Richard Reed, Innocent Drinks


Richard Reed founded Innocent in 1998 with two friends from Cambridge University, Adam Balon and Jon Wright.

When they left university they all got jobs with blue-chip companies - one went into advertising and two went into management consultancy. But that didn't stop them constantly talking about setting up a business - a conversation they'd been having since their student days.

Four years later they quit their jobs and decided to go into business after getting back from snowboarding holiday where they'd done nothing but talk about their desire to become entrepreneurs.

They decided to set up a business which would appeal to people like them - so they fixed on the theme of doing good to themselves. The result was Innocent, a drinks company producing pure fruit smoothies. The company now produces more than 30 different recipes and sells more than two million smoothies each week through 10,000 retailers in the UK and overseas.

Since Innocent was launched the company has been growing by 20% year on year and currently has a 75% share of the smoothie market. In April 2009 Coca-Cola bought an 18% stake in the company for £30 million. A year later it paid £65 million for a 58% stake.

Key advice

"If you're 70% sure about an idea then go for it. Because if you wait till you're 100% confident in business… you'll never make a decision, you'll never get anywhere."