Three friends from the Cambridge University, Richard Reed, Jon Wright and Adam Balon founded the innocent drinks in 1998. All the three were in their respective fields of work and working for different companies after they graduated in 1994. Reed worked for an advertising agency, while Balon and Wright worked for different management consultants. The three friends always had an idea about starting a company of their own and in 1998 they founded the innocent drinks after an intense market research and testing their product.
THE EARLY INNOCENT
Reed, Balon and Wright organised events in London like the used to organise in Cambridge such as a music festival called Jazz on the Green in 1997-1998. Though they were in different firms and careers, they always wanted to start a business of their own. They considered several ideas and they switched to think about their own lifestyles. This has paid off. They soon identified healthier food and drink for people like themselves, with too much work and a very little time, could be a very good business.
The three after agreeing for the venture, decide to take a further market research. Jon Wright who had studied manufacturing engineering was in charge of operation, Reed with advertising experience took marketing and Balon, who had an experience of selling Virgin Cola, took on sales.
In June 1998, Jon visited a facility near the Nottingham where PJs bottling was done. He found a small factory run by a local farmer, which in addition to bottling also contained a small fruit processing unit(Jonathan Wright).
The team of three worked with that farmer to produce test drinks in his plant. The test results were very positive and the plant pasteurised the juice without impacting the taste. They were then ready for the market test of the juice made at the Nottingham factory and Balon, Reed and Wright agreed that they can take sabbaticals from their present jobs as they got enough potential in their smoothies project.
References: Sources: Bases on the material from 'Innocent Drinks ', a case prepared by William Sahlman (2004), Harvard Business School, Case No.9-805-031; Based on the case written by Robert Brown and Professor David Grayson, Cranfield University, School of Management (2008), Ref No 708-041-1; Sunday Times, 24 September 2006; company website.