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Thu 19th Nov 2015 - Whiting & Hammond raises £200,000 in 24 hours on Funding Circle to open ninth pub
Whiting & Hammond raises £200,000 in 24 hours on Funding Circle to open ninth pub: Gastro-pub operator Whiting & Hammond has raised £200,000 in 24 hours on peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle to open its ninth pub. The company plans to self-fund the majority of its planned £500,000 investment in the new pub, The Rose & Crown, Farnborough, Kent, a Young’s pub located within the M25. Whiting & Hammond founder Brian Whiting told Propel he could find no interest in funding the project among the banks so launched a fund-raising on Funding Circle. A total of 2,000 investors pledged the money within 24 hours. “I think it could be our busiest site – it has a huge garden and is within the M25,” he said. “I could raise no interest from the banks so, on a recommendation, went on Funding Circle. It was quite exciting raising the money in 24 hours. We are rated an A star investment and are paying just under 9% interest.” Whiting & Hammond will invest the cash raised on extending the kitchen, moving the bar and toilets as part of a complete refurbishment with the aim of reopening the pub in mid-March 2016. Whiting & Hammond opened its eighth site in August this year – the Blue Ball in Walton on the Hill, Surrey. The pub was reopened after a two-year closure period with a £800,000 co-investment with landlord Star Pubs & Bars. It has since established itself as the company’s best or, in some weeks, second best performing pub with average takings per week in excess of £30,000 net. “It’s established a very strong wet trade in the village,” Whiting told Propel. The company has also launched its first pop-up Christmas Festival at its Stanmer House site near Brighton, which runs from this evening (Thursday, 19 November) until 1 January. “We’ve created our version of a Winter Wonderland and taken £150,000 in pre-bookings, with a couple of £25,000 bookings,” Whiting said.

Mobile app Happiour launches £750,000 crowdfunding drive on Crowdcube: Mobile app Happiour, used in more than 400 coffee shops, eateries and bars across London, has launched a £750,000 crowdfunding drive on Crowdcube in return for 15% of its equity. The company, founded by Hal Stokes – former head of music at Bebo – and Sam Stokes, is raising the money to expand the business and the team. So far it has raised £121,690 from 43 investors with 26 days remaining. The largest investment to date is £100,000. The pitch states: “Research suggests over £320m is spent every day on hot drinks, lunch and snacks by workers in the UK. We connect these vendors and customers through live, local and relevant mobile offers. We give consumers time sensitive local offers, when they’re most relevant (imagine wanting a coffee and being able to look for local coffee shops around you, offering discounted coffee there and then). We give businesses the power to rapidly react to low footfall or excess inventory by attracting nearby customers with great deals. Major brands and local independents successfully use Happiour across London, from Starbucks to Flat Planet, and we’re expanding fast. Happiour is a digital marketplace that connects vendors and customers in the real world. We plan to monetise from March 2016 via a subscription model, akin to Rightmove. Vendors will be able to post Happiours for a monthly fee, as well as gathering consumer insights. Additional revenues will support subscriptions and are listed in our business plan. We’re raising funds to scale Happiour and expand nationally, we will: launch our self-service vendor platform (allowing vendors to create Happiours instantly); grow the tech team (release product faster, remain innovative); grow the business development team (attract more vendor partners, manage existing partners, ready for national expansion); grow the user base. Happiour is a marketplace; the market has to become established before effective monetisation can be applied. Therefore, we expect no income until 2016, and no profit until 2017, all in favour of growing the users and vendors to tipping point.”
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