HBAN-backed Soopa Pets to add 10 jobs following €400K investment

Dublin, 18 April 2016

Pictured at today's announcement (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, Soopa Pets.

Pictured at today's announcement (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, Soopa Pets.

  • Funding round led by the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) Food Syndicate with support from Enterprise Ireland
  • Investment will support 10 jobs in Soopa Pets over the next three years
  • Announcement reflects HBAN’s ‘smart money’ approach; combining investment with strategic support
  • Soopa Pets, which makes healthy dog treats, is expanding into international markets

HBAN, the all-island group responsible for promoting business angel investment, today announces 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, marketing and distribution. The HBAN Food Syndicate’s combined expertise will help Soopa Pets target a wider market base.

Speaking about today’s announcement, founder Barbara Hanly said: “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, said: “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.

“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, said: “Barbara won each and every one of us over with her pitch. She has the passion and ability, as well as a viable business plan to hopefully make Soopa Pets a global success.

“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.”

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About Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN)

HBAN is a joint initiative of InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland, dedicated to the all-island promotion of business angel investment.  The HBAN umbrella group supports the early stage entrepreneurial community across the island of Ireland and actively works to increase the number of angel investors investing in early stage companies. The all-island umbrella group works on a regional basis to support the formation of new angel networks and works with existing angel networks to develop their capability and capacity, and across a range of industry sectors. HBAN also acts as a voice to Government, stakeholders, business and the media to promote the interests and needs of the wider angel investment community. HBAN is managed by Dublin BIC in partnership with the regional Irish BICs in Cork, Galway & Waterford. HBAN works in partnership with Halo NI & InvestNI in Northern Ireland. Further information is available at: http://www.hban.org

 

About Soopa Pets

Founded in 2012 by Barbara Hanly, Soopa Pets manufactures and distributes a unique range of nutritious and delicious chewable dog treats. The nutrient-packed treats are made from 100% natural ingredients that are human grade – meaning they are fit for consumption by humans.

The company’s popular dog chews are currently available in stores across Ireland and the UK, as well as in Spain, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Singapore. The chews stocked by large chains including Pet Mania, Pet World in Ireland and Pet’s Corner in the UK, while more new products in the Soopa range will come in 2016. Find out more at http://www.soopapets.com/

 

Contact

Marguerite Bourke

Enterprise Ireland

Marguerite Bourke