Sessions has raised £3.25m from Virgin Money to develop its technology, with £47m of sales now happening on the platform
Food brand licensing platform Sessions has raised £3.25m from Virgin Money as it seeks to invest further in the development of its technology, while acquiring and scaling more brands. In less than 3 years of operation, the Sessions Platform has grown to more than £47m in annualised sales after 300%+ growth in the latest quarter. The raise represents additional capital following a £8.1m Series A closed in 2022.
The Sessions platform identifies exciting food brands and scales them rapidly by launching them in existing kitchens. Unlike dark kitchen models, it adopts a multi-channel approach to licensing, making its brands available on delivery platforms and to consumers in physical venues. This omnichannel approach, along with supporting real authentic concepts, has proved fundamental in its ability to drive consumer sales:
“To raise this round with such a great team at Virgin is testament to the significant growth we’ve achieved across the past 12 months, while radically improving profitability. It also marks a line in the sand for us to inject clear purpose and energy into our biggest growth lever – licensing and scaling brands through our tech platform.”
Dan Warne, Founder
Sessions believes their continued growth is owed to two foundational principles: Firstly, supporting real, authentic food concepts from engaged and passionate founders. Consumers don’t want to buy a brand that’s built in a box, so a real story is important. Secondly, anchoring their concepts in the physical world breathes life and brand equity into them faster than relying purely on delivery, where you’re at the mercy of the algorithms. These two principles are starting to prove themselves as fundamental, as there is wider acceptance that pure play dark kitchen models are very challenging.
“Virgin Money Venture Debt is delighted to have completed a £3.25m funding package with Sessions, a leading B2C technology company with a capital efficient physical and digital food platform. Sessions has an innovative asset light food licensing and franchising model which in essence helps chef founders rapidly test, incubate and scale their creations in an authentic way. We warmly welcome Dan Warne (CEO), Ian Banks (CFO) and all the Sessions team to our portfolio of fast growing technology companies.”
Mark Cooke, Head of Venture Debt at Virgin
With the raise directed towards further growth in licensing, Sessions is consciously moving away from large Capex projects with high operational intensity, such as further food halls, which no longer fit with an asset light, tech-enabled strategy. However Shelter Hall, where the business started, has achieved record revenues and profit over the 12 months up to September, and remains an important content engine for Sessions. More than a third of the brands launched there have gone on to grow in the wider Sessions network. One of these brands, Patty Guy by Kenny Tutt, has scaled across 100 sites under licence and has opened two physical franchises, in Worthing and Hastings, in the past 6 months.
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