Exclusive – Mowgli appoints advisors as it explores funding options: Indian street food concept Mowgli, the Nisha Katona-led business, has appointed advisors to help review its funding options for its next stage of growth, Propel has learned. The 13-strong business, which has been backed by Foresight since 2017 and is chaired by Karen Jones, is understood to be working with PwC on its options. It is thought the process is focused on securing new funding, via a refinancing of Foresight’s minority stake in the business, to back the Katona-led management team to continue to expand the business across the UK. Foresight invested in the then three-strong Mowgli, in the summer of 2017. The company made its London debut with an opening at the former Cote site in Fitzrovia’s Charlotte Street last week. The business, which most recently opened in Cheshire Oaks and Cheltenham, has further openings lined up in Brighton, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Preston. Earlier this year, Katona, who founded the business in 2014, said she was looking at Newcastle and Cambridge for possible openings in 2023-24, and the brand would “continue to build at the steady rate of four sites a year”. Talking to Propel last month, she said the business was “trading its socks off at the moment”. She also said the business was in no rush to find a new investor, but there hasn’t been a day that went by over the past five years that she hasn’t “thought about who the next partner might be”. Katona said: “As soon as you take on an investor, you know full well there comes a time when that investor will move out and you look at another one. What I do have in Foresight is a company I work very well with, it has been an absolute joy. We see things the same way, and Mowgli’s built in a very organic and human way as a result, so I am not in a rush to find another investor. I am always happy to talk to people who might be of the same mind and want to share the journey. There is not a line in the sand where we say ‘right we are going to go now’, we are not quite there. To be frank, it is always something in our mind, if we can find the right people. We are building this in a very parental way, and I would need a bedfellow that feels the same way and feels that paternal passion towards their teams. There are some horror stories out there and there is nothing so bad as a bad marriage, as an Irish friend of mine says. I get out of bed every morning and I am excited about the day ahead of me, and I am not shackled by an investor or by board members making mine or my teams’ life a misery. If we find the right people, then I would be very happy to think about whether we go towards process. We have a good pipeline, but let’s see how the market reawakens.”
Mowgli features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is updated monthly for Premium subscribers. Mowgli turned over £11.3m in its latest reported financial year with adjusted Ebitda of £505,000. The Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, provides a five-year overview of turnover and profit, ranks 456 companies according to turnover, pre-tax profit and profit conversion. It also provides details of directors’ earnings and highest paid directors. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.