Investors pledge £2m to fast-growing doughnut business

A fast-growing doughnut business is set to raise the ceiling on its crowdfund campaign after attracting five times its prospective investment target in just two weeks of trading.

Derby-based Project D launched a £400,000 crowdfund campaign at the beginning of May in an effort to inject cash to speed up its already rapid expansion. On the first day of launch alone, the pre-registration figure totalled more than £500,000.

Within two weeks of launching its online campaign on the Crowdcube crowdfunding platform, the firm received expressions of interest amounting to more than £2m, in addition to the £150,000 lead investment already generated prior to the launch.

More than 2,500 potential investors keen to claim their own stake in the booming bakery business have flocked to the crowdfunding site to register an interest.

The company, which was launched from a kitchen table in 2018 by three former school friends, is now keen to encourage more potential future shareholders to pre-register before it decides how much to increase its original £400,000 target by.

The closing date for pre-registration has not yet been announced.

Max Poynton, co-founder and marketing director for Project D, said: “Given the level of interest, we will probably now look to overfund our original investment target.

“It’s unbelievable how many individuals want to be a part of our company. I’m totally blown away by the numbers our crowdfund registration campaign has generated so far.

“It’s also really rewarding to see some real interest from everyday people, including hundreds of our loyal social media followers.”

Poynton said that around 45% of the £2m total came from professional investors, with the remainder coming from first-time investors, most of whom showed an interest in investing between £50 and £1,000.

Once the pre-registration stage of the crowdfund campaign has closed, the firm will begin the task of inviting potential investors to formally pledge their desired amounts. This will be handled by and large on a first-come-first-served basis until the firm’s overfund level has been reached.

“We urge any interested parties who haven’t yet visited our crowdfund page to get involved before the door closes,” said Poynton. “We’d love to invite as many investors as possible to join our ‘inner ring’.”

The bakery manufactures around two million doughnuts a year at its purpose-built 11,000 sq ft bakery.

With a current annual turnover of around £2.6m, the team is aiming to use the crowdfund investment to reach a £12m turnover within three years.

Founded by Poynton and fellow ex-schoolfriends Matt Bond and Jacob Watts, Project D has already attracted partnerships with global heavyweight brands like British Airways, Brewdog, Amazon and Coca-Cola.

Finance raised from the crowdfund campaign will be invested in product innovation, retail expansion, digital marketing and e-commerce and key office hires.

The firm, which has to date created more than 2,500 individual product lines, works with food scientists and nutritionists at a research and development facility in Corby, Northamptonshire.