The story of Mindful Chef

The Mindful Chef team set out to raise £1m to fuel their vision of helping more people eat healthily. They believed the best way to do this was to deliver fresh, sustainability-sourced ingredients, together with a recipe card, directly to the customer’s front door.

funded date
Mindful Chef & Crowdcube

Backed by the likes of Victoria Pendleton CBE and Will Greenwood MBE, Mindful Chef smashed their target within 24 hours. They went on to raise a total of £1.92m from 638 investors and closed at over 190% funded.

Giles Humphries, co-founder of Mindful Chef, “look[s] back on crowdfunding as a whole and the Crowdcube experience very fondly. He continues, "I’m so glad we crowdfunded. We got more than 600 investors, those investors became brand ambassadors and customers. You wouldn’t have got that going down an institutional route.” Watch our short video to hear Giles explain more.

Giles, Myles and Rob's story

School friends Giles, Myles and Rob founded Mindful Chef in 2015. Their recipes, all low-carb, gluten-free and dairy-free, quickly became popular, especially with those looking to improve their diets.

Focusing on the premium end of the recipe box market, at the time of the raise the team had shipped over 500k meals and were generating £80k per week in sales.

Two years after starting out, the team were looking to raise finance to increase their marketing spend and acquire new customers. They also planned on investing in tech to improve the user experience of their website and create a mobile app.

Mindful Chef team
The Mindful Chef team raised a total of £1.92m from 638 investors and closed at over 190% funded

The campaign

After deciding that crowdfunding was the way forward, the team began building their campaign. In the words of Giles, “In terms of preparation, planning is absolutely fundamental [...] my biggest piece of advice would be: start as early as possible.”

Mindful Chef's campaign highlights
  • ‘We took three months to ensure we had a rigorous marketing plan in place. Overall, I think it’s really important you have a coordinated, omnichannel marketing campaign to your customer base. That’s what won for us.”
  • “The most effective strategy for us was engaging with our customers. We contacted them via email initially, then via SMS, followed by a letter and booklet within our boxes, which went out every single week. We did about four weeks of warming-up prior to the campaign with booklets about the raise telling people how they could get a slice of Mindful Chef.”
  • ‘‘To engage our network, we really did just roll-up our sleeves and jotted down 500 plus names, from friends and family to investors. [...] We had about six months of meeting different potential investors, just to ensure we didn’t leave any stone unturned."

Giles' top tips

Tip #1: Talk about tax relief

“Make sure potential investors understand tax relief. I’ve heard anecdotally from investors that they were considering putting £10,000 in, but when they realised that EIS existed they put in £15,000.”

Tip #2: Meet as many people as possible

“When you’re looking for seed capital, it’s all about meetings - meet as many people as possible. Getting coffees in face-to-face is really important. That’s where some of the best conversions came from.”

Tip #3: Cornerstone investment is key

“When I speak to other entrepreneurs looking to raise I always remind them that they must secure cornerstone investment first. Lots of people don’t realise that.”

Where are they now?

Following the raise, Mindful Chef experienced their biggest growth (almost 200% YoY) thanks to a more aggressive spend in growth marketing. Two years on, Giles still believes this is the key to their growth, commenting “that’s the number one reason that we’re now much bigger and still growing (at around 170% YoY).”

One example of this comes from their successful influencer marketing activity. As Giles puts it, “Things like that just wouldn’t be possible without going via Crowdcube, for the paid advertising spend and to be able to work with the likes of Fearne Cotton.”

The team has also expanded, allowing co-patrons Giles, Myles and Rob to “bring in expertise in areas that you can only get so far in by doing yourself.”

We can't wait to see where their journey takes them next.

Risk warning

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