June 30, 2022

The millionaires of Dragons’ Den slammed my ice cream business

TWO brothers may have received a frosty reception from the millionaires of Dragons’ Den – but their ice cream business is now worth £ 86million.

And while they didn’t impress the judges with their healthy alternative, Harry and Charlie Thuillier now count tennis sensation Andy Murray among their investors.

The founders of Oppo ice cream, Harry and Charlie ThuillierCredit: OPPO
The brothers appeared on Dragons’ Den in 2015 but failed to secure an investmentCredit: OPPO
Oppo ice cream is significantly lower in calories and sugar
Oppo ice cream is significantly lower in calories and sugarCredit: Oppo

The duo had hoped to get £ 60,000 in return for a 7% stake in their ice cream business Oppo when they appeared on the BBC show in 2015.

However, the Dragons froze them – with silver man Peter Jones going so far as to say that low-calorie ice cream with 60% less sugar was “about as useful as mudguards.” ‘a turtle “.

The guys walked away empty-handed but the entrepreneurs had the final say as Oppo’s value has since grown over 100 times to around £ 85.7million.

And retail businessman Touker Suleyman, who shot the company down during the episode six years ago, even came back crawling with his tail between his legs, wanting a scoop of the l ‘action.

Charlie, 32, said: “It was not all rosy. Unfortunately, we did not receive an offer because the Dragons believed Oppo would face too many obstacles to reach the mass market and not make any money.

“Peter Jones even told us that healthier ice cream is about as useful as mud flaps on a turtle. We had a hard time not laughing.

“Even if we had other investments, of course we would have liked an offer.

“In many ways the Dragons were right, selling to supermarkets is very difficult and would have been a very risky investment for them – but they just couldn’t see that we had the kind of resilience to ride the roller coaster. “

Harry and Charlie founded Oppo in 2014 after two years of experimenting with healthier ice cream combinations in the kitchen.

After thousands of attempts, Charlie has finally found a recipe as good as the real one.

He quickly swapped his job at the company for the beverage company Diageo to become an ice cream maker turned full-time businessman, and Oppo was officially born.

A year later, after a 12-minute segment on the hit BBC show, Oppo was on Google UK as the most searched term, and stores immediately sold their ice cream.

A successful crowdfunding campaign then saw Oppo become the fastest restaurant company to reach its goal on Seedrs, and big names started to call.

“The Touker team was in contact several times in 2017/18, but we didn’t meet them as we weren’t able to accept investments at that time,” said Charlie, who lives in Wandsworth, South West London. .

“But we have received investments from Andy Murray, as well as 958 other investors.

“The majority of them sold their shares in 2019 for 6.4 times their initial investment. “

“WE FOCUSED NOT TO LAUGH”

Charlie and Harry, 35, attribute Oppo’s success simply to its tasty products, which have won four Great Taste Awards.

He said, “We compare our taste to leading premium brands of regular ice cream, and all of our flavors match or even top in independently researched blind taste tests, while being 1,000 calories less. per jar and using natural ingredients.

“Squinting heaps of sugar and fat in ice cream is lazy recipe formulation, and we’re on a mission to show that you don’t have to give someone diabetes for them to benefit from.” a real treat.

“There’s a lot to like about it, but it wasn’t an overnight success, so we don’t blame the Dragons for not taking the risk back then. “

Oppo is stocked in almost all major supermarkets in 10 countries in Europe.

This includes Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco, Ocado, Waitrose, Harrods, Booths and Wholefoods in the UK – but Charlie is working to bring it to even more Brits.

It wasn’t an overnight success, so we don’t blame the Dragons for not taking the risk back then.

In addition to its creamy treats, the company also aims to “keep doing good” by being carbon neutral by 2022, supporting charitable initiatives from cocoa plantations in Colombia to nursing homes and schools across the UK, and cutting calories in UK diets.

“We are working hard to please as many people as possible around the world,” Charlie said.

“We have already cut five billion calories from consumers ‘diets, or 600,000 kg of fat, since our launch on the basis of consumers’ choice to eat Oppo versus the regular high sugar alternative. “

Following in the footsteps of the Thuillier brothers, Alessandro Savelli, appeared in Dragons’ Den in 2018.

The pasta prodigy put all his heart into his pitch, but millionaires rejected his idea of ​​an Italian business, calling his finances “ridiculous.”

However, a few years later, Alessandro ‘overwhelmingly proved the Dragons wrong’ after his meal-making business Pasta Evangelists was sold for £ 40million.

The Dragons believed that healthier, lower calorie ice cream was a risky investment
The Dragons believed that healthier, lower calorie ice cream was a risky investmentCredit: OPPO
The Dragons may have said no, but tennis sensation Andy Murray backed the brand
The Dragons may have said no, but tennis sensation Andy Murray backed the brand
The brothers won four Great Taste Awards
The brothers won four Great Taste Awards
Oppo products are now widely sold across Europe
Oppo products are now widely sold across EuropeCredit: OPPO
Part of the Oppo team in 2021
Part of the Oppo team in 2021Credit: OPPO

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