Plant-based startup closes £1.4m in seed round

Clean Kitchen Club, a vegan restaurant and delivery chain, has been valued at £7.5m and is eyeing expansion after its successful first funding round.

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Clean Kitchen Club, a new plant-based food brand, has raised £1.4m in its first investment round.

As a sustainable QSR (quick service delivery) brand, Clean Kitchen Club aims to take plant-based food to the mainstream, providing eco-friendly ingredients and carbon neutral packaging.

Founded in 2020 by former YouTube personality Mikey Pearce, as well as Made in Chelsea’s Verity Bowditch, the duo have raised the money with a view to expand the brand into locations across the UK.

The lead investors in the round include Clive Sharpe, ex-chairman of Quorn, and Grace Beverley, a fitness influencer and business owner of sustainable activewear brand Tala, which has reached more than £10 million worth of sales since launching in 2019.

The company turned over its first million in just eight months. It says it currently takes over 2,000 orders daily, and is growing over 30% month-on-month.

Planting an idea

Pearce founded Clean Kitchen Club in summer 2020 against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.

After launching in a tiny kitchen in Brighton, Pearce has since expanded the business to London, with Made in Chelsea star and biomedical science graduate Verity Bowditch, as co-founder.

Clean Kitchen Club sold 50,000 burgers in its first year – with a menu that includes everything from its classic clean burgers to no-meat meatballs, salads, wraps and desserts.

The brand has also grown to cater for a range of firms including Dior and Tenzing, as it encourages businesses to become more sustainable in their approach.

Sustainable growth

The fast-growing plant-based fast-food chain currently operates out of five sites in London, most recently opening its latest two-level main outlet in Camden in July.

The funding and valuation, achieved in less than 12 months since launch, will enable Clean Kitchen Club to continue expanding with the aim of opening up to 40 new sites across the UK in the next few years, including a larger flagship store in Soho in early 2022.

The funding will also enable Clean Kitchen Club to launch a range of retail products, starting with Clean canned coffees and meat substitute products which will be available to purchase in grocery retailers, at the Clean Kitchen sites, and via food delivery services.

Mikey Pearce, Co-Founder and CEO of Clean Kitchen Club, commented: “I’m incredibly proud of the team for signing our first investment round and seeing the phenomenal growth Clean Kitchen Club is experiencing every day. The idea for Clean was born from my mother’s vegan bacon sandwich and I decided I needed to create a brand that would provide delicious, accessible plant-based food and bring it to the mainstream. We have big ambitions to be the biggest plant-based food brand in the UK – this is just the start.”

Verity Bowditch, Co-Founder and Head of Sustainability at Clean Kitchen Club, added: “There’s a clear demand for delicious, sustainable protein alternatives. People are waking up to the impact that meat production is having on the environment and need a clear solution – one that also fits easily into their lifestyle. We provide exactly that.

“Clean Kitchen Club isn’t just for vegans but anyone looking to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. We have a real possibility to change perceptions of plant-based food and help tackle the climate crisis. The brand has grown exponentially since launch and I can’t wait to continue that growth, continue disrupting the industry and taking plant-based food to the mainstream, with our new investors on board.”

Need some ideas on becoming more sustainable? Read our guide to learn more about five simple initiatives small business owners can use to reduce your carbon footprint.

Helena is from Yorkshire and joined Startups in 2021 from a background in B2B communications. She has previously written for a popular fintech startup covering everything from money-saving tips to cultural reviews.

She is particularly interested in project management software and the films of Peter Jackson.

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