11. Pasta Evangelists

Pasta Evangelists is ushering in a ‘pasta renaissance’ for the UK, delivering mouthwatering fresh pasta kits made using Italian artisan traditions.

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DEI Award Shortlisted

For the business that can give evidence of a committed diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative and how it has been embedded in the company.

Startups 100: DEI Awards

Founder: Alessandro Savelli, Finn Lagun, Chris Rennoldson
Founded: 2017
Website: pastaevangelists.com

Like a perfect pasta dish, there are three key components in Pasta Evangelists. Founders Alessandro Savelli, Finn Lagun, and Chris Rennoldson make up the ragu, the spaghetti, and the sprinkling of parmesan on top; together cooking up a delicious recipe for startup success.

All three began the business with the same goal: to bring high quality, artisan pasta production to the UK. And it’s fair to say they have succeeded, appearing for the third time in Startups 100 and in the highest position yet.

Whether it’s for date nights, family meal times, or a solo sofa night, Pasta Evangelists has made its way into kitchens across the nation. The brand sells high quality fresh recipe kits that are changing the way consumers think about pasta.

The cofounders once appeared on the BBC’s Dragons' Den, where they were branded 'delusional' and dismissed as 'pasta la disaster' in front of four million people.

The business is a big success these days, but the journey to get there has had its moments of boiling over. In 2017, Lagun and Savelli appeared on the BBC’s Dragons' Den, where they were branded ‘delusional' and dismissed as ‘pasta la disaster' in front of four million people.

Still, half a decade on, and the Dragons are eating their words. Last year, the startup completed a successful exit to Barilla Group, the world's biggest pasta company, for a reported £40m.

While it might seem theatrically tossed together, Pasta Evangelists’ growth is a result of carefully measured ingredients. As well as its staple ecommerce delivery model, the company also operates a national takeaway service; it’s listed in major e-retail stores like Ocado, and it’s even opened a restaurant in Harrods in 2021.

While it might seem theatrically tossed together, Pasta Evangelists’ growth is a result of carefully measured ingredients.

This omnichannel approach has allowed Pasta Evangelists to almost double the business in 2022 and avoid the pitfalls of other ecommerce rivals, post-COVID.

Having mastered the world of online eateries, the Evangelists are now turning their eye to the hospitality industry. The founders anticipate having several hundred premium pasta premises across the country in five years’ time, as well as making a trip stateside to take their products to the US.

Penne for our thoughts? We love this startup for its strong ethos and smart sales strategy. They’ve taken a simple product and, crucially, kept it simple, while still conveying a sense of luxury to diners who want a tasty treat even amid tightening budgets. The future looks tasty indeed for the Pasta Evangelists team.

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