Finance Kitchen’s mission is simple; to be London’s number one provider of funding to the independent food and drink market.
Founder Ian Woodley has been involved in financial services since leaving school, and after a number of years operating a successful business recovery company has turned his hand to supporting independent organisations in the hospitality sector.
Finance Kitchen has begun operating at a time when consumers are becoming savvier and changing their shopping habits.Supermarkets are being shunned for independents and pop-up outlets are the destination of choice for trendy Londoners.
Ian describes Finance Kitchen as a “one-stop shop” for businesses seeking financing opportunities in the hospitality sector. Whether an organisation is issuing equity or debt in return for capital, Finance Kitchen will act as an intermediary.
Finance Kitchen works with businesses ranging from pop-up casual food outlets to Michelin Starred chefs. The amount of capital required by businesses in partnership with Finance Kitchen ranges from £200,000 to £2,000,000.
One of their current investment opportunities is Tubby Isaacs, the iconic east end brand who are relaunching a chain of seafood based bars. Known for their Aldgate stall, Tubby Issacs is aiming to raise £950,000 to fund their first site in Shoreditch. Their plan is to roll out up to 5 seafood bars in London in the first couple of years.
“We are about Food, Finance and London” says Ian, this proposition ticks all three boxes.
Tubby Issacs is typical of the businesses Finance Kitchen raises funds for, those that warrant substantial investment but fall under the radar of private equity houses who focus on already established businesses.
The opportunities on offer are not limited to outlets and restaurants; Finance Kitchen is working with low calorie Champagne brand Skinny Fizz who need to raise £300,000 to fund expansion. Skinny Fizz is currently on sale in Selfridges and a couple of high end London restaurants but wants to go national.
Finance Kitchen fills a gap for the independent food sector left by private equity houses who tend to favour larger chains.
However, such businesses have found they are gaining more traction in the army of investors who seek opportunities on crowdfunding sites.
While Ian has strong links to crowdfunding channels, he has opted to utilise his existing network of investors to raise capital, occasionally a mix of the two is needed.
He points out that although there are many successful projects funded by crowdfunding websites, such channels may not have the long term benefits that can be achieved by working with a handful of focussed investors.
Ian is also busy deal-making with new networks of investors who can offer higher flexibility for businesses and keep their projects under wraps before they launch.
The investors that Finance Kitchen work with tend to be more sophisticated than those of the well-known crowdfunding websites, who will take as little as £500 from investors in order to fully fund a pitch. Finance Kitchen will take minimum investments of around £30,000-£50,000 and seeks to fund some opportunities from a single investor.
“The majority of investments qualify for SEIS or EIS so there are some very attractive tax treatments for individuals who support new and growing businesses, the food business is also a load of fun so you get a return on your investment with a smile on your face” says Ian.