Pod cash injection to fund fresh stores across the capital

Marion Dakers
HEALTHY fast-food chain Pod has secured funding for an ambitious expansion throughout the City and across central London, with a view to rolling out the brand nationally.

Pod, which opened its first branch at London Wall in 2005, has £2.5m of fresh funding from investor JGR Capital; £500,000 from some of Pod’s 80-odd existing shareholders and £500,000 from Nat West via the government-backed Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme.

Founder Tim Hall told City A.M. the cash injection is a stamp of approval for Pod’s larger ambitions.

“The first tranche of funding from JGR will take us up to 25 stores, but the deal which we have with them has no real upper limit.

“JGR has invested in Pod twice before, in the lower six figures, with a view to finding out whether the model we have can roll out on a national basis. This has now been proven and triggered the extra investment.”

JGR Capital’s James Paget will be join the Pod board as part of the investment. Pod’s focus on nutritional and seasonal food has already won the backing of David Henderson, the former chairman of Kleinwort Benson, and Nick Payne, one-time Burger King director and Pod chairman.

Hall, who was a consultant for the car industry before setting up the chain, said that Pod is “by no means abandoning our main market”, with plans to open two new branches in the City in June and two or three more over the summer.

Pod is one of thousands of smaller firms to get backing through the Enterprise Finance Guarantee, run by the department of business, innovation and skills. The government plans to link up businesses with lenders for loans totalling up to £2bn over the life of the current parliament.