Dragons’ Den reject was told product is ‘too risky’ – business now worth £86million

Dragons Den winners: The original and the best

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Harry and Charlie pitched their low-calorie ice cream range in 2016 seeking a £60,000 investment for a seven percent equity stake. They were told their low-calorie and “guilt-free” ice creams, which have fewer calories than a large apple, were too risky an investment.

“The reward doesn’t justify the risk,” Nick Jenkins said.

Despite the lack of faith from the Dragons’, Oppo Ice cream now has Richard Branson and Andy Murray among their investors.

Their products are found in the deep freezers of Co-op, Waitrose, Budgens and Holland & Barrett.

After leaving the Den empty handed, the brothers had a series of crowdfunding attempts.

They now have 538 investors, including celebrities and they are stocked at over 1,300 shops.

Oppo has since increased in value more than 100 times to an estimated £85.7million.

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 eventually found a recipe which tasted just as good as the real thing.

He left his corporate job to fully focus on the business and make it a success.

A year later, after appearing on the hit show, Oppo was trending on Google UK as the most searched for term.

Once they had stocked in the shops, they sold out of the ice cream immediately.

A successful crowdfunding campaign then saw Oppo become the fastest food and drink companyto reach its target on Seedrs, and big names started calling.

During their pitch, Peter said the low-calorie ice cream with 60 per cent less sugar was “about as useful as mudguards on a tortoise”.

Even though he though he thought the pair were “incredibly investable guys,” he couldn’t get past the aftertaste, and had to exit the deal.

After tasting the product Sarah Willingham was “quite shocked” by how good it was but she was unimpressed with the pair’s projected £1million turnover and £35,000 net profit for 2017.

She said: “I expected them to be much higher than that with what you’ve come in and asked for.”

She also explained that the aftertaste was a “dealbreaker” that would “impact repeat purchase” and declined to make an offer.

Nick highlighted the difficulties of breaking into the food sector, admitting that it was “too risky” for him.

Charlie and Harry put Oppo’s success simply down to its “great-tasting products”, which have won four Great Taste Awards.

Their tubs have less than 1,000 calories and use all natural ingredients.

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