Neat Burger, the plant-based food group backed by Lewis Hamilton and Leonardo DiCaprio, is expanding its global reach after successfully raising $18 million in a Series B fundraise. With operations across three territories, the company has set its sights on the United States with the opening last month of its first location in Nolita, New York.
The successful fundraise was completed in October despite the challenging macro-economic backdrop and reflects Neat Burger's progress as a leading plant-based food company. Formula One Champion Lewis Hamilton, who is well known for his support for the environment has reinvested, as did Chimera Capital. The raise also attracted the interest of notable new investors including LionTree, New Theory Ventures, Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and model and actress Sara Sampaio.
The round was led by B-Flexion, a private institutional investment firm founded by Ernesto Bertarelli, which has an increasing number of investments focused on sustainability. Commenting, Chiara Bertarelli said: "I love how Neat Burger is on a mission to make plant-based eating more accessible to everyone. Our generation is paving the way and driving this change, with research showing once Gen-Z adopt a vegan or flexitarian diet, 70% stick with it. So, the key is getting people to try it and integrate it into their daily lives. First impressions count and Neat Burger's approach, combining fun and sustainability, has the potential to change the world". Being the first generation to receive climate education, young people are driving a generational shift towards plant-based diets and having spent time working in the business, Chiara, a recent Harvard Universitygraduate, will now serve as Neat Burger's Sustainability Advisor.
The investor support not only recognises Neat Burger's growth potential but also its differentiated and innovative approach which prioritises an engaging restaurant experience that inspires consumer curiosity and their conversion to a meat-free and flexitarian lifestyle. The first quarter of this year saw a record performance by the group's London restaurants with like for like sales up 20%.
Neat Burger's decision to launch its first US restaurant in New York was a strategic move to tap into the city's thriving foodie culture and health-conscious consumer base. Sales in its first month of operation have beaten expectations and it is the best performing store in the group's whole estate driven by high levels of repeat purchases.
Further international expansion will follow the New York opening with restaurants to launch in Italy and the Middle East, where Neat Burger opened its first franchise in Dubai in October 2022. Neat Burger is also growing its B2B vertical, having formed partnerships with hospitality groups and businesses to help achieve their net zero ambitions.
Tommaso Chiabra, Co-Founder of Neat Burger, said: "We are thrilled to have reached this major milestone in Neat Burger's journey with a successful fundraise from previous investors alongside an impressive group of new investors. This is a pivotal moment for our business, and it allows us to accelerate our growth plans. With the successful launch of our New York location and record first quarter under our belt, we have demonstrated the strength of our brand, and are now well-positioned to bring our award-winning plant-based food to the growing number of consumers in the US and worldwide who are embracing a healthier and more flexitarian lifestyle."
Zack Bishti, Co-Founder and CEO of Neat Burger, said: "We see New York as a tastemaker gateway to the US and by all metrics it has been our most successful launch to date. New Yorkers have good taste and strong opinions and we've been thrilled to see customers continually return. We're at the heart of the growth in plant-based diets and our proximity to the customer voice sets us apart. In response to the growing demand for cleaner ingredients, we've incorporated healthier options into the New York menu, while continuing to serve our growing community food that's as sustainable as it is delicious."