UK – Butternut Box, UK’s delivery startup for dog food has raised US$19.4 million (€17.4 million) in a new round of funding led by European venture capital firms Five Seasons Ventures and White Star Capital.

Also participating in the investment round include existing backers Passion Capital and Literacy Capital.

The company is looking to use the new funding to launch into Europe and establish a leading pet wellness business.

Launched in 2016 by Kevin Glynn and David Nolan, Butternut Box makes dog food from meat, vegetables, lentils and minerals and last year, it registered 700% growth in revenues.

“We’re so excited to have the backing of amazing investors to take Butternut Box to the next level and grow a leading pet wellness company in Europe,” said David Nolan.

“Even more exciting is that we will reach more pets and could help them to live healthier, happier lives.

“The transformation stories we hear from pet parents each day spurs us on to make Butternut Box even better.”

It makes dishes cooked with fresh ingredients and portioned according to a dog’s breed, weight, sex and exercise regime before they are delivered to customers.

The new investment aims to bring healthy, balanced diets to more pets across the UK and Europe.

Alongside the funding, former SkyBet chief executive Richard Flint will join the Butternut board.

“Although it might not seem that home-cooked dog food and online betting have much in common, I am learning that there are many parallels,” said Richard Flint, former chief executive of SkyBet.

“Most importantly my passion is helping great teams to succeed and that’s why I am so excited to be joining the Butternut Box Board.”

Speaking on the investment, Ivan Farneti, partner at Five Seasons Ventures, said: “Last year we were actively searching for a pet food investment opportunity around two key trends: the humanisation of pets and the increasing shift towards natural food, with the connected premiumisation of the overall experience.

“The team at Butternut Box was spot on in terms of their product positioning, their direct-to-consumer model and strong commercial traction.

“This is one of the strongest teams we have seen in foodtech in Europe over the last few years: we had to back them.”