascinating people from organizations like NASA, Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, WWF, IKEA, USAID just to name a few to explore what the future of food could look like .

Meet the 2017 LAUNCHFood global innovators below:

  1. Dipika Matthias: Coffee Flour is a nutritionally dense flour made from discarded coffee cherry pulp and skin.
  2. Beverley Postma: HarvestPlus has developed staple food crops enriched to provide between 25% and 100% of daily requirements for vitamin A, iron, and zinc.
  3. Jarrod Goldin: Entomo Farms makes high-quality protein products from sustainably farmed, free-range insects.
  4. Habib Saqib: Telenor Pakistan presents Telenor Mobile Agriculture, a customized mobile agriculture advisory and direct farmer-to-consumer eCommerce platform.
  5. Joanna Kane-Potaka: From ICRISAT, Smart Food is a campaign to popularize food that is good for you, the planet, and the farmer — starting with millets and sorghum.
  6. Robert Oliver and Elizabeth Powell: The world-renowned chef will lead Pacific Islands Food Revolution, a health education initiative tailored to audiences in the Pacific Islands that includes multimedia and cross-sectoral wellness campaigns.
  7. Bruce Neal: FoodSwitch is a program that helps shoppers choose better foods, industry make healthier products, and government set effective policies.
  8. Kirsty Bayliss: From Murdoch University, Breaking the Mold is a plasma-based treatment that extends the life of fresh produce by delaying mold growth.
  9. Jeremy Fryer-Biggs: Evaptainers is a robust, efficient, and low-cost refrigeration solution powered by only water and sunlight.
  10. Marc Noyce and Brendan Condon: Foodwall is a modular, user-friendly, and extremely water-efficient urban food growing system.
  11. Salah Sukkarieh: The University of Sydney has developed a data-driven digital platform connecting small-scale farmers to a global growing community while helping increase growing capacity.
  12. Tash Tan: As a selected innovator in our LAUNCH Legends challenge* for cutting-edge storytelling around public health, S1T2’s Tash Tan will develop a creative technology experience to inspire cultural movements that bring pride back to traditional healthy eating within targeted sites in the Pacific Islands.

He has summarized some personal key takeaways:

  • Food is a truly global language: it’s incredible to see so many bright minds coming together and openly sharing their visions for the future of food
  • San Francisco is still the place-to-be for understanding and anticipating food sustainability and foodtech trends (e.g restaurants serving aquaponic-grown produces, Kava bars — anyone?)
  • It’s great to see the best and brightest innovators always challenging the ‘status quo’ of our global food system and developing new solutions that can help tackle some of the biggest issues that are affecting it

To learn more see our Storify here.

Quoting what he said about it: I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I have been given to participate to #LAUNCHFood Forum and I very much look forward to further supporting this amazing group of innovators for creating a more sustainable and resilient future of food together. Thanks to all the amazing team at SecondMuse for inviting me to take part of this enriching experience.”

What if big food brands partnered up with startups to create a better food system?

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In the last few months I have been meeting a few corporate executives of multinational food companies and among all the interesting discussions I’ve had with them there is a one quote that I think is worth sharing:

“In the food industry everyone wants to get a seat in the front coach of the train. Big food brands have definitely conquered that position, the only problem is they‘ve jumped on a train that is going backwards”

We are certainly seeing a major shift in the dynamics of food today.

The big guys all seem to be too slow and perhaps enslaved to shareholders to innovate but they may be too large to perish… at least for now.

On the other hand, small food brands are gaining more and more popularity among consumers to a point where they may become the next big food company.

But what if they were collaborating to create a better food system (as well as more wealth) together? What if examples of the likes of Innocent drinks (acquired by Coca-Cola) or Grom (acquired by Unilever) will become the norm?

Big food corporates can enable scale for smaller food brands

For a small brand it will mean:

  • Tapping into the enormous production, marketing and branding infrastructure
  • Improving margins through more efficient production and sourcing
  • Accessing to greater distribution routes products can easily slip into existing distribution routes → resulting in greater impact

For a big company it will mean:

  • Gaining access to vetted brands with a progressive consumer base
  • Avoiding the expensive process of trying to start a new brand from scratch
  • Optimizing idle manufacturing capacity

In other words if larger companies’ resources could become much more accessible by startups, the barriers to entry for smaller food brands would continue to lower. By lowering the barriers more ideas will make it to market, more consumer choice and therefore better products for everyone.

It’s no secret that consumers are demanding better, healthier and planet conscious products. If we can build an infrastructure to enable food entrepreneurs to thrive, there will be more choice and brands that create better food for people.

To this end, I’m thrilled to announce that along with some of our corporate partners we’re building the Crowdfooding Hub, a physical space in the hearth of London where startups and corporates will connect to create innovation for the food and drink industry — to learn more email us at info@crowdfooding.co

And yet It Moves! How Meat Consumption Has Changed

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Crowdfooding has partnered with Andrea Tolu, a freelance business writer for the Food&Tech sector, to feature articles from his newsletter The Circle. This week: changes in meat consumption.

