London Union, the street food collective from Leon co-founder Henry Dimbleby and Street Feast's Jonathan Downey (pictured), has reached its £2.5m crowdfunding target within 30 days.
The group raised the amount via the online platform Seedrs, and is now in the process of finalising a deal to collect an extra £1m from private investors.
The total funds amassed will then be used to build a flagship street food market in central London, alongside 12 local markets across the city.
Investments were received from 160 individuals, ranging from £5,000 to £200,000, with each investor becoming a ‘Union Member', meaning they gained a seat on the advisory board, an invitation to the company's Annual General ‘Eating', and the chance to review a restaurant with Giles Coren or Tom Parker-Bowles. The amount raised was for an 11.86% stake in the business. The platform opened on 29 October, and closed at midnight on 30 November.
The group also has an advisory board of founder investors, from across the UK's most well-known restaurateurs, chefs and food writers, including Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver, Yotam Ottolenghi, Russell Norman from the Polpo Group, Soho House's Nick Jones, Wahaca's Thomasina Miers, Zetter Group owner Mark Sainsbury, Marina O'Loughlin, Gizzi Erskine and Giles Coren.
Overall, the group estimates that up to 1.5 million people will visit London Union markets in 2016, while 300,000 visitors over the spring/summer season of 2015 alone was said to generated £3.5m of revenue and £1.5m of market EBITDA.
Commenting on the crowdfunding success, Downey, said: "The support we've received has been phenomenal. It's great to think we are now one step closer to creating the world's greatest food market in central London."
Dimbleby added: "The success of our fundraise means we are well on the way to transforming London's food landscape. We've already set a date for our first investors' dinner and for the Annual General Eating in July, where we'll eat, drink, listen and vote together on important company decisions."
London Union is not the only high-profile name turning to crowdfunding as a means to secure significant investment; recently, beer company BrewDog raised £25m via its Equity for Punks scheme to help it expand; Pizza Rossa raised over £150,000 via the CrowdCube website, and Cheshire restaurateur Gary Usher gathered £100,000 via more informal site Kickstarter.
Seedrs is one such website, which invites investors to ‘invest in businesses you believe in', and especially focuses on new startup companies.