Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall raises £1m for River Cottage using Crowdcube mini-bonds

Food entrepreneur’s pitch attracted 281 investors in less than 36 hours

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River Cottage, the restaurant and food business co-founded by high-profile chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, has raised £1m via crowdfunding platform Crowdcube’s new mini-bond scheme; reaching its funding target in less than 36 hours.

The River Cottage Bond, which allowed private investors to make an initial investment of £500 or more, and pays out 7% fixed interest per annum, attracted backing from 281 individuals.

Alongside the 7% annual fixed interest, each of the chain’s new investors will receive 10% off at River Cottage’s three canteen restaurants in Axminster, Bristol, and Plymouth, as well as free River Cottage membership and exclusive benefits.

Founded by Fearnley-Whittingstall and Rob Love in 1998, Devon-based River Cottage looks to champion seasonal, local, organic and wild (SLOW) produce and operates several different arms with three canteen restaurants, an “award-winning” cookery school, books and 12 television series.

The funding will allow the company to expand its restaurant chain with four new locations expected to open across the South of England by 2018.

River Cottage’s Fearnley-Whittingstall commented: “We’re committed to helping people eat amazing food and this investment opportunity means we can continue to do that to more people in more places. We’re passionate about our business and we want our investors to be as well.”

Joint managing director, Love, added:

“I am a huge advocate of crowdfunding and this new innovation from Crowdcube helps reduce the cost and complexity of raising finance and provides an effective way for more established brands, like River Cottage, to raise growth funding without the banks.”

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