Julianne Ponan, the boss of free-from food brand Creative Nature, has secured more than £500,000 of investment through a crowdfunding campaign.
The 28-year-old, and her team, have achieved the funding milestone just over a year after appearing on the BBC tv series Dragons’ Den where she was offered £75,000 of investment from Dragon Deborah Meaden – which Julianne later turned down.
“It’s so incredible it was only 16 months ago on Dragons’ Den we were offered only £75k for 25% of the business, and we’ve just completed a crowdfunding round on Seedrs. We hit our target within three weeks of launching and have now overfunded to over half a million pounds.
“Even better we are now linked to more than 430 investors who have shown a commitment to our brand. For us this was the right way to take Creative Nature forward.”
Creative Nature, based in Surrey has had an amazing year. It’s been named UK’s Small Business of the Year, was valued at over £5million, hit its target to raise £350,000 through a crowd-funding campaign in a very short time and Julianne herself was recently given a silver Stevie award at a ceremony in New York for her contribution as an ambitious and committed global woman in business.
She said: “The team are so humbled and so grateful for the support we’ve received from everyone over the last six years. So many people have embraced our vision to become the go-to free-from brand for people who are health and nutrition conscious or who live daily with food allergies or intolerance.”
In the first week, the Seedrs campaign attracted more investors than any other active campaign during its first seven days. Now that it’s ended the team plan to use the funding to drive greater brand awareness, ensure more people get to taste the products & continue building the demand.
Recently the team has been joined by Nigel White, who is Creative Nature’s new marketing head. Nigel has more than 20 years’ experience in the food and drink industry, and has been responsible for building some of the UK’s most recognisable brands including Quorn, Cow and Gate and HECK Sausages.
During his career Nigel has won a number of accolades, including the IGD Innovation of the Year, the Top 10 fastest growing grocery brand, and has three times had brands within the Top 100 Sunday Times Fastest Growing Brands.
Nigel said: “For such a small team, the progress at Creative Nature has been amazing. Really looking forward to working with them on taking the brand to the next level.”
Creative Nature offers a range of snack bars, baking mixes and superfoods for those who are nutrition conscious and those who live with food allergy and intolerance. Products are stocked in Asda, The Co-Op, Sainsbury’s, TK Maxx and many others. The team exports to countries including Malta, Iceland and Jordan.
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