Thanks to Andy Murray and the more than 500 sponsors who recently invested £350,000, Oppo Ice Cream will now be less known as the company that lost out on BBC Dragons’ Den and more as the company that won through crowd funding.
Following their typically harrowing experience on the hit TV show, Charlie and Harry Thuillier took their low-calorie super-food line of quality ice cream out into the open market. Their aim of securing £150,000 was soon reached and exceeded, partly thanks to tennis superstar Andy Murray, who bought into the company for a 5.5% share.
Going from Strength to Strength
Already stocked in over 1,300 UK stores, including Budgens, Holland & Barrett and the US Wholefoods grocery chain, it’s hard to imagine that Oppo Ice Cream was only launched in October 2014. It. However, as many small-business food producers will understand, if you have a great product you need to have the drive to get it out there. Naturally, drive is one thing and, as Oppo Ice Cream shows, finances are something totally different.
One great way to get started without breaking the bank is to invest in used food machinery. Great-quality equipment can be found at a fraction of the price of brand new merchandise at suppliers such as http://www.clarke-fussells.co.uk/. All new food production and catering businesses need to be sure to watch the pennies if they plan to be successful in the future.
A Missed Opportunity for the Dragons
No doubt the ruthless investors will be scratching their heads as they read the news. The healthy ice cream company soon developed an incredible following on the crowd-funding platform Seedrs and is now valued at around £3.11m, but it wasn’t just Murray’s involvement that led to their success.
Sir Richard Branson warmly endorsed the ice cream, which claims one serving has fewer calories than one large apple. What’s more, even Prime Minister Davis Cameron saw its potential both as a product and sign of British entrepreneurialism. The ‘guilt-free’ ice cream makers were recently invited to join an overseas trade mission to talk about their product and approach.
However, the manufacturers have remained cool and unaffected by their success. Charlie Thuillier recently told the papers that it was never about the money – only about making delicious healthy food.