When the WHO classified red meat as “probably carcinogenic,” and processed red meat as “carcinogenic” to humans, at the end of 2015, it was the ultimate final straw on a horrible year for the industry. Sales had reached their lowest point in many countries, and it seemed like its decline had finally arrived.

Like all cycles however, once you touch the bottom, the only way is up: over the next ten years, pro capita red meat consumption is bound to increase, as this graph from the 2016 OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook shows.

But while the future looks less grim for read meat, there are tell-tale signs coming from consumer behaviour (or, the picture of what is happening right now) and investment trends (or, the prediction of what will happen in the future) that things will never be the same again.

Read the full article on the Circle Newsletter: And yet It Moves! How Meat Consumption Has Changed.

The Founder Series: CF 101 — Pt 4—Why run a pre-campaign?

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Crowdfooding is proud to feature a series written by our Founder, Alessio D’Antino, introducing the basics of crowdfunding. This five-part series will highlight the drivers behind the majors decisions to be made in planning your first crowdfunding campaign.

Crowdfunding is an experimental marketing exercise and that’s why we believe is so important to have a tool (pre-campaign) to “test the water” and understand whether crowdfunding is suitable for a company before throwing them on our platform.

To do this we’ve built a piece of technology to help food entrepreneurs gauge the market appetite for their crowdfunding campaign by creating and running a pre-campaign — You can think of it as a draft of the final campaign that will run for a specific period of time allowing you to collect pre-orders and expressions of interest as well as collect feedback about the campaign proposition (e.g set of rewards to offer).

Key Benefits:

  1. Test the water without burning the opportunity of doing crowdfunding (if not ready)
  2. Activate your community early on to build momentum for the campaign
  3. Tweak the campaign based on feedback received

We are well aware crowdfunding sometimes might be scary because of the publicity that comes with it but the pre-campaign mitigates this risk by helping entrepreneurs to validate the market before kicking off their campaign.

The Founder Series: CF 101 — Pt 3—Backers vs Investors

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Crowdfooding is proud to feature a series written by our Founder, Alessio D’Antino, introducing the basics of crowdfunding. This five-part series will highlight the drivers behind the majors decisions to be made in planning your first crowdfunding campaign.

To learn more about how to define your crowdfunding model, you need to know which parties you want to involve and attract to optimize funding.

Let’s start by differentiating between backers versus investors.

Backers are your friends and family, those within your network and early customers. From a psychological point of view, backers give funds to support the business and because they are motivated to engage with them. To appeal to backers, you must clearly and effectively communicate your USP.

Investors are business angels, high net worth individuals, venture capitalists, and corporate investors. These parties are motivated purely from an financial perspective — to ensure and optimize return on investment. To appeal to investors, you must build your prototype and test it in the market before approaching any crowdfunding activity, ensuring investor confidence in returns. Onboarding investors is like a marriage — you can’t fire them so make sure you onboard the ones who can help you build the business by running due diligence.

Tip: engage with investors once you have the right bargaining power, when backers have demonstrated support and investors can take funds through to the final goal. This way, you approach investors not with a plan but solid metrics that prove market validation (e.g. recurring revenue from existing customers, gained some retail distribution, good rotation on the shelf, etc.)

With all of this in mind, we move forward with one unique feature of Crowdfooding, the pre-campaign. Part 4 of this series covers what this is and how to make use of it.

New Addition to the Team – Max Leveau!

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Still riding the tide of the exciting events happening around Crowdfooding, we have yet another thrilling announcement. We have a new team member in the Venture Associate role – Maxime Leveau!

screenshot-2016-08-15-at-10-57-05-2

Initially from a Marketing and Events Management background, Max spent a year travelling the world before spending the last 4 years at Google building corporate partnerships and customer retention programs for various products. Now that he’s ready to make the big startup move, it’s a natural fit for him at Crowdfooding based on passion for food and belief in the power of crowdfunding.

He hopes to bring his corporate experience to help innovative F&B startups get off the ground.

When he’s not cooking, eating or watching food, Max also plays the blues and run triathlons!

Food Myths Are Among Us, but There’s Still a Simple Rule We Can Follow

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Crowdfooding has partnered with Andrea Tolu, a freelance business writer for the Food&Tech sector, to feature articles from his newsletter The Circle. This week: Food Myths.

Food myths: can you recognise one when you see one?

Sometimes science is a great help, for example with the ever-popular five-second rule. A new research was published recently, reminding us that it has no scientific foundation: if you pick up food from the floor, it’s not going to be as clean as it was before you dropped it, no matter how fast your reflexes are. Bacteria have no lag time, so contamination starts as soon as food touches the floor.

