In the loop: Why Red Bull’s in the doghouse, how SimplyCook raised a £4.5m series A round and the reason many jobseekers want to work for SMEs

The real reason Red Bull’s ad was banned, how a recipe subscription startup offering half-complete meals secured $4.5m and what jobseekers want from employers beside a hefty salary

In the loop: Why Red Bull’s in the doghouse

Stripped-back meal kit startup SimplyCook serves up a $4.5m series A

Investors have clearly grown an appetite for subscription-based, mail-ordered meal kits – one need look no further than Gousto’s recent £18m investment for proof. And now another startup is putting its own flavour to the market thanks to a huge capital injection.

SimplyCook, the recipe kit service, took home a £4.5m series A backed by Octopus Investments, the VC firm. This latest feather in its cap follows a $1.1m seed round in 2015, £717,600 crowdfunding campaign in 2016 and $2m venture round in 2017. 

SimplyCook uniquely mails dish recipes and their condiments – such as herbs, spices and sauces – without the main ingredients. Subsequently, the startup saves cash from not needing to ship easily perishable foods like meat, bread and so forth. 

Expanding a business model isn’t always necessary. Sometimes, stripping back to the bare essentials can prove just as juicy.

Many workers dream to be with a company below 250 staff

Employees are prepared to jump ship for a better offer more than ever this time of year. And new research has found just the kind of gig they have in mind.

Quizzing more than 1,200 professionals, CV-Library, the job site, revealed 40.4% seek businesses with under 250 staff, with only 19.7% wanting to work at big corporations. However, only 7.4% hope to work for a startup.

The survey goes on to find 39.8% believe £25,500 is a fair annual wage and 27.5% agree on £35,500. Moreover, 53.6% desire flexi-time hours while 25.1% like sticking to conventional nine-to-five shifts.

Given 66.4% also want an employer enforcing a smart-casual dress code, there are clearly many ways to attract talent other than just big pay cheques.

Why Red Bull ads got banned

While Red Bull gets away claiming its beverage gives you wings, one of its ads has been banned by the advertising authorities because it could make people think it helped them gain a cognitive boost.

Publicising its homegrown National 4pm Finish Day, which took place on Friday September 14 2018, posters plastered across the London Underground claimed drinking Red Bull is “The secret to finishing early”, “Because to leap every hurdle a hectic day brings, you just need to know: Red Bull gives you wiiings.”

A passerby reported to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) it implied glugging Red Bull had positive impacts on health and concentration, prompting the ASA to ban the campaign as such claims “were not authorised on the EU register.”

Red Bull has since defended the posters by attesting they merely encouraged consumers to leave work an hour earlier and that they didn’t have any health benefits at all. Not a great sign when a company actively has to say their product doesn’t help anyone.

Primark beat its own sales predictions over Christmas 

Amidst nationwide store closures in the retail apocalypse, the Office For National Statistics showed hope by revealing customer spending across December 2018 rose by 3.7% compared to 2017. And Primark serves as a prime example.

Its parent company Associated British Foods reported Primark “exceeded our expectations” with clothing sales over the Christmas season, aiding a 1% jump in clothing sales across 2018 compared to 2017 and a “significant” market share increase. Overall, this helped Primark realise a 4% total sales hike in the 16 weeks to Saturday January 5.

Associated British Foods pinned the success down to a bigger retail selling space, resulting from a drop in like-for-like sales.

With wind in its sales Primark will unleash a 160,000 sq ft megastore in Birmingham this April, showing brick-and-mortar retail hasn’t fallen to the online space yet.

Gunna Drinks’ founder advises not to follow in his entrepreneurial footsteps

If you’ve guzzled over 200 prototypes of your drink product you must have ended up with the recipe for perfection – or lost your mind. Well, judging by Gunna Drinks’ crowdfunding campaign, founder Melvin Jay has his head screwed on tight. 

The reality of life after winning The Apprentice

Candidates of The Apprentice give it their all to win Alan Sugar’s investment. And although it’s definitely worth it, as Alana Spencer explains, life as a victor results in some strange twists and turns.

Charting course for going global in 2019

New Year’s resolutions are often a lot of hot air about taking on the world. But when it comes to eyeing global expansion in 2019, these entrepreneurs are dead serious.

Sam Harney began RIG on the wrong foot but wasn’t afraid to hit reset

If your product or service isn’t quite what you envisaged, it’s never too late to pivot. Just ask RIG founder Sam Harney, who straight after releasing the social fitness app revamped it to capture the boutique gym market.

Singapore’s startup ecosystem has come a long way

From Google to Apple, many tech colossi understand Singapore is the door to the east and set up camp there. However, the Lion City’s reputation didn’t come overnight.

Tread carefully in business this year

While New Years celebrations were packed with champagne popping and Auld Lang Syne blaring, 2019 will bring some serious challenges SMEs must remember to take note of. 

Angus Shaw
Angus Shaw

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