Love Cocoa, a premium chocolate start-up developed by James Cadbury (the great-great-great grandson of the original John Cadbury) went head-to-head with BBC’s Dragons’ Den investors over Christmas, securing two offers from Peter Jones and Tej Lalvani before accepting the latter’s deal.
However, following a series of lengthy discussions and having met Lalvani several times after the episode was filmed, Cadbury has since decided to go it alone
Love Cocoa was set up by Cadbury in 2016 after he left his job as a city trader to pursue his business dream, following in his family’s footsteps.
Cadbury was in the den asking the Dragons for £75k for a 5% share of the business. The money was to be invested in two key areas of the business: developing new products including those using online personalisation, and expanding the Love Cocoa team.
In the episode of the popular entrepreneurial TV series, Love Cocoa received an unanimously positive response from the Dragons who all praised the quality of the chocolate and the brand’s ethical and sustainable credentials (10% of profits go to the Rainforest Foundation). Viewers also saw an open and frank discussion about previous investment in the brand.
“It was a tough process that was also incredibly nerve-wracking; I felt the pressure of having to uphold the family name, said Cadbury. “To be invited onto the show was an amazing experience both in terms of the potential investment and exposure, but the final deal was not quite what I wanted. Tej is a great entrepreneur and a true gentleman; he completely understood and we left on good terms.”