Although this myth was busted several times in the past, this new research provided some insight on a more interesting aspect: is food that fell on the floor still safe to eat, although definitely not clean?

That depends on a few factors.

Type of food. Moisture, for example, is a dirt magnet: all things being equal, a piece of melon will gather way more bacteria than, say, almonds.

The type of surface.  Despite their reputation as dirt collectors, carpets offer a smaller contact area, so they tend to be less contaminated than steel or ceramics.

Time of exposure. Behind any myth there is always a little bit of truth. Contamination starts immediately, but the longer the food stays on the floor, the more bacteria it will collect.

Read the full article on the Circle Newsletter: Food Myths Are Among Us, but There’s Still a Simple Rule We Can Follow.

The Founder Series: CF 101 — Part 1 — Crowdfunding: reward or equity?

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Crowdfooding is proud to feature a series written by our Founder, Alessio D’Antino, introducing the basics of crowdfunding. This five-part series will highlight the drivers behind the majors decisions to be made in planning your first crowdfunding campaign.

In part 1 of this series, we define the two major ways of crowdfunding: reward and equity based crowdfunding.

Think of it as a beehive. Each piece of the honeycomb is built upon the former backer, culminating in an impressive formation, all contributing to one cause.

There are fundamentally two types of crowdfunding: reward-based and equity-based

Reward Crowdfunding — raise funds from the general public in exchange for insider products or services. Backers are contributing to a cause they care about and often buying into a sense of prestige, becoming part of an inner circle who are granted access to the latest in developments and releases from the startup.

Benefits: create a very engaging relationship with current and prospective customers and receive feedback about products.

Smith & Sinclair —reward crowdfunded Cocktail Confectioners

Equity Crowdfunding — raise large funding amounts from business angels or institutional investors in exchange for shares of the startup. These individuals should have added value components to bring to the table, including industry experience and expertise as well as extensive networks which can all be used to open doors to increase company’s growth.

Benefits: raise funds to ramp up business growth and onboard new shareholders who can contribute to the success of the business.

The Pressery — equity crowdfunded Super Natural Goodness

So how does a team determine which of these methods to crowdfund their project? Covered in Part 2 of CF 101.

Check out Alessio’s medium account for more thoughts on food business and crowdfunding in London.

The Founder Series: CF 101 — Pt 2— Crowdfunding Model

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Crowdfooding is proud to feature a series written by our Founder, Alessio D’Antino, introducing the basics of crowdfunding. This five-part series will highlight the drivers behind the majors decisions to be made in planning your first crowdfunding campaign.

In part 2 of the series, we dive into the how we can mix reward and equity crowdfunding to optimize your own model.

Deciding between the two crowdfunding types can be difficult. So why not make the best of both worlds and combine the two? Crowdfooding allows teams to do just that. This is particularly in specific cases where entrepreneurs want to cater their fundraising to both backers and investors. This helps to simplify their cap table, lowering the number of investors to those with the right incentives.

Making use of a combined model allows startups to reap the benefits of each type, engaging and validating with customers through reward-based funding while defining their own terms for equity funding, including how much money must be pledged in order to own shares of the business.

Since there is an innate funding target cap with reward funding, founders can unlock higher amounts of funding with the right audiences, passionate individuals or organizations with a shared care in the startup’s cause. This is particularly relevant within the UK investing scape where tax incentives have led to apathetic investors whose only interests are short term tax benefits. The right investors often bring about added value such as mentorship and networks that have potentially more impact than the funds themselves.

Think back to our beehive analogy — startups build up the foundation of their campaign on reward backers and leverage the strength to attract the equity investors they want for the terms they defined.

Our startups approach their campaigns with a balanced mix in mind and end their campaigns with real world business validation in the most real sense — the market response of who provides their funding.

To learn how to optimize your particular mix, Part 3 of CF101 will dig deeper into the definitions between the parties involved in the ecosystem.

Check out Alessio’s medium account for more thoughts on food business and crowdfunding in London.

The Entrepreneur-spiration Series: Thomson & Scott Skinny Champagne & Prosecco

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Crowdfooding has partnered with WeMeanBusiness London to feature the Entrepreneur-spiration Series – where real life foodie startup founders share their stories, tips and advice on building your own brand and business.

This month we went and met Amanda Thomson, Founder and CEO of Thomson & Scott Skinny – a portfolio of Champagne and Prosecco for the next generation of wine lovers globally who want to drink top quality sparkling wine, whilst reducing the levels of added sugar in their bottle.

Billed as “the basic bitch drink” by The Guardian this summer, Skinny Champagne and Prosecco is a god send for those that want to cut their calories while they enjoy their chilled glass of fizz.

Hallelujah I hear you cry!

