Monday 17 August 2020 12:20 pm

Chris Smalling invests in UK plant-based meat business

A startup that specialises in “hyper-realistic” plant-based food has secured investment from international footballer Chris Smalling in its latest funding round.

THIS closed its £4m Seedrs crowdfunding campaign on Friday, which was live for 2 and a half days before hitting its £4m target.

THIS aims to mimic meat in taste, texture, appearance and smell without the environmental impact, instead using peas and soya beans. It was founded by Andy Shovel and Pete Sharman after exiting burger chain Chosen Bun.

The funding round, which surpassed its £2m target within a day, secured investment from vegan investment fund Veg Capital. Venture capital firms Backed, Five Seasons Ventures, Idinvest Partners, Seedcamp and Manta Ray were also involved in the round, alongside footballer Chris Smalling.

It is the second ethical investment Smalling has made in the past year. The Manchester United player, currently on loan at AS Roma, last year announced investment into Ananas Anam.

He acquired a stake in the company which manufactures and sells Pinatex, a natural, non-woven material made of pineapple leaf fibre which can be used as an alternative to leather.

He said: “I’ve been really impressed with what Andy & Pete have achieved in such a short time. They’ve created a killer brand with amazing products. Thrilled to be part of their journey”.

THIS said the new funding will be used to invest £1m in a London-based “innovation centre” and employ world-leading food scientists, engineers and flavourists. The plant-based business also said it was planning to launch 10 products per year for three years.

Shovel and Sharman said: “After 3+ weeks of not sleeping because we thought no one would invest – we broke loads of records on Seedrs! We were publicly live for all of 2 days, before we hit our £4m overfunding limit. We haven’t clicked refresh that often since our online dating days.” 

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