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Dragons Den - The Coconut Experts - Transcript

Dragons' Den

 

Its exciting to be on Dragons Den, see the transcript of our appearance below.....

BBC2 (BBC 2): International Programming

9:45 PM

Time for our final entrepreneur tonight, Jacob Thundil. Now, in a crowded market,

it's hard to make your mark, particularly when it comes to any kind of food or

drink. but Jacob has an on-trend product range that he thinks will tickle the

dragons' taste buds. Jacob is a man on a mission, excited to share his lifelong

obsession with the multimillionaire investors. I'm very passionate. I couldn't do

even one day without my own products. Imagine liking chocolate and getting paid

to eat it, that's how I feel. I'm a fan of the dragons.

9:46 pm

Everybody has a different skill set and we feel the dragons can help us to take it

to the next level. Hello, dragons. I'm jacob thundil. Chief nut at the cocofina, the

coconut experts. We produce coconut products to eat, drink and cook with. I was

born in a place called Kerala and Kerala means in sanskrit land of coconuts.

Cocofina was my destiny. As a young boy, i was fascinated with the amount of

uses out of coconut. And today, i use coconut products every day. The market for

coconut oil and coconut water alone in the us is worth around £750 million and, in

the UK, £50 million and doubling annually. Our turnover figures over the last

three years

9:47 PM

Has been £1,000,000, £600,000 and £300,000 respectively, rounded up. A net profit

of £70,000, £50,000 and £12,000. I'm offering 5% for £75,000. We would welcome a

dragon to join the coconut experts to build a super brand for coconuts. I would

welcome you to try our products. It's a passionate pitch from Jacob Thundil, who

is offering 5% of his food and drink business for a £75,000 investment. With a

wide range of coconut products, from water and milk to snack bars and oils, can

jacobs enthusiasm penetrate the dragons' impermeable shells? First up is

Deborah Meaden, who wants to know about current route to market. So, talk me

through who you are selling through at the moment. So, we're selling to Harrods,

Fenwick, Darts Farm, Diverse Fine foods,

9:48 PM

Holland and Barrett, 700 stores for the coconut water alone. And we export to 25

countries outside of the UK. So, how much is export of your turnover? 45% is

export. Right. 55% is UK. And who's your target retailers that you want to be

working with? So, now I want to get into pharmacy. But this morning, I got an email

from superdrug saying, "I'm a big fan of your products and I'd like to meet

you." I want to get into boots and then marks & spencer's and waitrose. It's a

confident start from Jacob, with big-name retailers already on his books, as well

as in his sights. But Peter Jones, who has fingers in several foodie pies, is

interested in how the entrepreneur developed his company. You started three

years ago, is that right? Originally, started 11 years ago and working full-time and

working part-time on the business. What did you do 11 years ago?

9:49 PM

I started with coconut water and did £30,000 worth in a year. Nobody knew what

coconut water was. 11 years ago? Yeah. Why so many products? I want to make

sure that I show innovation to the customer. I want to establish myself as a

coconut expert. So, for example, the soya sauce alternative, i've only started

making them in less than a year, but i've sold around 15,000 bottles of them.

Really nice bar. Thank you. It's rare for an entrepreneur to pass the Peter Jones

taste test, but it looks like Jacob has done it. Now, Toulker Suleyman wants to

know more about the business structure behind the self-professed chief nut.

Describe your organisation to me. So, there's me and then there's a lady that

started with me. She's a 50% shareholder of the business. What's her name?

Manisha.

9:50 PM

Tell us a little bit more about her and her background. She's here and i met her at

a trade show in france. I was doing a stand there and she was inspired by the

product. So, she said, "could i come over to the UK to work on an internship?"

and then she never left. Can we meet her? Yeah, sure. She's downstairs. There's

a momentary pause in proceedings as camera-shy Manisha solanki agrees to

join jacob in the den. Having discovered she's an equal partner in the company,

the dragons want to assess the part she plays in running it. Hi, dragons. Hello.

Manisha, i apologise for dragging you out with no notice, but it's obvious that

you're a very important part of this business. What i'd like to understand is how

you divide the roles. I'm sales, marketing, purchasing. Manisha is all operations.

9:51 PM

So, logistics, all the deliveries, everything like that. Great. Basically, once he has

made the sales, i take care of everything. The dragons now have a more

complete picture of the company and, so far, it seems to be ticking their boxes.

But food and drinks guru Sarah Willingham is concerned that their next target

pharmacies, not supermarkets. What i'm really interested in is the direction you

want to take the business, because what's great about coconut at the moment is

it is going into mass-market. But when we ask you the direction you want to take

the business in, your answer was pharmacy. And that really flummoxed me. Yes,

if we go into mainstream, we need to have a plan. We met Tesco. They said,

"can you sell all these products to us?" so, I'm thinking, how do I keep my

existing customer base, not upset them and try and build from there? That really

interests me, because I know tesco very, very well

9:52 PM

And this is exactly the kind of product that they are looking for and it's exactly

what I thought when I saw you. That would be the direction I would want to take

the business in. We're open to change, because we're not a big business that...

