Huel IPO: Everything you need to know about Huel
Ryan Thaxton March 9, 2022 9:10 AM
The plant-based meal replacement company Huel is expected to go public sometime this year after enlisting Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan to advise on a possible IPO in the London Stock Exchange.
What is Huel?
Huel is a direct-to-consumer vegan meal replacement company that has quickly become an industry leader since its founding in 2015. The British retailer credits its growth to the rise of grocery-delivery services and an increased public interest in fitness and health.
Huel’s vegan, allergen-free meal replacement powder separates itself from other meal replacement powders with a holistic ingredient list of proteins, carbohydrates, fibre, essential fats, prebiotics, probiotics, and 27 essential vitamins and minerals. The company also offers ready-to-drink shakes and instant meals.
When is Huel’s IPO?
Huel has not yet set a date for its IPO, but the company is expected to go public this year in the London Stock Exchange after hiring Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan to advise a dual-track process considering both the sale of the business or an IPO. According to reports, an IPO is considered the preferred path for future growth.
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How much is Huel worth?
The last time the company raised money was back in 2019 bringing Huel’s valuation at the time to £220m. The IPO Huel is currently considering could value the company at up to £1bn.
How does Huel make money?
Huel makes money through global direct-to-consumer sales of its products, offering a subscription service to loyal customers. Its most basic powder averages out to $1.91 per meal when purchased through a subscription program.
Huel has also held two rounds of investor funding, most recently receiving £20 million in October 2019 led by Highland Europe, a growth-stage technology fund.
Is Huel profitable?
Huel’s profitability has been mixed. It reported a profit for its first three years and a loss for its fourth as the company expanded operation. In 2019/2020, it reported an EBITDA profit of £1m and £72m in revenue, up from £50.2m a year earlier. Financial records for 2020/2021 have not yet been made available.
What is Huel’s business model?
Huel’s business model continues to focus on improving DTC sales and expanding into new markets. According to the company’s latest annual report, Huel has opened third-party managed warehouses in the US and Europe to increase order fulfilment speed. It is also exploring big box retail partnerships in the UK and expansion into the Japanese market, both of which Huel reports to be “promising.”
Huel’s marketing strategy employs an energetic social media presence to appeal to young, fitness-minded buyers through community building and an influencer program. The company affectionately terms dedicated consumers “Hueligans” on its website, where it promotes a recurring subscription service.
Who owns Huel?
Huel is still owned by its founder Julian Hearn who holds 53% of the company’s shares. Hearn co-founded the company with James Collier, a registered nutritionist who is credited with formulating the original Huel powder recipe. The remaining breakdown of Huel stock ownership is not publicly available.
Who are Huel’s competitors?
Huel’s main competitor is Soylent, another meal-replacement start-up with high name recognition that focuses on ready-to-drink shakes. Although more established companies continue to expand into the meal-replacement market including Abbott Laboratories, Kellogg’s, Herbalife and Unilever.
Soylent dominates the US market and is sold across the country in big box stores and gas stations while Huel leads the UK market. In recent years Huel has successfully expanded to the US, Japan, and continental Europe despite a competitive marketplace using paid ad campaigns placed on the search result pages of its competitors.
Huel board of directors
According to the company's most recent annual report, the board of directors comprises of the following.
- Julian Hearn, Founder
- James Collier, Co-founder
- James Robert McMaster, CEO and Director
- Jamal Benmiloud, Director
- Clive Sanford, Director
- Stanislas Laurent, Director
Celebrity entrepreneur Steven Bartlett of ‘Dragons’ Den’ also signed on as a non-executive director in early 2021.
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