Cocofina, The Coconut Experts, is a UK-based organic food producer specialising in premium coconut products. With 31 products in its range including oils, milks, vinegars, soy-free amino, sweeteners, water and snack bars, Cocofina recently appeared on BBC Dragons’ Den and – despite it beign a rare sight – all five Dragons were fighting for a slice of the coconut pie.
With plans to launch more innovative products in the near future that are high quality, organic, vegan and vegetarian friendly to health and speciality trade, we spoke to Jacob Thundil – Chief Nut aka MD Cocofina: The Coconut Experts to hear why coconuts are the best thing since sliced bread.
Tell us what Cocofina is in your own words…
Cocofina, The Coconut Experts, have created award winning premium coconut products. We have 31 products in our range including oils, milks, vinegars, soy-free amino, sweeteners, water and snack bars. Our appearance on BBC Dragons’ Den had all five Dragons fighting for a slice of the coconut pie! We continue to launch innovative products that are high quality, organic, vegan and vegetarian friendly to health and speciality trade.
What makes it so special?
Our knowledge about coconuts and being a very early entrant in the market.
What is your personal background?
I was born in Kerala which in Sanskrit means ‘the land of the coconut trees’. After graduating in mechanical engineering, I came to London to pursue a Masters in Business Administration. After working in large companies such as BT, Accenture, HSBC, Atos Origin, Standard Chartered, I wanted to leave the corporate rat race and while on a business trip to Brazil in 2005 I decided to start Cocofina.
What inspired you to start the company?
I feel like coming from Kerala, Cocofina has always been my destiny. I was sitting on a beach in Brazil, thinking of a plan to escape the rat race when I was handed a coconut by a beach vendor and I rediscovered my love for coconuts. As soon as I came back I founded Cocofina.
What is the story of the company from launch until now? How big is the company now?
We launched in 2005 and were the first brand to launch coconut water in Europe. Now Cocofina produces 32 products and sell them in 28 countries worldwide. Just in the UK we are sold in 3000 health speciality and wellness stores.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far in your company?
Transition as you grow the business, every step of the journey requires a different skill set. Starting is very different to growing as a CEO you have start by doing everything yourself to then relinquishing part of the work and work on the on business rather than in the business.
What’s your biggest milestone/ which are you most proud of?
Going on Dragons Den and getting 5 offers!
What is your business model? How have you monetised your product?
Innovative, quality products to the health and speciality channels. Yes we have been profitable from day one.
What’s the next step for growth – is the intention to grow the business independently, or look for an exit via acquisition or similar?
Our desire is to grow organically and go deeper into the markets we operate.
Will you be looking for more funding?
Yes when the time is right we will be looking for more funding, this time we will need to learn to raise funds from private equity or venture capital! This will be another learning curve.