Amanda’s mission is to be completely open about what we’re drinking and cut sugar where it’s not needed. Her brand is not counting calories, but sharing them for transparency, encouraging us to ask why we can’t drink better and cleaner?

The Skinny range of Champagne and Prosecco definitely answers this question, so Lesley Bambridge from We Mean Business, set out to find out more. Read the full article on the We Mean Business, London blog…

http://www.wemeanbusinesslondon.com/blog/2016/10/31/the-entrepreneur-spiration-series-thomson-scott-skinny-champagne-prosecco

 

 

Chocothon – Launches Today!

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We are incredibly excited to announce the official launch of Chocothon’s crowdfunding campaign today! The campaign kicks off with a world tour to present it to key stakeholders around the international chocolate community. Our goal is to build a more sustainable cocoa supply chain that is equipped to fulfill global demand.

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Chocothon is a joint effort led by Google Food Labs and the International Trade Centre (ITC) with knowledge support from Business School Lausanne (BSL) and the Future Food Institute (FFI), aimed at creating a shared value platform to foster sustainable Ghanaian cocoa farming. Crowdfooding is thrilled to act as technical partner, providing the platform on which the funding to support this cause can be raised. We believe crowdfunding is truly impactful in bringing out diverse levels of engagement across the audiences this campaign will touch. Coinciding with the collaborative theme throughout the Chocothon philosophy, crowdfunding aims to not only gather financial resources towards this cause but also the knowledge and expertise that can be shared and contributed.

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What can you do to help Chocothon? Spread the word to your personal network, raising awareness and heightening understanding of the problems and solutions we’re exploring in our journey.

To learn more about the cause, read The Food Rush‘s coverage of Chocothon.

The Future of Food: Meat

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Crowdfooding has partnered with Andrea Tolu, a freelance business writer for the Food&Tech sector, to feature articles from his newsletter The Circle. This week: The Future of Meat.

Meat is constantly in the middle of thorny controversies these days.

  • Cows belches contributing to global warming: check.
  • “Probably carcinogenic to humans” per the WHO: check.
  • An intensive production system that treats animals inhumanly: check.

To many, the case is big enough to make it the perfect enemy. But even for those who want to tread carefully on the debate, it’s hard to deny one very simple thing: the world consumes too much meat.

The way to convince people to eat less of it is to offer valid alternatives. In some cases, pointing at other protein sources (such as legumes and dairy) will do. For many people however, meat (and red meat in particular) is more than a source of protein, it’s an intense food experience.

In Nature’s catalogue there’s no valid plant-based substitute for that, which means someone will have to create it. Two start-ups, Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, are doing exactly that, without taking any shortcuts in the process.

Read the full article on the Circle Newsletter: A Vegan and a Meat-Eater Walk Into a Restaurant and Order a Burger…. (No, Seriously).

 

Crowdfunding for Food: Creating Space for Successful Innovation

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Something is changing in the food and beverage industry

It’s no secret that multinationals have dominated the industrial food system for years now, but the landscape is changing, and changing fast. In the past five years alone, the top 25 food and beverage companies have lost $18 billion in market share, giving way to young companies and quick growing startups. Campbell’s Soup CEO Denise Morrison estimates that over $8 billion in VC funding has gone to over 400 start-ups since 2010. At the same time, a report from US based Rosenheim Advisors shows that the UK was among the top drivers in investment and acquisition activity in the food and technology sector.

The Food + Drink Investment Landscape

Despite all indications that there is market demand for innovation in the food and drink world, it’s still not easy to get a great idea off the ground. That is why food entrepreneurs are heading to crowdfunding sites to get started. According to NESTA, in 2015 food and drink was among the top three most crowdfunded categories in the UK, taking up a fair share of the £245 million in financing through equity-based crowdfunding for seed, start-up and early-stage financing. Despite the overall growth, food and drink start-ups are still struggling to reach funding goals through crowdfunding. According to Kickstarter, one of the leading reward-based crowdfunding platforms in the US, 75% of food projects don’t reach their fundraising goals. There’s space for growth in the F&B crowdfooding sphere.

Says Mike Lee, former Innovation Manager for Accell Foods, “The future of food belongs to entrepreneurs…Crowdfooding is a platform that’s lowering barriers by making smart connections to the funding and expertise needed for ambitious F&B startups to succeed. The food system thrives when there’s a diversity of good, new ideas in the ecosystem and Crowdfooding is a way to ensure that diversity will flourish.”

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Crowdfooding does it differently

Crowdfooding wants to make successful crowdfunding more streamlined, accessible and attractive for the bright minds behind food and beverage innovation. Crowdfooding offers a one-stop shop for food entrepreneurs to raise funds throughout the development of their ventures. As both a reward and equity-based crowdfunding platform, we aim to make it easy for companies to tap into a targeted network of supporters and investors specifically interested in advancing  food-related businesses, not just at the early stages. 

