Virtual food brand company Peckwater Brands has secured £15 million funding.

The Series A round follows a £3m seed round in October 2021 and brings the business’ post-money valuation to £65m.

Founded in 2019, Peckwater Brands builds delivery-only food brands, driven by data-led customer insight, for restaurants up and down the country. The orders are cooked and delivered from existing kitchens alongside their day-to-day operations. 

The business operates a mix of licensed brands spanning several categories including chicken (Seoul Chikin, Flip the Bird, Wham Bam Wings, Katsu), burgers (Dukes, Proper Tasty) and have also run shared brands with partners such as Unilever, Buzzfeed and Heinz.

Peckwater’s latest funding round was supported by Stonegate Group, the UK’s largest pub company with around 4,500 sites nationwide. Stonegate has taken a minority stake in Peckwater, for an undisclosed sum, having trialled Peckwater Brands in some of its pubs. 

Stonegate is backed by TDR Capital – an investor in major household brands such as ASDA and David Lloyd.

Investors in this latest round also include SoftBank Investments (SBI), as well as follow-on investment from Peckwater’s previous backers Fuel Ventures and Pembroke VCT.

The Series A funding will be used to develop technology which enables kitchen operators to succeed at delivery – including machine learning-generated menus and operations performance improvements.

Peckwater Brands also plans to use its investment to accelerate its expansion, with its UK team planning to take the company from operating in 150+ sites to being the largest kitchen network in the UK.   

Flexibility is more important than a 4-day week

The company also plans to level-up its international operations. This will involve the development of its US division, which was launched in Miami in early 2022. Peckwater Brands also plans on expanding further into Europe, with confirmed sites in France and Belgium due to launch in the coming months.

As part of the investment, co-founder Sam Martin will now become Peckwater Brands’ CEO, with co-founder Leo Bradshaw, taking up the position of Executive Chair.

Bradshaw said: “The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for disruption within the hospitality sector. And Peckwater Brands has done just that. Our innovative use of technology, combined with our expert knowledge of brand management and hospitality has transformed the way restaurants, bars – essentially any venue with a kitchen – approaches branding and customer reach.

“Our success speaks for itself. From enabling our partners to greatly improve their operations and monthly turnover, to transforming the way the hospitality sector considers franchises, we have demonstrated the true potential of virtual brands. 

“This latest investment will enable us to build upon our existing efforts and accelerate our expansion.”

Martin added: “We have always been incredibly ambitious with where we can take Peckwater Brands. And, given the rapid success we’ve seen in the UK, we’ve now set out sights on the international stage. Not only have we established a strong presence within the US and UAE, but we are set to make waves across Europe in the very near future – and our latest funding round success will certainly accelerate these plans.”