Oppo, a luxury healthy ice cream containing fewer calories than an apple, is one of just ten semi-finalists remaining from an itial 2,500 entrants in the Grow category of the £1m Pitch to Rich competition.
The company was founded by Charlie Thuillier and his brother Harry, who grew up in Thornborough near Buckingham.
They are now based in London and, only having founded the company in October last year, Oppo has:
- Won most innovative product of 2014;
- Become the fastest ever food/drink start-up to reach target through crowdfunding;
- Been shortlisted in the final three for the Guardian’s Start-up-of-the-Year (ongoing);
- Joined the finalists in the World Food Innovation Awards for Best New Business and Brand;
- Won a The Healthy Food Guide award.
Their ice cream takes traditional ice cream flavours, replaces sugar and cream with stevia leaf and virgin coconut oil and boosts each one with a superfood to enhance the nutrition and taste.
There are currently three flavours available: Madagascan Vanilla with Baobab, Salted Caramel with Lucuma, and Mint Choc Swirl with Spirulina.
The ice cream is stocked at 118 Waitrose stores, Whole Foods Market and is available nationwide via its online shopping arm Ocado.
Now the brothers are one step away from pitching to Sir Richard Branson in the live final.
The three finalists will be decided by a public online vote and will present to Sir Richard Branson, cosmetics entrepreneur Jo Malone, Shutterstock chief executive Jon Oringer, Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts and serial investor David Gandy.
Harry Thuillier said: “While we have got this far with no marketing budget, the £250,000 prize would take Oppo to the next level.
"We are a young team but have a big dream and are working hard to ensure we make healthy indulgence a reality.”
#Voom: Pitch to Rich 2015 is a nationwide competition run by Virgin Media Business to find the country’s most exciting and innovative businesses. Of the total £1 million prize fund, the winner of the ‘Grow’ category will receive £250,000 marketing support and the two runners-up will receive £100,000.
Waitrose ice cream buyer Richard McGinn said: “Charlie and Harry’s enthusiasm and attention to detail impressed me from their very first pitch. They know their business inside out which is what you need to be a successful brand.”