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Neat Burger, the UK vegan burger chain founded by Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, is now worth $70 million after securing new funding. The round was led by SoftBank’s Rajeev Misra, and will fuel the chain’s ambitious plans to triple in size with 30 new London outlets to open within the next year.
Neat Burger, the plant-based fast-food chain co-founded by British racing champion Lewis Hamilton and Zack Bishti, has secured new capital that puts the company at a $70 million valuation. The $7 million round was led by SoftBank Investment Advisers CEO Rajeev Misra, who decided to back the chain after rave reviews of Neat Burger’s vegan offerings from his children.
Tripling Neat Burger’s footprint
The funding will allow Neat Burger to press ahead with its ambitious plans to triple in size within the next year. The company plans to open around 30 new sites within London, including 14 restaurant outlets and 16 delivery-only kitchens.
These include the upcoming outlets already announced for Victoria, Canary Wharf and Westfield Stratford, which are expected to begin serving customers by December 2021. A handful of other locations across London are slated to open within the first half of 2022. The delivery kitchens will be constructed in partnership with platforms such as Deliveroo and Reef, and will cover the entire London by early next year.
Currently, Neat Burger operates 4 permanent restaurant locations in Oxford Circus, Camden, Soho, and Finsbury Park.
Commenting on his decision to back Neat Burger, Misra said: “I am thrilled to be part of the Neat team as it continues to develop and expand in the UK. The vegan market is growing rapidly, and it is an exciting time for the brand.”
The latest funding and expansion news from Neat Burger comes as the vegan market reaches an all-time high, driven by the growing numbers of mainstream consumers who are now practicing a flexitarian diet.
Globally, polls suggest that around 42% of consumers worldwide now consider themselves flexitarians—people who actively minimise their meat and dairy consumption for various reasons, such as health, sustainability and animal welfare.
While consumers had been steadily trending towards plant-based foods for years, the shift has been accelerated massively amid the pandemic. In the UK, around a quarter of Brits have reported making deliberate cuts to their animal-based food intake since Covid-19. This year also saw record numbers of people join the Veganuary challenge, which involves going vegan for the entire January.
A follow-up survey by the charity revealed as many as 85% of participants in the challenge are now planning to sustain a plant-based diet in the long-term.
As vegan demand continues to surge, a number of other UK-based plant-based businesses have also seen investment pouring in. Planty, a vegan frozen meal delivery startup, recently secured €770,000 to expand to Europe, and plant-based meal leader Allplants has raised a record $52 million Series B this month.
All images courtesy of Neat Burger.