A flexible and focused platform, Crowdfooding is well aware that there are strong incentives in the UK for individual investors to invest in start-ups, but we have realised that food entrepreneurs need a lot more than just capital to grow their business. While money is great, knowledge is powerful. That’s why we make sure companies understand the dynamics of crowdfunding and come fully prepared before engaging. We support our companies throughout the development of their campaign and help them deploy plans to make crowdfunding successful by offering a bespoke service to prepare, build and roll-out their campaign. On top of this, before kicking off a campaign we require companies to run a “pre-campaign” whereby they gather interest from prospective backers to validate whether crowdfunding is a suitable option for them without risking the launch of an unprepared campaign. Like the investors attracted to our platform, we want to work with young companies to get them support, financial and know-how, to fully take advantage of crowdfunding.

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But we don’t stop there. For each equity crowdfunding opportunity, Crowdfooding is enlisting an external Investment Committee specialised in venture capital financing, business analysis, technology, consumer packaged goods and nutrition. Through this, Crowdfooding aims to bridge the knowledge gap surrounding the food and drink investment process for both financiers and entrepreneurs.

We believe food is inherently community-based, gathering people around the table to enjoy the success of a bountiful harvest and well-prepared meal. Crowdfooding wants to take that community aspect from the table to the investment realm and open up a space that will help young F&B innovators thrive. This is our community, join us now on crowdfooding.co.uk!

The Future of Food: Pizza

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Crowdfooding has partnered with Andrea Tolu, a freelance business writer for the Food&Tech sector, to feature articles from his newsletter The Circle. This week: The Future of Pizza.

What’s new in pizza? The last time it made sense to ask this question was at the end of the 18th century, when people in Naples started to add tomato sauce to their flatbread, inventing pizza as we know it. After that, not much changed.

Now however, we can safely say something’s new in the pizza world, at least in the way it’s prepared and cooked, and not surprisingly the Silicon Valley has something to do with it.

3D printing, of course

How about a heart-shaped pizza with your face on it painted in cheese? That’s what 3D printer Beehex can do.

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Read the full article on the Circle Newsletter: From Naples to Mars and Back: the Future of Pizza is Here.

Chocothon: from bean to bar, creating a platform for sustainable chocolate supply

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There is an almost unparalleled satisfaction to popping a square of chocolate in your mouth and letting it dissolve slowly on the tongue. Or licking up the last of a chocolatey summer ice cream. Or savouring a dense, rich, and warm cup of hot chocolate in the winter months. But it could be that we are taking this magical elixir known as chocolate for granted. Hidden from the supermarket shelves where we purchase our everyday chocolate bars, there’s a problem plaguing the chocolate industry that could potentially lead to a shortage in cocoa, the principal ingredient in chocolate making.

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According to a 2015 report by the Cocoa Barometer, a group keeping an eye on sustainability trends in the chocolate industry, the world is running out of cocoa farmers as the current generation is reaching their life expectancy and the next generation is not stepping up to take over a trade that is keeping farmers in poverty. In West Africa, where over  . These problems seemingly need to be addressed at every level of the chocolate value chain, from farmer to manufacturer to distributor and consumer, which means giving voice to the cocoa farmers of the world and working towards a sustainable supply chain is a priority in ensuring the future of chocolate.

 

That’s where Chocothon comes in. An initiative to creating a shared value platform for sustainable Ghanaian cocoa supply chains initiated by Google Food Team and the International Trade Centre (ITC) with knowledge support from Business School Lausanne (BSL) and the Future Food Institute (FFI). Chocothon is comprised of a series of events that will take place over nine months on site in Ghana and through global collaboration. Food and Tech Connect and Food Inspiration Magazine, leading communications the food and tech worlds, are on-board as media partners and corporate representation from Nestle and Barry Callebaut bring industry expertise to the event.

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The decision to target Ghana stems from the fact that Ghana produces over 20% of the world’s cocoa, an estimated 897,000 in the year 2013/2014.  . Ghana has been deemed to have some of the best cocoa quality-wise at a global scale, yet in 2015 the average Ghanaian cocoa farmer earns around just $.84 per day. Cocoa farmers on are at the start of a long line of stakeholders in the chocolate supply chain and the West African farmer is likely to receive as little as just 3.5% to 6.4% of the final value of a chocolate bar, in contrast to a manufacturer share’s share around 70%.

Chocothon will launch its first event from January 16h to 20th and will bring together farmers, international cocoa sources, partner organisations and outside participants in an effort to empower and connect cocoa farmers, assure sustainable supply, and create new opportunities for them and other value chain stakeholders in cocoa production while reducing supply disruption risks. The first mission consists of a hackathon focused on creating innovative tech solutions for a sustainable, international cocoa supply chain; and running in parallel a training done by local beneficiaries to local farmers and companies on sustainable practices applied to the cocoa sector.

