Vegan pizza manufacturer among December’s targets of angel investment

Among the usual raft of software companies, angel investors also targeted a vegan pizza manufacturer in December 2018. In all, there were 24 deals worth a combined EUR 161 million involving angels investing in companies based in Western Europe announced during December 2018, according to Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk. At the time of writing, there are still 11 days to go until the end of the month, meaning there is still a chance of investment levels increasing by the time January comes around. However, at present, December’s volume represents the lowest for any month in 2018. Value is also fairly low in comparison to the rest of the year, but is higher than in August (EUR 97 million), March (EUR 142 million) and February (EUR 104 million).
December’s value is largely supported by a small number of large deals, with the month’s most valuable worth just under EUR 75 million as Swiss IT analytics software developer Nexthink secured a round of funding led by Index Ventures and also including participation from TOP Fund Advisors and Olivier Pomel, among others. This deal alone accounted for 47 per cent of total value in the month under review and was followed by a EUR 40 million injection in German mobile fitness training application provider Freeletics in a round which included participation from angel investor and noted self-help guru Tony Robbins, alongside FitLab, Causeway Media Partners and Jazz Venture Partners. Only one other deal broke the EUR 10 million-barrier in the month under review as UK-headquartered online peer-to-peer property-secured lending platform operator Blend Loan Network raised EUR 11 million from investors including Maurice Levy, Jean-Philippe Blochet and Cyrus Ardalan.
It should be noted that all of these deals involve software companies, which, as usual, has been a common target for angel investors in December. However, there are exceptions to this, and one involved a UK target as vegan and gluten-free pizza maker White Rabbit Pizza secured EUR 840,000 from former Burton’s Biscuit Company chief executive Ben Clarke and Propercorn founder Ryan Kohn, among other undisclosed angels. The firm said proceeds of the round have been earmarked for new product development, recruitment and marketing, adding that the injection marks the first phase of a fundraising, with the second to follow in the spring of next year. White Rabbit Pizza was founded by Mateo Ferrari and Nick Croft-Simon in 2015 and produces a range of gluten-free and vegan pizzas. Its products are stocked at UK supermarkets Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, as well as in individual locations such as Oxford’s Rusty Bicycle and Buongiornoe Buonasera restaurants.
Perishable prepared food manufacturing companies are not frequent targets for angel investors, which tend to gravitate towards the software industry. This is borne out by the fact that Zephyr shows that only four deals involving angels targeting such companies, including the aforementioned White Rabbit transaction, have been announced worldwide since the beginning of 2006. The most valuable of these four also took place this year as UK-headquartered online fresh plant-based meal subscription platform operator Allplants secured a EUR 8 million Series A round of funding led by Octopus Ventures. Other investors include Felix Capital Partners, Otiva and angels David Milner, Simon Nixon and Jack Harries. This was followed by a 2016 transaction in which German salad and sandwich maker GreenGurus brought in EUR 2 million from Christophe Maire, via his Atlantic Food Labs vehicle, as well as Project A Ventures and Andreas Berger. The only other deal involving angel investors targeting a perishable food manufacturing company featured a US target as Real Food Blends secured EUR 400,000 from Amanda Lannert, Matt Spiegel, Rick Poulton, Harry Gottlieb, Jeff Cantalupo, Lon Chow and Michael Katz.
To sum up, December has been a quiet month, although it is worth noting that there are still 11 days to go until the end of the year, as well as the fact that value for each of 2018’s four quarters has surpassed the figures recorded for the corresponding timeframes in 2017. This is a positive sign as we move into 2019 and should give those watching the markets cause to hope that activity levels will continue to rise next year.
© Zephyr

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