Award-winning Cornwall-based dairy-free ice cream brand Coconuts Naturally, which turned down investment from BBC’s Dragons’ Den last year, has secured £100k within 48 hours of the campaign’s private launch. It meant the company had hit its funding target over the weekend, before the campaign was opened to the public on Monday.
Despite this, the crowdfunding campaign will remain open for overfunding on top European equity crowdfunding site Seedrs, so members of the public still have the chance to invest in the organic, natural ice cream business. The successful investment drive will be used to support the company’s expansion into a leading UK supermarket and beyond, with an upcoming rebrand and the launch of two new flavours.
Coconuts Naturally launched in 2015, when founder Cecily Mills discovered a gap in the market for a vegan alternative that matched the flavour and texture of dairy ice cream. The business has achieved more than 100% sales growth every year in its first three years, partly thanks to the explosion in customer appetite for vegan products.
Along with continuing growth in the vegan sector, Coconuts Naturally is ideally positioned to take advantage of other major growth areas in the UK food industry, including growing demand for organic food.
Coconuts Naturally was featured on BBC Dragons’ Den last September, during which Peter Jones described the natural, non-dairy ice cream as ‘exceptional’. Founder Cecily Mills received two offers, accepting an investment from Jenny Campbell that she ultimately turned down following filming.
The company sought £100,000 investment through crowdfunding, based on a pre-money valuation of £1.35M. The funds will go towards:
· Expanding the team
· Brand marketing, including influencer marketing and paid social advertising
· Funding working capital
Coconuts Naturally is predicted to sell £180,000 worth of ice cream by the end of this financial year, which is set to soar to £2.3 million next year (2019/20), thanks to a major UK supermarket launch into more than 600 stores.
Cecily Mills, founder of Coconuts Naturally, commented: “We couldn’t be happier to achieve our target so quickly; we had a sense there was considerable interest in the campaign, but that doesn’t mean anything until people actually commit the funds. The fact that we’ve received such significant investment so quickly is absolutely fantastic. Following my appearance on BBC Dragons’ Den and the incredibly difficult decision to turn down Jenny Campbell’s investment offer, the business has grown from strength to strength, with 2019 set to be our biggest year yet by far. Securing this additional investment will allow us to expand our team in order to fulfill our ambitious growth plans, while still remaining loyal to our roots.”
In order to further strengthen its market position and ensure its product catches the attention of busy shoppers, Coconuts Naturally is completing a company re-brand, relaunching in March as Coconuts Organic. The new name and packaging clearly communicates the brand’s use of natural ingredients, and the bolder, brighter eye-catching tubs are designed to stand out on supermarket shelves.
Mills goes on to comment “We pride ourselves in producing the creamiest, best-tasting vegan ice cream on the market and have ambitions to become the leading luxury dairy-free ice cream brand in the UK. Our rebrand to Coconuts Organic gets us ready for our supermarket scale-up in March and lays a stronger foundation for further expansion in the future.
“It’s such an exciting time for us, and the crowdfunding offers an opportunity for our customers to be a part of the journey.”