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HBAN-backed Soopa Pets to Expand

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HBAN-backed Soopa Pets to Expand

HBAN-backed Soopa Pets to Expand
April 18
11:40 2016

Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) Food Syndicate, the all-Ireland group responsible for promoting business angel investment, has announced an investment in Soopa Pets, the maker of healthy and nutritious dog treats. The €400,000 funding was led by business angels from the HBAN Food Syndicate, with support from Enterprise Ireland, and will see the creation of 10 jobs in Soopa Pets.

The new roles will be in customer support, sales and marketing, as the company – whose treats are now sold in the UK, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Singapore – targets further international expansion.

Founded by Barbara Hanly, Soopa Pets manufactures healthy pet treats made from 100% fruit and vegetables. After leaving a career in financial recruitment to start a dog-grooming business, Barbara was shocked to see large numbers of dogs with medical issues such as obesity, diabetes and pancreatitis. She decided to capitalise on the gap in the market for low fat, nutrient-packed treats.

Soopa Pets’ range of Soopa Chews has been specially developed to ensure pets get the most out of their treats. The chews undergo a process of dehydration, which prevents spoilage while preserving vitamins and antioxidants. The end result is treats that are produced to human grade quality and extremely healthy.

As the company looks to expand, it will benefit from the ‘smart money’ aspect of angel investing. A total of nine investors from the HBAN Food Syndicate were involved in the deal that will provided Soopa Pets with not just essential funding, but ongoing strategic support and advice, too. The investors are retail heavyweights with experience in the areas of production, sales, marketing and distribution. The HBAN Food Syndicate’s combined expertise will help Soopa Pets target a wider market base.

Barbara Hanly comments: “I was driven to set up Soopa Pets by a desire to provide something that simply wasn’t available to pet owners –healthy and nutritious pet treats. Soopa Chews are 100% natural and suitable for dogs with health issues such as diabetes or liver disease. The HBAN Food Syndicate has a wealth of knowledge and experience within the food sector and it is great to have them on board as investors, as they really understand what drives success. Their experience and advice will help Soopa Pets expand and bring our delicious, super-nutritious treat to the European market.”

Michael Culligan, national director of HBAN, a joint initiative of InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland, says: “The Soopa Pets story highlights the vital role angel investment can play in the development and international expansion of high-potential Irish start-ups. The Irish food industry is continuing to grow at an incredible rate. The investors in the HBAN Food Syndicate are well aware of the inherent potential in this area and have all been involved in starting or growing businesses in the food sector previously.”

He adds: “We in HBAN are very pleased with the evolution of the Food and other HBAN syndicates. We look forward to continuing to support the growth of Ireland as a hub for high-potential start-ups through the provision of smart investment.”

Colm Healy, entrepreneur and lead angel in the Soopa Pets investment, says: “By engaging with the HBAN Food Syndicate, Barbara has not only received the investment she needs, but also the industry expertise behind the money. She now has a panel of experienced advisors on-hand to help her as she targets further growth. As the lead angel, I now sit on the Soopa Pets board and with the help of my co-investors, will continue to provide Barbara with the support, business connections and assistance she needs to grow her business. As she sells her product to large European retailers, Barbara’s position is now strengthened through the backing of some of the industry’s biggest players who are working to help make her business a success.”

CAPTION:

Pictured (L-R) are: Stephen Twaddell, Chair, HBAN Food Syndicate; Orlagh Nolan, HBAN; Colm Healy, Investor, HBAN Food Syndicate; Pat Rigney, Investor, HBAN Food Syndicate; and Barbara Hanly, Founder of Soopa Pets.

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