Because “true impact” is only achieved through consensus, compromise and cooperation, Chocothon will use measurable goals to Share Knowledge, Empower Producers and Connect Stakeholders. Share Knowledge works to organise crowdsourcing experiences, share technical expertise and build a community around cocoa-themed issues through a series of conferences, workshops and meetings to allow the exchange of ideas. Empower Producers means giving voice to cocoa farmers, building trust along the cocoa supply chain by helping highlight cocoa farmers suitable for sustainable cocoa production, and helping farmers to tackle the problems they face. Connect Stakeholders brings actors together to develop public online and offline tools that can engage and interest Ghanaian young people with technology expertise to develop business-ready tech prototypes and launch start-up.

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At Crowdfooding we are proud to be the supporting platform for Chocothon. It’s a one of a kind project that brings together a unique of knowledge partners from inside and outside the cocoa industry to create concrete impact for an uncertain industry. We are excited to play a role in the project’s development and believe that with Chocothon we can help create breakthrough solutions for a sustainable cocoa future and farmer empowerment through the creation. Both individuals and organisations can help contribute to the Chocothon campaign. Individuals can lend their support through donations or whereas businesses and organisations have the opportunity to contribute either with in-kind or corporate sponsorship.

Says Crowdfooding founder and CEO Alessio D’Antino, “Chocolate is at the edge of extinction and we’re very thrilled to support Chocothon in the endeavour of helping cocoa farmers to leverage technology to better manage their harvesting and improve their quality of work. In line with the open spirit of Chocothon, I strongly believe this project can harness the power of the crowd to empower any individual to do their share to keep enjoying our beloved chocolate.” When such a sweet treat is at the peril of extinction, it’s a clear sign that our current food system is in need of a haul over. Chocothon provides an opportunity to put together a one of a kind platform that will revolutionise the cocoa supply chain, making sure that the global demand is met by a supply chain that is resilient and advantageous for all shareholders, from bean to bar.

Chocothon @ Google London HQ – Oct 19, 2016

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Hi Chocolate-lovers,

It was an absolute dream come true to hold Chocothon‘s kickoff event last night at the Google London headquarters. Thomas Camenzind, Regional Food Program Manager of Google Food Lab, walked us through the overarching purpose and need behind Chocothon. We were also joined by Sandra Cabrera, Associate Market Analyst at International Trade Center (ITC), explaining the farmer-oriented initiatives underway to solve the supply-side problems within the cocoa farming industry. Found of Future Food Institute (FFI), Sara Roversi, gave more context in terms of the hackathon methodology to problem solving Chocothon is tapping into. Rounding out the presentation, Crowdfooding Founder, Alessio D’Antino explained of the crowdfunding model behind the project.

My favourite message of the evening was Thomas’ illustration of the complimentary effort put forth by the team, bringing together all players within the industry from large corporates to public organizations to farmers, unifying for one purpose. It is only fitting that we utilize the crowdfunding method mirroring the collaborative and open sourced spirit within this cause.20161019_185256We were also lucky enough to sample the delectable treats from Dark Sugars. The owner, Fatou Mendy, graced us with a stirring speech on the West African cocoa farmers’ perspective. Bottom line: “Cocoa is disappearing. Why? Because farmers are unhappy. Make them happy.”

Here is the on-site video. Check it out!

Chocothon’s campaign is currently in the pre-campaign stage. Make sure you drop your email on the pledge button to stay informed on when we officially launch! Please share and spread the word to save the future of chocolate!

If you are interested to know more about Chocothon event, please click here.

Interview with Paddy Willis: Director of Grocery Accelerator

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Known as being the “most relaxed, understated and eloquent tour de force a small business could hope for,” Paddy Willis is a respected mentor and advisor for a range of food and tech start-ups, as well as an investor, director of Grocery Accelerator and CEO of Bathtub 2 Boardroom.

He co-founded and exited a fast-growth organic baby food business: Plum Baby (now Plum Organics) the world’s first premium baby food in the ambient sector, which was sold to Darwin Private Equity within year five on sales nudging £14 million at retail.

As one of the UK’s fastest-growing new food businesses, the company was listed in over 2,500 supermarket stores within twelve months of launch, achieved 5% market share within two years and was a finalist for the New Product Launch category in the Marketing Society’s annual awards, just losing out to Magners Cider.

Paddy is passionate about ideas and helping to make them work as successful businesses. He currently works on making the charity Bathtub 2 Boardroom the most inspirational place to launch a business in London by providing early stage entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds with incubator-style co-working spaces, professional advise and mentors. He also helps ambitious entrepreneurs seeking to grow food and drink brands via Grocery Accelerator Ltd.

He co-founded Grocery Accelerator with experienced hospitality professionals, Simon Lacey and Rob Ward. The six-month programme is designed to support promising young brands with high-growth potential by providing them with equity funding, networking opportunities and mentorship from an experienced FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) advisor.