But would you see that as change, though? I would see it as a risk. You said you

want to be in marks & spencer's. Yes. I've got great connections with marks &

spencer's. They have a delicatessen department. Might be your first great step.

That's what I mean, yes. But then it's 2% of the market compared to 30% of the

market. The tension is palpable as the two dragons pitch rival retail plans for the

products. But Deborah Meaden is about to take the den by surprise and cut

through the charged atmosphere.

9:53 PM

Jacob, I'm going to break cover. Ok. You might be a bit cautious, but it makes

you stop and work stuff out. I actually think you've taken a good route. I only say

that, because a lot of businesses I get involved with rush to the big supermarkets,

not necessarily ready. And actually, as soon as you hit those shelves, your

margins drop. Yes. And I always think there's a proving time. So, I'm aligned with

you. And you're very good. Thank you. So, I'm going to make you an offer. I'm

going to offer you all of the money. I want 20% of the business. And I want 20%

of the business, because there is, a, obviously the contacts that I can bring. But I

think the development side. I think there's a little bit of work that needs to be done

on that. But I think we are the team that can do it, so that's my offer to you.

9:54 PM

Leaving the other dragons in her wake, Deborah Meaden's sudden, but decisive

offer is a welcome breakthrough for Jacob and Manisha. But at 20%, it's four

times more than the entrepreneurs want to give away. Will another dragon

sweeten the deal? Well, I think I might pitch in with an offer as well. I love the

passion that you have for the product. There's a really authentic basis to this

business, but what you haven't done very much of is really developing your

brand. That's something that i've a reasonably good understanding of. And know

the kind of people that you'd need to be able to drive that forward. So, I'm going

to match the offer, all of the money for 20%. I really like what you've said. I like

the way you've tackled the questions.

9:55 PM

And I'm such an enormous user of the product. I love it. I'd really like to work with

you on this. I think this is a business I could get very, very passionate about. So,

I'm going to match the offer. All of the money for 20% of the business. And Sarah

Willingham makes three, giving Jacob and Manisha a lot to think about. Will

Touker Suleyman make it four in a row? The path you're taking in making a luxury

product is definitely right. My background is production, distribution, contacts.

And I appreciate you've got all these offers. So, I'm going to add a bit of spice to

it. You're seeking £75,000, aren't you? Yes. I'm going to give you 100,000.

9:56 PM

I want 25%, but you can have the 5% back when I get my money back. Thank

you. By offering more cash than entrepreneurs pitched for, Touker Suleyman is

clearly hoping to trump the other three dragons. But Peter Jones, who turned a

den sauce investment into a multi-million pound business, is still mulling over the

deal. I feel that I know a lot about this type of market. I'm knowledgeable enough

to understand where the market pitfalls are and what happens as you try to grow

a business such as this. My issue, actually, potentially for you, is your brand.

Have you got any product that you can see can go mainstream and scale, whilst

not desecrating your brand? Yeah, the glass jar with the coconut milk will

definitely go mainstream, because coconut milk is such a huge market, because

everybody uses it. But it doesn't come with the convenience

9:57 PM

Of returning it back to the fridge. I agree with that. Anything else? The snack

bars. We started 18 months ago. Yes. And we've now sold around 200,000 bars

this year. I'm going to make you an offer. And it's definitely an offer that I think

you should accept. I'm going to offer you all of the money for 20%. I like it enough

to say that I would split it with another dragon. Can I ask you a question, though?

If we were to buy the shares back from you for double the money in three years'

time, would you give up 10% back to us? Erm, I can say no. I think that you

would be seriously undervaluing the fact that I could pick the phone up to boots

9:58 PM

And I could help immeasurably with your business. Just so you know, my position

would be absolutely the same. I don't have an issue with the idea that if you

come in at 20% and you say, not after three years, but after one year, that you

say, "right. Actually, I want to reduce you down to 10%" and it's going to cost you

£75,000, I don't have a problem with that. That would be enough by that point to

have done the things I can do for you in terms of developing the brand. And I

think this brand can be developed. Thank you. I would just want to add one thing,

that I would very much be prepared to split it with another dragon. Sarah, would

you be prepared to split on the terms that I suggested? Yes, I would. I would be

prepared to split it with Nick. I think, between the two of us, you get two for the

price of one. I don't think we need to discuss further. Right. Ok. Brilliant.

9:59 PM

Brilliant. Great. Thank you. And sorry. Hug! Brilliant! Brilliant. Well done. Oh,

that's great. I think you made a big mistake by not choosing me. He always thinks

that. Thank you from the land of coconuts. Well done. Great, well done. Thank

you, bye-bye. Jacob and Manisha have done it. And they leave the den with two

dragons on board. They've given up 20% of their company, but agreed a deal

that means they could potentially buy back 10% of the equity in 12 months' time.

I really liked him. Yeah, a good solid business. He's not as sharp as I thought he

was at the end. No. It was amazing! It was an incredible experience. My heart

just cannot stop beating, actually. We feel it's an incredible combination, because

you have one person with food and the other person with online