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The London company behind the UK's first sustainable fruit and vegetable box delivery service is planning to expand nationwide after securing a £3m investment from the Northern Venture Capital Trust Funds (VCTs), which are managed by Mercia.

Oddbox, a Founder Institute London portfolio company, which works with farmers to supply seasonal produce at risk of going to waste, has achieved over 400% growth in the past 12 months, fuelled by soaring demand for sustainable shopping options. The funding will allow it to expand its services beyond the capital and further develop its technology, including its ‘personal impact’ dashboard which allows consumers to view the amount of food waste, CO2 emissions and water they have helped to save.

Founded in 2016 by wife and husband team Emilie Vanpoperinghe and Deepak Ravindran, Oddbox has rescued over 2,000 tonnes of produce from going to waste and delivered 400,000 boxes within London.

With customer ratings averaging 4.8 out of 5, the company claims to be the UK’s highest-rated vegetable box service. 

Co-Founder Emilie Vanpoperinghe said, 

We are on a mission to tackle food waste and foster conscious consumerism. This investment and support from Mercia will help us expand nationwide, leverage technology to drive behaviour change and support our rapid scale-up.

Ishaan Chilkoti and Jason Warren from Mercia worked on the deal.

Ishaan Chilkoti said in a statement:

Oddbox offers a compelling proposition and a positive social impact. The company has been growing incredibly fast and the team have exciting plans for the future. We look forward to working with Emilie and Deepak to help them put these into practice.

ClearlySo, Europe’s leading impact investment bank, provided corporate finance advice and investor introductions to Oddbox. Shoosmiths provided legal advice to Mercia, while Tait Walker provided financial due diligence, while Confidas provided management due diligence, Aon insurance due diligence, and Food Strategy Associates commercial due diligence.

The Northern VCTs, which provide series A venture investment of up to £5million for high growth SMEs, are amongst the longest-established funds of their type in the UK. They are now managed by Mercia following its acquisition of the VCT fund management business of NVM Private Equity in December 2019.

About Mercia Asset Management PLC

Mercia is a proactive, specialist asset manager focused on supporting regional SMEs to achieve their growth aspirations. Mercia provides capital across its four asset classes of balance sheet, venture, private equity and debt capital; the Group's 'Complete Capital Solution'. The Group initially nurtures businesses via its third-party funds under management, then over time Mercia can provide further funding to the most promising companies, by deploying direct investment follow-on capital from its own balance sheet.

Mercia has a strong UK regional footprint through its eight offices, 19 university partnerships and extensive personal networks, providing it with access to high-quality deal flow. Mercia has almost £0.8billion of assets under management and, since its IPO in December 2014, has invested over £90.0million across its direct investment portfolio.

The Group raises its own Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Funds and details about open offers can be found through Mercia’s website.

Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic "MERC" and includes the following wholly owned subsidiaries -

  • Mercia Fund Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 524856
  • Enterprise Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 183363
  • EV Business Loans Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 443560 

If you’re an entrepreneur building a social or environmental impact company to address a global challenge, join us and apply to the Founder Institute today.  

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Founder Institute portfolio companies are creating positive social and environmental impact around the world, using structured processes to define impact KPIs that scale sustainably with their business. Read the most recent featured reports on our impact companies at FI.co/good, or learn about the Founder Institute's own global impact at FI.co/impact.

If you're a startup ecosystem leader pushing founders towards developing business models to create positive impact, learn more about becoming a Founder Institute program leader in your city at FI.co/lead.

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