Fast forward just over 4 years and I met (again in Room 5) with Gill Khosla the week before last to sign the paperwork to conclude a £1.5m fundraising for Great British Chefs Limited, the company that had its genesis all those years before, and which has grown exponentially since it was founded. Gill and Vimal, along with Ollie (as CEO), have grown the business in that time so that it now has over 2 million page views a month on its website and it supports a social media community of 750,000 people. It is indeed the leading digital publisher of recipes and cooking tips from the best British chefs, and is also the UK's fastest growing food website (according to Experian), employing a team of some of the best talent in the UK in areas such as brand development, client service, IT, web, mobile and social media content.
Having downloaded Great British Chefs' app to my iPhone when it was first launched, I can say with absolute certainty that (with the obvious exception of Sunderland Football Club's app) it's one of the classiest apps around. The photos are gorgeous and mouth-watering, the graphics are smooth and the whole feel of the app just oozes sophistication (which explains why it's won so many awards). Go and see the website too.
The £1.5m fundraising that just completed involved almost eighty signatories comprising a combination of staff, existing investors following their money and new investors from Bestport Ventures LLP. Bestport is an independent and entrepreneurial provider of development capital to smaller fast-growing companies in the UK, and has a particular interest in business services, healthcare and technology. Bestport's strategy is always to put a director on the board and for this transaction they appointed James Stoddart who co-founded Bestport in 2005. The capital raised is to be used for growing the Great British Chefs business by expanding the depth and quality of content, expanding the number of chefs and recipes featured on Great British Chefs, growing the “How to Cook” section of the site and adding more specialist content that no other publisher has provided. There'll also be more editorial on the site. To deliver all of this, the company has significantly expanded its content team and has been recruiting aggressively.
This is the point in the blog where I have to come clean and say that while I was the supervising partner on the transaction, the hard work was done by my assistant who did a magnificent job. I can't speak for her but I suspect that one of the highlights of the deal for her was when Gill Khosla thanked her for all of her sterling work on the deal by giving her a rather splendid box of Hotel Chocolat chocolates (again in our Room 5). As a lawyer, it doesn't really get any better than that - working with successful entrepreneurial clients who are growing a thriving business, and then being given posh chocolate.
If you have a business, whether in the food sector or otherwise, that needs help with raising growth capital, please contact me on 0131 247 1260, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd be delighted to meet you (in lucky Room 5, of course) for a free, no-obligation chat on how we can help.