28 | Apr | 14

Richard Johnson

Adventure Capital

It’s been like Dragon’s Den round here recently. In our efforts to drive the street food revolution forward, we’ve been meeting with investors keen on British Street Food’s unique proposition – ‘a marketing and promotional platform, connecting street food to street foodies, operating in the UK and expanding into Europe and the USA’. When it came, the first offer of venture capital was very tempting – maybe because it WAS the first. Two thoroughly nice gents saw the benefits of investing in BSF to grow in the awards and expand into a digital marketing and payment platform.

But they wanted too much of the business. We fired up excel, fried the cash flow and salted the forecast. The offer and the promise we not the same. We declared ourselves ‘Out’. There have been others – but, to date, the champagne remains firmly on ice. Here’s our plan. There are 10,000 traders making their living by selling food on the streets of Britain. The annual revenue from street food in the UK is over £600 million, and growing at 20% per year. But currently the market is fragmented. The opportunity exists for us to benefit from our strong reputation with traders and the industry to provide cohesion. Because of our years of involvement, we know about the exciting new bloods before anyone else does. The next MEAT Liquor. The Pizza Pilgrims and Pitt Cues of tomorrow. Which is why British Street Food is currently working with Land Securities and SSP, two blue chip clients, putting street food traders into new high-profile retail environments such as Euston station in London and Trinity Kitchen in Leeds. With our strong media links (Richard Johnson, the founder, is an award-winning journalist, currently judging the Street Food category in the BBC’s Food and Farming Awards) we set the agenda. With the British Street Food Awards – linked with established food faces – we promote excellence in the industry. And now there are six regional heats too. The British Street Food app is light years ahead of anything else out there, using trading information updated by the traders themselves, and benefits from behavioral, marketing and location data which makes the business more comprehensive, interesting and engaging. Investment in the app will enable us to develop it for cashless payments to speed up service on the street. Everyone wins. Friends in the US tell me that frothy food startups have hit a five year funding high. I reckon we in Blighty can mix 21st technology and centuries-old street food to set the new trend in food funding. Sexy.