Paddy is also a registered and approved Growth Coach under the Growth Accelerator and Business Growth scheme.

Crowdfooding was lucky enough to interview Paddy to find out about his career journey to date and discover how he finds the time to manage all his various work commitments.

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How did you develop your passion for food and wine? Was it a big part of your childhood upbringing?
I think it probably stems from family holidays in France. After leaving school I travelled to Bordeaux to pick grapes and then went to Australia where I spent three months working at a winery in Victoria (I was “adopted” by the family of Bullers Winery in Rutherglen and I worked at Seppelts in town). When I decided to quit university in London after just one year I decided I wanted a career in the wine trade, so I went back to Bordeaux and stayed three years at Chateau Senejac in the Haut-Medoc. I absolutely loved it and had some great experiences.

How did you fall into working for the telecom business Equant (now Orange Business Services) and what was the greatest thing you learned from your time there?
I’d had a few years trying to make some money from various business ideas so when I started a family I needed a more secure income. One of my friends had just started in the Telecoms sector and was able to wangle an interview for a sales role. I ended-up spending a dozen years in the corporate world, which was never my scene but it helped pay the bills. I guess the main lesson I learned was to believe in myself, as I had to learn fast in some pretty stressful and high profile client relationships.

Ultimately you left a corporate career in ICT to become a self-proclaimed “start-up junkie” – why?
I never felt I belonged in the corporate world and I yearned for some of the excitement and freedom I’d experienced in small businesses, where you can make a decision and act on it the same day. My (then) wife and I were working on the idea for Plum Baby whilst I was working and I was able to secure a six month sabbatical to go full-time to support the launch in 2006. In fact, my boss was keen to invest! That was it, once I was out there was no going back.

From ICT to baby food… can you please tell us the story behind Plum Baby Ltd?
Plum Baby was the inspiration of Susie, my then wife, who was surprised at how poor the offering was for parents in the baby aisle. There was an eight-year gap between our second and third child, and she couldn’t believe there was no progress in that time, so she set about researching the market and working on some recipes. Whilst she worked on the product development I built the business plan in my spare time and we went out looking for investors. Susie’s first meeting with a retailer ended up with them saying, “Great, you can have the 350 stores where we are about to delist our own-label range.” That was fantastic, but we had no idea who was going to produce the product for us! There then followed an 18-month journey to find a suitable manufacturer with the equipment (and belief) to help us bring Plum to the market. During that time the buyer changed three times but thankfully Sainburys stood by us and we finally launched in March 2006. By the end of that year we were in all the major retailers, including Boots, and ranged in over 1,200 stores nationwide.

What were the fundamental operations and commercial elements that helped bring the business to break-even within 20 months of launching?
Our search for a manufacturer led us, eventually, to a small family business in the Loire valley of France, but their production line was old and so our cost of goods was high. We quickly grew to a level where we needed greater capacity and fortunately Heinz had just cancelled a range that was produced for them by the only dedicated (and very modern) independent manufacturer in northern France. We had a very painful transition but once the dust settled we added 10 percentage points to our gross margin, which made a step-change to our business.

We were also quite prescriptive about the ranging with retailers. When Boots said they wanted to list us but couldn’t take all six of our SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) I told them that was a huge shame but perhaps if that changed in the future we could speak again. I put the phone down and said to Susie, “what have I just done?”

The hunch that they would have to find a way round the problem to adopt our market-shifting brand paid off and the next day the buyer called back to say that the operations team had found the space to range all six recipes. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I danced around the office when I put the phone down!

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Can you tell us about Grocery Accelerator and how the idea came about?
After we sold Plum Baby to Darwin Private Equity I often had calls from people asking for advise on how to launch their food or drinks business. Like us, most people start from a point of having little or no experience of the retail trade so they tend to ask the same questions. I’d made a few small investments in start-ups, one of which was in the digital space and had won a place on a tech accelerator programme. I started to think that there must be a way to apply the same idea to FMCG businesses and when I met Rob Ward at a retail industry dinner we bonded over the idea, as he had been a finalist on the Seedcamp accelerator programme for a food-tech project. We met again for lunch and decided to approach Simon Lacey, who had been Sales Director at Plum, to join us and we then ran a pilot workshop in early 2014. The response was amazing so we set about looking for a source of funding that could back the businesses, which we would seek through a national competition. Gradually that all came together and we launched the first accelerator programme in early 2015. Form over 100 applicants five received a total of £250k and joined an intense support programme over six months.

What attributes do you look for in an entrepreneur, and what is the best advice you can give to entrepreneurs just starting out?
Clearly you have to have a great product and a scalable business model, but equally important is the person behind the idea. Tenacity is a key attribute; resilience when things don’t go to plan, and a willingness to listen are all vital. I’m always saying to founders “If it was that easy everyone would be doing it”. Starting a business in any sector is a massive risk and people who do so merit respect, but there’s a fine line between being focused and being pigheaded. The role of a mentor is to help the founder see the wood for the trees, step back and focus on the most important priorities.

