Dragons’ Den success stories: Cocofina
This coconut food brand ultimately missed out on investment, but that hasn’t stopped it from expanding into 28 countries and gaining national press attention in a Sage campaign…
Company name: Cocofina
Description: Coconut-based food and drink business retailing coconut water, snacks, baking ingredients and more
Investment sought: £75,000 for 5% equity
Why didn’t the Dragons invest? Founder Jacob Thundil accepted a joint offer of £75,000 for 20% equity from Sarah Willingham and Nick Jenkins, however the investment was never completed
Retailing everything from coconut water and coconut energy bars to chips, vinegar, sugar and flour made from the tropical fruit, Cocofina was inspired by founder Jacob Thundil’s childhood in Kerala, India; a region renowned for its coconuts.
After selecting a great-tasting species of the fruit to use for his coconut water – the company’s first product, and allegedly the first coconut water to retail in the UK – Thundil launched the brand in 2005.
It was 11 years later that he entered the Den, along with business partner Manisha Solanki, in search of a £75,000 funding boost.
The Dragons went nuts for Cocofina’s extensive range of unique products and all five made an offer, with Touker Suleyman even putting a hefty £100,000 on the table. However, Thundil chose two Dragons for the price of one in Nick Jenkins and Sarah Willingham, who offered £75,000 for a joint 20% equity.
Despite the enthusiasm in the Den, the deal was not completed following filming of the episode. But this hasn’t prevented Cocofina from achieving success, and in late 2016 the business was selected as a winner in the #StartupsPopUp competition, which saw it win free pop-up space in a prime London location for a week.
Today, the brand retails in 3,000 specialty and health-focused outlets across the UK, including Harrods, Fenwick, Holland and Barrett and Whole Foods Market, and is available in 28 countries worldwide. In June 2017, the business had a reported turnover of over $3.6m.
Cocofina has also been promoted by Sage as a ‘Sage One Business Builder’, and has gained national press attention in major publications following its part in the campaign.
With seven Great Taste Awards from the Guild of Fine Food under its belt, Cocofina is considered a premium brand, while its unceasingly innovative products ensure that it is living up to its position as “the coconut experts”.