Innocent was founded by three Cambridge University graduates – Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright; at the time they were working in consulting and advertising. The three were friendsat St John's College, Cambridge. In 1998, after spending six months working on smoothie recipes and £500 on fruit, the trio sold their drinks from a stall at a music festival in London. People wereasked to put their empty bottles in a 'yes' or 'no' bin depending on whether they thought the three should quit their jobs to make smoothies. At the end of the festival the 'YES' bin was full, with onlythree cups in the 'NO' bin, so they went to their work the next day and resigned. After quitting their jobs, the three struggled to find investment, but eventually had a lucky break when MauricePinto, a wealthy American businessman, decided to invest £250,000. In total, it took fifteen months from the initial idea to taking the product to market.
On April 6, 2009, Innocent Drinksannounced on its website an its agreement to sell a small stake of between 10 and 20% to The Coca-Cola Company, with the three founders retaining all operational control for £30 million. Their website wasbombarded with customers and several pages on social networking sites have emerged that encourage a boycott of the company. In April 2010 Coca-Cola increased its stake in the company to 58% from18% for about £65 million. The three founders continue to retain full operational control.
Innocent credit the creation of their brand identity to David Streek (aka Gravy), the design director atDeepend, which also developed their early label designs and website. Before settling on the name "innocent", the product was going to be called Fast Tractor. The company's HQ, Fruit Towers, is nowbased in Ladbroke Grove. On 2 December 2007 Innocent Drinks appeared at number 40 in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100, a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the UK. It was the only company...
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