Richard, 38 is the co founder of Innocent Drinks, the brand of smoothies and vegetable pots that has grown its turnover from £400,000 to £165m in 12 years – a phenomenal achievement that Reed says has been made possible from “good decisions, hard work and a huge dose of serendipity”. After studying Geography at Cambridge University, Reed went on to work for an advertising agency as an account manager.
The three founders of Innocent Drinks - Adam Balon, Jon Wright and of course, Richard Reed all met at Cambridge and after all of them being in a full time job for four years they decided that they should fulfill their dreams and the general discussions they had at university, of setting up their own business. When thinking up an idea for the business they wanted to come up with something that made people’s lives a little bit happier or easier in the long term. Their first idea was a bath that automatically filled up with water to the desired level and temperature, and they also had plans to bring swipe card technology to front doors. Despite their enthusiasm for the ideas they realized they knew nothing about the technology that was involved and they also thought that they would have a difficult job of convincing people to have a big bit of technology in their doorway. Then the ‘eureka-moment’ came when they realized that they were working such long hours and when they had finished for the day the only place open for food was a kebab shop. They saw a gap in the market for something that was a small and easy way of doing something healthy that didn’t take any time. However that was only the idea.
They knew nothing about the food and drink industry; therefore they had to carry out research. They ended up buying lots of fruit and creating recipes that they liked from it. Once they had finalized recipes that they liked they had to see if other people would also like them. They set up a stall at a jazz music festival and once people had...
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