Oppo strides ahead with successful crowdfunding campaign

What’s the Oppo story? 

We’ve replaced cream and sugar with virgin coconut oil and stevia leaf (sweet, natural, no calories) and boosted each flavour with delicious super-foods to make an indulgent, premium ice cream. Oppo is very low in sugar, and contains fewer calories than an apple per portion (two scoops). Super-premium ingredients combined with a complex manufacturing process make for an ice cream that is both indulgent and healthy.

Oppo lets you give in to your cravings while staying healthy. You don’t have to sacrifice your six pack for ice cream, or your ice cream for a six pack! We all choose between health and indulgence when shopping for dessert. Oppo makes that compromise a thing of the past and taps into the trend for low sugar, healthy indulgence. 

Where did the idea come from? 

The idea was born during a record breaking expedition we did in Brazil - travelling 1000 km along the coast using kites. They ran out of supplies so started eating coconuts and açaí berries. This sparked a love for using natural ingredients to make the most indulgent foods healthy.

We were told that even if we had millions to invest into developing a healthy product, getting the flavour right would be impossible. Sometimes not knowing the rules makes them easier to break!

What were you doing before you started Oppo?

Charlie, being the risk-loving younger brother, resigned from his graduate job at Diageo in 2012 to found Oppo, and moved onto Harry's sofa (Harry didn't seem to have a say in the matter) and started researching whether a luxury healthy ice cream could be possible. It took him two years to finalise the recipes and create the perfect oxymoron.

Harry recently joined Oppo full time after being Head of Marketing for the VC backed online joint venture between Google and Home Learning College.

How much research went into the process of perfecting the product?

It took 25 months of research, three different factories, two specialised food research centres, and four grants from Santander, York University and the British government before Oppo finally had a delicious healthy ice cream!

Branding wise, how important was this and how did you come up with the final branding and packaging?

'Oppo' signifies the oxymoron ('Opposites') of health and indulgence in one tub. To demonstrate this Oppo gave one half of the tub imagery to health, and the other to indulgence. As you will see from the image we kindly asked a hummingbird to slow down for just a second and the Zoo's hippo to look this way!

Oppo Tub

What’s the advantages of running a business with your brother?

It is fundamental that when you are doing business with someone you can trust them and there is no one that you can trust more than your brother. We understand one another's strengths and weaknesses and know each other inside out so we can use that to our advantage. We have always been incredibly close so it is a fantastic opportunity to work with your best friend and when we do disagree we are able to resolve this quickly and move on, not holding any grudges. 

You’ve secured industry experts such as Mark Escolme, as a small business how important is it to look for as guidance?

It is crucial. Charlie is 25 and Harry is 28 therefore it is fundamental to seek experience and advice from industry experts and we are incredibly lucky to have Mark on board. 

Why did you decide to seek funding on Seedrs? 

It is fantastic that there are now so many different ways for start-ups to raise capital - the whole process has been democratised. We rejected an offer from a Venture Capitalist firm and opted for crowdfunding instead because we really wanted to give both our customers and consumers the chance to own a part of this exciting new healthy ice cream. We hope that they will in turn share in the growth of the company and be a part of the story rather than passive consumers.

Charlie serendipitously met the CEO of Seedrs in the cafe under his flat that we are currently working out of! He was giving out free ice cream in return for feedback and they both got talking. We felt that Seedrs was the best fit for the Oppo brand and the team have been fantastic at supporting us through our campaign.

You’ve reached your target, what will the money be used for?

The response has been fantastic. Our crowdfunding campaign reached it's £100k target on the same morning it went public! Oppo has now chosen to overfund to help meet the high demand for its shares. Set to capitalise on the increasing trend towards healthy indulgence, the company will use the funds raised for order fulfilment, to further grow the team and increase brand awareness in a market where the premium category has increased in value and is worth £275m.

Top 5 tips for business owners:

1. Product is king - especially with food and drink as everyone will have an opinion on your product. Customer needs are at the core of any product or service you create - if it doesn't serve the needs of the customer there's little chance of success and growth. Don't get carried away with new ideas and innovation without ensuring there's a market need.

2. Know what you're good at, hire for everything else - It's important to recognise your personal strengths and weaknesses. Only at that point can you hire the right team to compliment your skill set. Likewise if you're young act like a sponge and seek mentors, experienced people often are very generous in passing on their knowledge and get the excitement of start-ups without the stress. These people are gold-dust.

3. Create a beacon business - A business that people want to work with and work for. A business that your customers will love and want to be affiliated with. The business needs to take on a persona that employees (and the public if you're consumer facing) are passionate about, and love.

4. You're small? Great! - Remember who you are and act like David rather than Goliath. As a challenger disrupting a flooded and established market we must continue to be innovative. To take on the established names it's fundamental to think and be different. Don't conform to the norm, but excite and surprise. If you're a David, embrace David. Don't emulate Goliath.

5. Fill up that glass - To succeed and enjoy your inevitably tough journey I believe you need to be enormously positive. You need to see opportunity where others see challenges and reward where others see risk.

Where do you hope to be in 12 months?

We want to continue developing our relationship with Waitrose and Ocado and hope to increase the number of Waitrose stores we are stocked in. We are also keen to get listings in other premium independent stores. Also grow the team by 50%, and continue innovating. 

We are always continuing to develop new flavours and will continue to further grow the brand. 

Check out their Seedrs campaign here. You can also connect with Oppo by following them on Twitter or liking their Facebook page

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