The story of The Vurger Co

In 2017, Rachel and Neil needed funding to help power their goal of changing the face of fast-food through their 100% plant-based, soul-satisfying burgers.

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The vurger vegan chicken
The Vurger Co & Crowdcube

Having started The Vurger Co as a small market stall in 2016, Co-founders Neil and Rachel quickly saw the potential to scale their plant-based burger business. With the demand for a full restaurant experience growing, they decided to turn to the crowd with a target of £180,000.

“The one thing that we had and that really made sense to us as a business was the community that we were building. We quickly realised if we had this following and these amazing people backing us, the best thing for us to do was leverage what we did have. That’s why crowdfunding really made sense for us.” Rachel Hugh, Co-founder.

On a mission to revolutionise fast food through the power of plants, The Vurger Co team overfunded to £299,760, raising 166% of their target.

Rachel and Neil’s story

After discovering that a plant-based diet eased co-founder Neil’s debilitating stomach issues, Neil and Rachel took a trip to California and discovered a range of vegan delicacies. As Co-founder Rachel Hugh puts it, “The amazing tastes and textures were like nothing we had experienced or available in London at the time in 2016." Thus, The Vurger Co was born.

Raising funds to power their expansion from market stalls and pop-ups wasn’t straightforward, as Rachel explains, “In 2016 our whole space, in terms of veganism, wasn’t very well understood, so when we were reaching out to VCs, or any traditional route of raising money nobody really understood the space that we were working in.”

This, paired with their rapidly growing community and social media presence made crowdfunding a natural next step.


The campaign

The Vurger Photo Collage 2
The Vurger Co's campaign highlights
  • “We held an event the day before our raise went live and prepared a full tasting menu for the guests, who included some of our superfans as well as some press contacts. Our whole community was posting about it on social media so it got everyone really engaged from the day we went live.”
  • “Our biggest challenge was reaching out to angel investors and VCs; we didn’t know where to go or how to contact people. We were just constantly reaching out to people and explaining the space we were in, as some people could be quite sceptical about the vegan food market at the time. It took a lot to explain to people that this was the future.”
  • “Having started as a market stall, growing to pop-up restaurants and finally to events and festivals, social media allowed us to create a strong and meaningful connection with our customers and allowed us to build our community from an authentic standpoint. Then when it came to reaching out for help, to build our business even further, our community spoke in volumes and allowed our crowdfunding campaign to spread with everyone who already loved what we do, wanting to spread the message even further.”

Rachel's top tips

Tip #1: Keep your community close

“Reach out to those who already believe in your story, love your product and talk about you day after day. Leverage that as much as possible.”

Tip #2: Connect with everyone and anyone

“Connect with as many people as you can ahead of your raise. For every door that closes, as if they can refer you on to someone else. Somewhere along that chain will be someone who believes in you.”

Tip #3: Bring a mentor onboard

“Have someone who can vouch for you as a mentor, someone who really understands the industry. Even feature them in your video to give yourself that stamp of approval.”

The vurger co resturant
Where are they now?

The Vurger Co team have hit some serious milestones since fueling-up with us, as Rachel explains, “After our crowdfunding campaign, we were able to fund our first restaurant site in Shoreditch. It’s open seven days a week and is profitable, so we’ve gone on to open a second site in Canary Wharf. We’ve also recently expanded into retail, with some of our products stocked in stores like Planet Organic.”

More recently, they’ve collaborated with chefs like Chloe Coscarelli, brands such as Tabasco Sauce and attended events and festivals, including Wilderness, Lululemon Sweatlife festival and Eat Drink Vegan in Los Angeles.

Here’s what Rachel has to say about their crowdfunding campaign “our experience with Crowdcube was extremely positive. Without it, I’m not sure we’d be where we are today.” We very much look forward to following the next stage of The Vurger Co’s journey.

Risk warning

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