A HEC Paris graduate who has developed a new chef-prepared, plant-based meals service is the 3,000th person to receive a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp.
Frenchman Andrea Cavallo, 24, is launching Planty this summer and says he couldn’t have done it without the support of Virgin StartUp.
Start Up Loans are personal loans for entrepreneurs looking to start or scale their businesses. Every founder taking out a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp also receives 12 months support, including six months mentoring from an experienced entrepreneur.
Andrea’s using his Start Up Loan to get everything ready to take on the UK subscription meal market.
Planty delivers nutritious chef-prepared plant-based meals straight to your door – with fully recyclable packaging. And although it’s only available in London this summer, Andrea has plans for it to go nationwide.
He said: “We were basically looking at funding opportunities which didn’t require us giving up any equity in the business. We didn’t want to go down the banking route either, then came across Virgin StartUp and it looked perfect.
“It made sense, particularly as we get more support from Virgin StartUp – not just the financing. It was a smooth process.”
This being Andrea’s second business after launching a university trading site, he understands the importance of finance.
“When you start a food business there are a lot of upfront costs,” he says. “We had to take into account getting a kitchen up and running and the production for our packaging. We wanted to be operationally ready and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without the loan. It also gives you a bit of a safety net.
“We learned a lot from running the first business, so we can take this into Planty.”
Andrea moved to a plant-based diet when he started to run – and that’s where his idea for the business started to flourish.
He added: “We have a powerful determination to enact impactful change through shifting perceptions on how a plant-based diet can be good for you, good for the planet, and yet still super tasty and exciting.”
Andrea is one of just 3,000 entrepreneurs to have been funded by Virgin StartUp, with around £40m worth of Start Up Loans already received.