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Soup tasted so much better after New Covent Garden canned the can: The Times

John Stapleton was studying for a master’s degree in food science at Reading University when he went to the meeting that changed his life. It was the late 1980s and it happened in a pub.

Over a lunchtime pint, Andrew Palmer — a London stockbroker interested in the food industry — outlined his idea for a fresh soup brand sold in a carton rather than a can. He needed a co-founder with scientific expertise and Stapleton fitted the bill.

Q&A with Angel Investor John Stapleton – The Sunday Times

Every week we talk to a business angel, one of the early-stage investors who collectively inject £1.5bn a year into British start-up companies.

John Stapleton: ‘I invest in businesses only where I think I can add value’

John Stapleton, 54, co-founded the New Covent Garden Soup Co straight after graduating from Reading University in 1987. After 11 years and with sales of £20m, he sold it to Daniels, a London-listed food company. He later started Little Dish, which makes children’s snacks, and sold that last year.

Stapleton started angel investing two years ago and backs food and drink start-ups including Capsicana, which makes Latin American sauces, and Spoon Cereals, a health food maker.

Stapleton typically funds founders with £100,000.

Why I invest
When you start your own business, you go very deep into a lot of detail — but it’s only one business. Investing gives me a breadth of experience I never had before, and keeps me in touch with the market.