As for advise, I’d say, “Never underestimate how much money you’ll need”. People tend to always under call it when raising finance as plans rarely go to plan. When we first set out to raise investment I thought we needed £400k to see the plan through to a year five exit. We did exit in year five but in the meantime we raised almost ten times that to achieve a similar end result!

What are the biggest trends you are noticing in the food and beverage realm right now? Are there any projects that you are particularly excited about?
I find it very encouraging to see how much innovation is out there to support the shift towards healthier eating. Of the 300-plus applications we had for the last accelerator programme you could probably count those that weren’t part of this trend on the fingers of one hand. Within our existing cohorts of young brands we have some very exciting products that I think are all set to make a big impact. Two have been going through major re-branding and re-formulation and will be launching soon. One is a range of easy-to use gluten free kits to make loaves that taste like regular artisan bread, the other a sophisticated adult soft drink that should become a regular choice for those seeking to cut back on their alcohol consumption without compromising on taste or sense of occasion.

You are currently CEO of Bathtub 2 Boardroom, Director of the Grocery Accelerator, NED at Capital Enterprise, Strategy Advisor at Ultra Social Ltd as well as an all-round start-up mentor and consultant. Can you give us your two cents on work-life balance? How do you successfully manage all these activities… and find time to sail?
Haha, what work-life balance?? I count myself very lucky to do what I love, supporting founders in nurturing their businesses and bringing ideas to market. The important thing is not to kid yourself that you should do everything yourself. I’m lucky to have two great co-founders at Grocery Accelerator and we share the load pretty fairly. Bathtub 2 Boardroom is a not-for-profit that supports early stage start-ups from all sectors and I’ve been fortunate to attract a great team. The trick to good management is to always recruit people who are genuinely better than you and – over time – to make your role redundant. The last few years have meant there is little time for sailing but I did buy a kayak recently and I hope to be able to snatch a few hours on the local river soon!

Investor Interview with David Brooks

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With over 25 years of experience working in the food and beverage sector, David Brooks knows the industry inside out and is recognised for his passion and enthusiasm for helping businesses grow and develop.

As a NED and Advisor to a number of enterprises in the food, sports, leisure and technology sectors, his diverse portfolio has made him an agile and well-informed investor. Dave is currently a partner of Granary Investments, a small group of senior food/drink and commercial managers who have come together to create a fund to help small/medium food and drink businesses get to their next stage through investment and high quality management input. Granary’s aim is to invest in, and work with, food/drink entrepreneurs who have begun the journey and have early stage businesses with good business plans, growth strategies, ideas and capabilities.

Dave recently took the time to answer questions from Crowdfooding about his investing career and the challenges faced while working in the food and beverage space.

Can you tell us a little bit about your career trajectory and what attracted you to the food and beverage realm in the first place?
I am an accountant by training and – after trying a few sectors – decided manufacturing was the one for me as I loved making a tangible product. Once I had made that decision, I just fell into food as Brake Bros offered me a role back in 1988 in their Manufacturing Division. Food is such a great leveller as we all understand it and all have a valid opinion (i.e do you like it) whether you are a hygiene operative or a board director – each opinion is equal.

How has the industry changed from when you first entered it?
I suppose two of the biggest trends have been the explosion in out of home consumption (both via food service and retailer outlets), and the rise of the “virtual” business where co –packing has become a norm for new challenger brands, reducing the costs of entry enormously.

However, lets be clear – there is very little (if anything) that is “unprecedented”. That word is often just an excuse for poor foresight or management.

What food and beverage projects are you currently working on/with?
I have a diverse portfolio of roles both as a NED and Investor, including soups, sauces and condiments, animal farm supplies, bakery, and online discovery boxes (food and beer).

What are the biggest challenges with investing in food and/or beverage enterprises?
There are dozens of everything! As soon as something gets trendy, so many brands pop up, all with good entrepreneurs, good branding and a good story so selecting the one to back is really tough. And being first to market is not a guarantee of success as you could end up making all the mistakes for the benefit of others. For success, try and find an unmined niche and then get well invested so that mistakes and blind alleys can be funded.

What do you see as the highest growth sector within the food and beverage space right now?
Simple – products with health and well being connotations which is delivered in a convenient format.

What are the biggest lessons you have learned throughout your investing career?
It is better to invest in good people and top talent than marketing campaigns.

What attributes to you look for in an entrepreneur, and what is the best advice you can give to entrepreneurs just starting out?
The most important thing is likeability and humility. If you are likeable, people will want to do business with you, and if you retain your humility, you will know when to ask for guidance and when to listen to advice.