LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, has backed the management buyout of salad chain Vital Ingredient.
The company will invest £8m into the business while Santander will provide a further £4m funding to help the business double in size from 17 to 35 outlets over the next three years.
Vital Ingredient was founded in Soho in 2001 by entrepreneur Alex Heynes, who came up with the idea of opening an chain focused on selling healthy lunchtime alternative to sandwiches after a trip to New York.
In 2011, he sold a 50 per cent stake to Paul Oberschneider, an American-Estonian real estate entrepreneur, who was a regular customer to one of its stores.
Vital Ingredients now 200 staff and 17 outlets across the capital. It has also doubled turnover in the last three years to over £12m.
Heynes and other members of the management team, including chief executive Paolo Peretti and finance chief John Moulton, have now bought back Oberschneider's stake.
Graham Turner, former chief executive of Tragus and current non-executive chairman of Liberation Group and Barburrito, has also joined the chain as non-executive chairman.
Peretti said: “Our brand sits right at the heart of that market, providing thousands of people with convenient options that also provide quality nutritional content and maximum choice. Having the support of an experienced and supportive investment partner like LDC will give us the additional firepower needed to secure new stores and accelerate growth."