Richard Reed CBE

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Investor & Co-founder of Innocent

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Synopsis

Richard left advertising to set up a fresh fruit juice business; Innocent went on to achieve huge growth before selling to Coca-Cola. Richard now works with a new wave of entrepreneurs, investing in and advising a range of online and food and drink startups. In speeches he argues for a simple mission, emotional appeal, and work on the small details such as ‘enjoy by’ instead of ‘use by’ dates. Recruit entrepreneurial types with a ‘yes’ mentality, show zero tolerance to those with conflicting values, and borrow ideas from anywhere and everywhere.

Biography

Richard Reed is the co-founder and former co-CEO of Innocent. Challenging conventional business methods the company effectively created a mainstream market for smoothies and fruit drinks. They developed their own unique brand identity, and went on to dominate (at one point with over 70%) the sector across Europe before selling the company to Coca-Cola. It also set new standards by running everything on green energy and giving 10% of profits to charity. Richard and his fellow co-founders then took their expertise into venture capital and have invested in businesses from Deliveroo to new energy company Bulb to What3Words.

The initial Innocent plan was simple. With £500 of produce Richard and friends set up a stall at a music festival. Two bins, labelled YES and NO, were placed next to a poster that read ‘Should we give up our day jobs to make smoothies?’ By Sunday evening the YES bin was so full they immediately resigned. Since those beginnings the combination of an natural product and a slightly anarchic but very human approach helped Innocent gain huge profile and respect. Richard and his team were voted EY Entrepreneurs of the Year, and invited to Downing Street to offer advice on creating the right environment to encourage new businesses.

Having grown a company from nothing to a global brand which has influence a large sector of the food and drink industry, Richard has become one of the country’s best-known business leaders. He presented the BBC Three series Be Your Own Boss and wrote If I Could Tell You Just One Thing...Encounters with Remarkable People and Their Most Valuable Advice. Now the co-founder of a venture capital firm he applies his experience to a new generation of entrepreneurs and businesses.

Richard and his co-founders sold their stake in Innocent to Coca-Cola and set up JamJar Investments, supporting, advising and funding a range of startups. Many of the companies JamJar have worked with share Innocent's mindset of building a brand on values, doing things differently, and creating an emotional appeal. Richard’s business mantra centres on simplicity, caring deeply about the product and the wider picture, involving the workforce, focusing on detail, listening to criticism - and letting image look after itself.

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Video

Conference Speaker Richard Reed on Customer Feedback

On Recruitment and Plump Nuns

On starting a business

JLA+ Stream: Build Back Better

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