Chocolate brand Pure Heavenly has secured an investment of £75,000 from Peter Jones, after an appearance on the BBC's hit television programme, Dragon's Den.
Salisbury-based Stephen Conway, founder of Pure Heavenly, initially sought an investment of £75,000 from the Dragons in exchange for 7.5% share of the business, valuing the business at a million Pounds.
Tej Lalvani praised the product, while Deborah Meaden suggested it would ideally suit the American palate (read into that what you will).
But the biggest praise came from Peter Jones, who claimed he hadn't tasted chocolate as good as the bars from Pure Heavenly in "a long time."
Jones made an offer for 20% of the business, which was matched by Lalvani and Meaden. Sara Davies declined to make an offer, citing that industry expertise from the other Dragons would be incredibly valuable. Theo Paphitis declined too.
Conway tried to haggle Jones, Lalvani, and Meaden to drop their share to 15% once the Dragons had received their investment back, a deal that Meaden described as "counter-intuitive". Peter Jones agreed to drop to a 15% stake but only if he makes £100,000 return on his investment within 18 months, an incentive Conway instantly agreed to.
Founded by Stephen Conway in 2017, Pure Heavenly set about creating a chocolate bar made with less sugar, that is suitable for people with dairy intolerances, and that is kinder to our planet.
The result was a vegan plant-based recipe that was free from dairy, gluten, wheat, soy, and GMO ingredients. It's also free from palm oil, and "contains less than 4% sugar" according to Conway. He also revealed the company has a following of slimming and dieting customers.
To date, the brand has sold its products itself via its own website. I featured Pure Heavenly in my roundup of handy chocolate subscription services in the UK.
The 85g bars cost £3.50 online while the mini 25g bars retail for £1.30. Flavours include Salted Caramel, Mint, Coconut, Raspberry, and Coffee.
Despite making over £500,000 in sales in the first year, the company lost £180,000 due to production and quality issues.
While the Metro remarks that some members of the Great British public aren't convinced by a pricey chocolate bar that is free from so many things, the fact that the website has struggled to keep up with demand since the programme aired suggests there are many people who want to give the bars a go. In fact, such is the response, the website now temporarily lists all products as out of stock.
This investment opens up the opportunity to build a larger distribution network so you may well see Pure Heavenly bars in shops across the country in the not too distant future. Conway hopes to see the bars on the shelves in the likes of Waitrose, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, and Harrods soon.
UPDATE: Pure Heavenly has since confirmed that it decided not to peruse the investment. The company cited "clauses that felt uncomfortable" as the reason it did not sign the contract. Stephen Conway confirmed that the brand secured a staggering 8 months' worth of orders in the two weeks following the airing of the Dragon's Den episode.
What do you think of vegan chocolate that is free from dairy, gluten, wheat, soy, and GMO ingredients? Let me know in the comments below.