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It's only natural

Deloitte's fruitful journey with Mr & Mrs Coconut

Rewind to 2018 and Raglan Food Co had just scooped the accolade of Fastest Growing Consumer Product at the annual Deloitte Fast 50 Festival of Growth.

A year later, having retained a place on the overall index and back at the Fast 50 Festival, the founders of the business connected with Deloitte Private partner, Muhammad Cajee, a corporate finance specialist, thus beginning the start of a fruitful journey. This would become a journey delivering an impact that really mattered – finding an investment partner that was a natural fit with the business and is expected to ultimately, lead to next-level growth through export to new markets.

When the self-titled Mr & Mrs Coconut, Seb Walter and Tesh Randall, started their business back in 2014, it was born out of Seb’s allergy to dairy and their joint love of yoghurt for breakfast.

Creating a dairy-free, probiotic yoghurt from one of their favourite foods, coconut, was the answer. So, from small beginnings in their Raglan home kitchen, to a former motor workshop warehouse in the centre of town, by 2019 they were looking further afield… enter Muhammad.

“It wasn’t a case of simply finding Raglan Food Co an investment partner, it was about finding them the right investment partner they could work with on their future journey.”

After Muhammad’s initial conversation with Seb and Tesh at the Deloitte Fast 50 Festival, he nurtured a trusting relationship with Mr & Mrs Coconut, connecting at events and through social media. It was this natural and reserved approach that was to prove successful

“Doing it this way, I was able to gain invaluable insight of Seb and Tesh’s business, their methods, their passion and their aspirations. I didn’t want to push any agenda as I knew Seb and Tesh would get in touch when they thought the time was right,” said Muhammad. 

“It wasn’t the case of simply finding them investment, it was about finding them the right investment partner they could work with on their future journey.” 

Through this carefully built relationship, Muhammad was able to provide bespoke advice, including conducting an investment readiness workshop in early 2020 and creating a list of actions that would help them set their business up to be attractive to potential investors.

Working with this information and intelligence, Seb and Tesh chose a methodical approach to finding an investment partner. 

This included connecting with Andrea Scatchard, a Deloitte tax partner, who assisted with structuring for the transaction, and commissioning outsourced accountancy support from Deloitte’s tax team – a relationship that has continued beyond the transaction.  

The outcome? Muhammad and his team succeeded in helping Seb and Tesh find the perfect partner in Pioneer Capital, a New Zealand-based private equity fund that has invested 75 per cent into the business.

Not only has this investment opened the door to new markets for Raglan Food Co, with Pioneer Capital joining the board, Seb and Tesh can now concentrate on strategy and brand development respectively.

It was a focused passion that led to Raglan Food Co being famous in Aotearoa as a leading innovator in plant-based alternatives. And who’s to say that the company won’t go on to be as globally famous as another Kiwi export – Crowded House?

After all… it’s only natural.

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