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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

THIS co-founder Andy Shovel on crowdfunding success

THIS co-founder Andy Shovel speaks to The Vegan Review about the plant-based meat company’s highly successful crowdfunding campaign, which raised £4.5 million.

Plant-based meat company THIS has raised £4.5 million in a matter of days as parts of its crowdfunding campaign.

THIS broke crowdfunding website Seedrs’s record for the fastest company to hit a target over £1.5 million, and it also became the fastest FMCG business to reach its target of £2 million, which it reached within two hours of private funding going live.

Since then, its securities funding reached £4 million target in two-and-a-half days, with 1,843 investors including the likes of vegan Manchester United footballer Chris Smalling, Five Seasons Ventures and Backed.

Speaking to The Vegan Review, THIS co-founder Andy Shovel said of the crowdfunding campaign: “We do fortunately have good access to institutional funding (which was included in this round), but we were keen on enabling our growing tribe to become part-owners of THIS, and hopefully also raise our profile in the process.”

Shovel and his partner Pete Sharman, who founded THIS after exiting the burger delivery service Chosen Bun (which they had also co-founded), said they did not expect such an explosive response to the campaign. “I was utterly terrified and didn’t sleep for weeks prior. Up until the first hours we were live, I was convinced that no one would invest and we’d look very silly,” said Shovel. “Thankfully though, we ended up breaking several Seedrs records.”

THIS plans to use the funds to build a “Willy Wonka-esque” innovation centre in West London. “That will house food scientists, engineers and other state of the art equipment. We’re also building out our team, increasing our manufacturing base and increasing our marketing funds,” added Shovel.

Founded last year, the company has gone from strength to strength, with sales of up to £5.5 million by July. It also caters to many plant-based businesses across the UK, including West African vegan company Plantain Kitchen and vegan burger chain Halo Burger.

THIS aims to expand its product line even further. “Pete and I don’t think we should pedal our existing products for years, like some of our competitors,” says Shovel. “We’re keen to have a healthy breadth of plant-based foods on offer, stretching across several categories.”

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