Norwich sports firm Hench Nutrition launches crowdfunding campaign
PUBLISHED: 10:46 22 July 2016 | UPDATED: 15:55 22 July 2016
A sports nutrition company founded by a college student is looking to beef up its prospects with a new fundraising drive.
Since it was set up in 2011, Hench Nutrition has gone from a one-man business operating from a spare bedroom in founder John Horwell’s parents’ house to turning over more than half a million pounds a year.
Now the 26-year-old is looking for investment of £300,000 from a crowdfunding campaign, which he thinks will help his company to steal a march on the competition in a crowded marketplace, develop new ranges and move protein-enriched products into the mainstream.
“It’s come a long way from where the industry began with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Muscle Beach – the sports nutrition industry is not like that any more,” he said.
“Now, it’s everyday people who are trying to stay healthy and seeing the benefits of having protein-enriched products to support their active lifestyle.”
Hench was set up on a credit card when Mr Horwell decided to quit his business management course at City College in Norwich and now sells a range of more than 500 products to a client base of more than 30,000 customers.
With the UK sports nutrition market worth approximately £300m a year and forecast to increase, Mr Horwell is keen for the business to grow.
He said the cash, which he hopes to raise on the website Crowdcube in exchange for 6.25% equity – valuing the company at £4.8m – would enable him to take on someone to head up the branding and social media for Hench, and another in a sales position to increase the company’s market share.
The company currently does 95% of its business online from its premises on Fifers Lane in Norwich , but is keen to strike deals with gym chains and high-street retailers to spread its name.
“We want to build the brand to stand out and be different. There’s lots of competitors out there and they all merge into one, so it’s about developing a unique brand,” said Mr Horwell.
He pointed to Hench’s range of products including protein pancakes and protein mug cakes as proof of its innovation to reach new customers.
The majority of its customers are aged between 18 and 35, with Mr Horwell hoping that their loyalty to Hench will lead to them investing.
“It seems a nice way to get people involved and passionate about the brand,” he said.
“Once they find out about the products they just want to be involved, so owning shares is just the next step.
He said the company was already paying dividends and had high net profit margins.
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