Dragons’ Den backs coconut entrepreneur for £75,000

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Jacob Thundil won £75,000 from two Dragons in the Den for a joint 20% of Cocofina
Jacob Thundil won £75,000 from two Dragons in the Den for a joint 20% of Cocofina

Related tags: Coconut water, Coconut

Dragons fought to invest in coconut entrepreneur Jacob Thundil, after he showcased his Cocofina brand, in TV show Dragons’ Den last night.

Thundil was offering a 5% share in return for £75,000 to help develop the business, which he jointly owns with Manisha Solanki. He set up the business 11 years’ ago, while working full time, selling coconut water before it became popular.

The brand sells a range of products from coconut milk, snack bars to water. It was revealed that it already distributed to Harrods, Fenwick and 700 Holland & Barrett stores and exports to 25 countries.

The company currently exports 45% of sales while 55% is sold in the UK.

Thundil told the Dragons that he was looking at retailers including Boots, Superdrug, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer for further roll-out. He said he believed it would be a risk to go into larger retailers including Tesco at this time. 

Turnover £1M

He revealed to the Dragons that turnover for the last three years was £1M, £600,000 and £300,000 respectively. Net profits were £70,000, £50,000 and £12,000 respectively.

During his pitch he said: “We produce coconut products to eat, drink and cook with. The market for coconut oil and coconut water in the US alone is worth about £750M and in the UK £50M and doubling annually.

“We would welcome a Dragon to join the coconut experts to build a superbrand for coconuts.”

He said that he supplied a wide range of coconut products in order to show innovation to the customer.

He highlighted the soya sauce alternative that was launched less than a year ago and revealed it had already sold 15,000 bottles in the year.

20% share

Deborah Meaden was the first Dragon to make him an offer but wanted 20% share of the business for £75,000.

She said: “You might be cautious but it makes you stop and work things out.”

Meaden said she had been involved with companies that had rushed into the supermarkets too early and she also raised the danger that the margins were then hit by supplying the larger retailers.

She was followed by the rest of the Dragons, including Nick Jenkins, Touker Suleyman, Peter Jones and Sarah Willingham.

Eventually a joint offer between Nick Jenkins and Sarah Willingham of 20% for £75,000 and the chance for Thundil to buy back 10% of the business at a later date was accepted.

Thundil expressed his passion for the business.

“Imagine liking chocolate and getting to paid to eat it. That is how I feel,”​ he said.

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