As Christmas approaches, the topic on everybody's mind is the same: food. With that in mind, we've put together a rundown of homemade British startups active in the culinary sphere – from underground herbs to brilliant new gadgets, take a look at our collection of kitchen delights (and lift the lid on the money behind the magic)...
To begin with, we look at three of the best kitchen instruments and implements: whether they'll save you time or just spice up your cooking, these companies are the ones to watch this Christmas.
Who? Kaelo is a seed-stage company based in Hackney. It was founded in 2010 by Kevin Jabou, its current director and the company's only known shareholder at the time of writing. Jabou pioneered and directs all four Kaezen-associated companies: Kaelo Manufacturing, Kaelo, Kaelo Technology, and Kaezen.
What? The company has developed a touch-sensitive iceless cooler for Champagne and other alcoholic beverages that is integrated into table or kitchen surfaces. The cooler 'creates a consistently cold and dry environment to maintain a chilled bottle at its perfect serving temperature', and can change colour to suit its surroundings. The product was developed in Oxford and is carved from a 3kg block of stainless steel, and can be inserted into existing furnishings.
How? Kaelo has received £250k in a recent funding round. Its financial backers are unknown – indeed, only Beauhurst private research uncovered the deal at all, as it was unannounced to the press or public. The company's pre-money valuation was £750k, and a 25% stake was taken in exchange for the £250k.
Who? Smarter is a venture-stage company based in Southwark. Its CEO and founder is Christian Lane, who created the company by launching the world's first WiFi-connected kettle in 2013. The kettle generated more than £2m in UK retail sales. Unusually for a tech startup, Smarter's managing director and its head of internal operations are both women: Isabella Lane and Ran Janda.
What? Smarter develops kitchen appliances that are remotely controllable via a mobile application. Their latest product is the FridgeCam, which can inform you of the contents of your fridge, their use-by dates, and recipes incorporating several of them at once. Smarter advertises the FridgeCam as saving its users up to £800 a year.
How? Like Kaelo, Smarter has had only one funding round, in which it raised £350k in exchange for a 3.4% stake. Its pre-money valuation at that time – the end of July – was £10m. As with Kaelo, Smarter's funding round was uncovered only by inhouse Beauhurst research. Three of the four shareholders share a surname, suggesting that the company is held almost entirely within a family. The company is already retailing its products through a variety of outlets including Amazon, Argos, and Tesco, but does not report its turnover or operating profits, suggesting that it is still a while off growth at the moment.
Who? Burton Sous Vide is a kitchen product firm based in Yorkshire and Humberside, and founded in May 2012. It's had two funding rounds over which it has received £585k, and is managed by the eponymous Richard Burton.
What? The main product produced by the firm is itself called the Burton Sous Vide. It's a cooker which seals food in airtight plastic bags before immersing them in temperature-controlled water.; its selling points are ease of use, ease of cleaning, and finely-tuned results: the cooker's temperature is accurate to 0.2°C. It also uses less than £0.05 of electricity per hour.
How? As above, Burton Sous Vide has received £585k over two fundraisings in the springs of 2013 and 2014 (£225k and £360k respectively). Its latest pre-money valuation is £975k – just a stone's throw from £1m. Stakeholders include three members of the Burton family and five Whitakers, suggesting that most investments came from a friends and family group.
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