Sessions has raised £3.25m from Virgin Money as it seeks to invest further in the development of its technology while acquiring and scaling more brands.

The raise represents additional capital, following a £8.1m Series A round closed in 2022.

The food brand licensing platform has grown to more than £47m in annualised sales in less than three years of operation, following 300% growth in the latest quarter.

The raise is directed towards further growth in licensing as part of a conscious move away from large capex projects with high operational intensity.

Further food halls, such as the Sessions-operated Neighbourhood Islington and Shelter Hall in Brighton, no longer fit with the business’s asset-light, tech-enabled strategy.

However, Shelter Hall has achieved record revenues and profit over the 12 months up to September, and remains an important “content engine” for Sessions.

More than a third of the brands launched at Shelter Hall have grown in the wider Sessions network, with one brand – Patty Guy – scaling across 100 sites under licence and opening two physical franchises in Worthing and Hastings in the past six months.

Sessions identifies exciting food brands and scales them rapidly by launching them in existing kitchens. Unlike dark kitchen models, it adopts a multichannel approach to licensing, making brands available on delivery platforms and to consumers in physical venues.

The omnichannel approach, along with supporting “real authentic” concepts, has been fundamental in its ability to drive sales, according to Sessions.

Founder Dan Warne said: “To raise this round with such a great team at Virgin is testament to the significant growth we’ve achieved across the past 12 months, while radically improving profitability. It also marks a line in the sand for us to inject clear purpose and energy into our biggest growth lever - licensing and scaling brands through our tech platform.”

Head of Venture Debt at Virgin, Mark Cook, said: “Virgin Money Venture Debt is delighted to have completed a £3.25m funding package with Sessions, a leading B2C technology company with a capital efficient physical and digital food platform. Sessions has an innovative asset light food licensing and franchising model which in essence helps chef founders rapidly test, incubate and scale their creations in an authentic way. We warmly welcome Dan Warne (CEO), Ian Banks (CFO) and all the Sessions team to our portfolio of fast growing technology companies.”