Source: The Artful BakerThe Artful Baker’s biscotti rangeWarburtons has backed biscuit manufacturer The Artful Baker with a six-figure investment as part of the Batch Ventures innovation fund.It is the first of several investments that the 50:50 joint venture with independent business accelerator Mission Ventures expects to make this year, it said.Batch Ventures was set up last year to back businesses producing innovative bakery products. It combines equity funding together with hands-on support from successful entrepreneurs and industry professionals, it added. It takes a minority stake-holding in businesses it approves and typically plans to invest between £50,000 to £250,000.Following its launch, it received more than 80 expressions of interest from UK companies with nearly half of these (46%) specialising in snacks while 21% were involved in the gluten-free market.Based in Dorset, The Artful Baker produces a range of sweet and savoury biscuits, Biscotti Thins and Biscotti Nibbles.“We were impressed with The Artful Baker’s quality of products and level of innovation and see a great opportunity to support their growth plans. Working with Mission Ventures and using Batch as a vehicle for small investments in a portfolio of promising brands give us an opportunity to support early stage entrepreneurs,” said Jonathan Warburton.“We’re excited to be partnered with Batch Ventures and see the support they provide as a great step forward on our journey of scaling the business, both here in the UK and via export trade. We already supply our biscotti to Italy and are seeing increased interest from buyers overseas,” added Paul Rostand, founder and CEO of The Artful Baker.The investment represents a new approach to backing SMEs and start-ups working in and around baked goods, according to Batch Ventures.It also expects to announce a second investment this month and is actively seeking new investment opportunities to back British enterprise.
Maninder, with 15 raid points, kept Bengal in the hunt throughout but it was not enough. And with this loss, Bengal faced their first defeat in five matches. Also, Haryana maintain their record against Bengal and increase their head-to-head lead to 3-0.After a convincing display to brush aside Patna Pirates in their last game, Bengal Warriors will hope they can continue with their winning momentum and extend their unbeaten run to six matches. Their talisman in attack – Maninder Singh – has been consistent and will be a source of concern for Haryana Steelers’ defence. However, he won’t be the only raider they will need to stop to have a shot at victory. The likes of K. Prapanjan and all-rounder Mohammad Nabibakhsh have already proven their quality in attack for Bengal Warriors and will be itching to make an impact on Monday.Their defence also possesses a wealth of talent, making for a well-balanced unit that has, unsurprisingly, been towards the top of the table for most the season. Rinku Narwal registered a High 5 for them last time around, but Jeeva Kumar and Baldev Singh are also capable of producing similar performances.On their day, and with Vikash Kandola in form, Haryana Steelers are capable of steamrolling any opposition. Kandola holds the key for Haryana Steelers since the team generally fares better when he’s on top of his game. It’s no surprise that a lot of their wins this season have coincided with strong performances from Kandola. Keeping him quiet on Monday could well be half the battle won for Bengal Warriors.That said, it’s not like Haryana Steelers don’t have other options in attack with the likes of Prashanth Kumar Rai, Naveen, Vinay and Selvamani K, all in their ranks. However, they need to step up and take some of the pressure off Kandola’s shoulders while raiding on Monday, or else the team risks being over-dependent on their talisman.As far as the defence goes, Haryana Steelers seem to have improved as the season has progressed. Sunil has been their best performer in that department and is currently their leading tackle point scorer (22). The experience of Vikas Kale and Dharmaraj Cheralathan further bolsters their defence, while Ravi Kumar and Chand Singh also offered glimpses of what they’re capable of in the team’s last game.