Darlington based food manufacturer Myco Foods Ltd plans rapid growth after securing £250,000 worth of funding from NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance, part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF).

The company, which trades under the name Hooba Foods, produces a sustainable mushroom-based meat alternative that is used in their range of meat-free sausages, sausage rolls, mince, burgers and meatballs.

Launched in June 2016 by Mike Botha, John Shepherd and Jay Croslegh, Hooba’s products are aimed firmly at meat-eaters wanting to reduce, or even cut-out, their meat consumption. The company is on a mission to help reduce global meat production, whilst improving public health.

NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance, supports Northern-based SMEs at all stages of their development, helping them to scale-up and realise their growth aspirations.

Myco’s successful application has enabled them to strengthen their sales team and invest and implement their marketing strategy as they begin to commercialise their unique product range.

Keith Charlton, Investment Executive at FW Capital, said: “Myco is an exciting company with a high brand value and high growth potential. The non-meat food sector in which the company operates is large and growing due to a significant move towards healthy and sustainable, environmentally friendly food. This is reflected in Britain becoming a nation of ‘flexitarians’, actively choosing to eat less meat to stay healthier, with a reduction of meat in diet being linked to reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

“Myco has a strong market proposition, customer feedback has been great and there is a strong and ambitious management team with a clear vision for growth and development in place. Our investment will be instrumental in accelerating the company’s expansion in this growing marketplace.”

Jay Croslegh, Director of Myco Foods commented: “The first tranche of funding has allowed us to create new jobs, doubling our workforce, and expand our sales team to drive coverage nationally in the food service sector, developing long-term relationships and supply into the NHS, universities and contract caterers.

“Keith Charlton and the team at FW Capital worked extremely closely with us for quite some time to understand the company, the products and its funding needs.

“Investment into marketing has seen an increase of 1300% in sales over the last month from an already growing base.”

Independent chartered accountancy and business advisory firm UNW has worked with Myco Foods since November 2016 and, led by Corporate Finance Partner John Healey, helped advise them on their finance raise.

Jay added: “UNW assisted in the development of the proposal, advising and testing the projections so that KPI’s would be met and ensuring that subsequent tranches are made available as growth develops further.”

Michael McCulloch, Corporate Finance Manager at UNW, stated: “The Hooba product is truly innovative and has the potential to have a real impact on the market. It has been a pleasure to help the team secure the funding, meaning they now have the resources to reach their potential.

“The success of Hooba should serve as inspiration for those exploring their options and demonstrates the flexibility funders have within NPIF to stimulate growth. The fund has already had a major impact on many businesses in the North looking to grow and we hope it will help facilitate more growth in the region.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.