Two Coventry business and finance experts joined forces to make sure a major multi-million pound investment deal into a city-based firm went with a bang.
Alan and Juliet Barratt have just sold a majority stake in their sports nutrition brand Grenade®, based on the Coventry Business Park, to Grovepoint Capital in a deal which valued the company at £35 million.
The couple, who hail from Solihull, have been advised by Paul Farmer, of Armstrongs Accountants, for over a decade and he assisted in the launch of Grenade in 2009.
Then, when the firm was starting to attract offers of investment in 2012, he advised that they draft in Konrad Rutkowski, of Aspire Corporate Finance, to help sound out the interested parties and lead the investment process moving forward.
It resulted in the massive investment deal which was completed in February but the couple are staying on to continue their work in growing the company that now sells hundreds of thousands of products each year into more than 100 countries.
Paul said: “I remember seeing the first drawings of the Grenade products on Alan’s and Juliet’s kitchen table. You knew then that their brand was going to stand out from the crowd and it has just grown at a phenomenal rate ever since.
“I am delighted for them. I have been advising them for many years and helped them to sell a previous business so to be there from the launch of this one and through to this latest exciting phase has been great to be a part of.”
Konrad added: “They really do deserve the success. When I came in, they were becoming overwhelmed with interested parties wanting to invest to the point where it could have become a distraction.
“We took some of the pressure off by talking to those parties and seeing who were the serious players and who were not before starting a formalised marketing process midway through 2013.
“This led us to Grovepoint Capital who measured up as perfect business partners and I am delighted that it has resulted in such a positive deal all round. The investment will allow Alan and Juliet to continue to focus on their strengths whilst ensuring the right infrastructure and support is put in place behind the scenes to facilitate the future growth.”
Alan remains as CEO while Juliet is the company’s CMO and they certainly have no plans to step down.
“We couldn’t do it,” said Juliet. “It’s our life and the investors have bought into us as well as the business. Everyone expects us to say ‘that’s it, we are off on holiday for six months’ but we want to take the business to the next level.”
That means adding further products to the already impressive line which started with a weight-loss capsule, stored in a striking Grenade-shaped tub.
The power of that brand has seen the company sell in to, among others, Tesco, Walmart, GNC and Holland & Barrett.
Alan said: “We knew we had a really strong brand but I don’t think we expected it to grow this quickly.
“We have achieved so much – we’ve even got customers in the Seychelles!
“I think one of the biggest achievements has been the export sales we have managed in the US. Selling sports nutrition products to the US is like selling sand to the Arab states – that is the home of this type of product and yet we have made huge inroads there.
“There are several new products being launched in 2014 and we are also gearing up towards the World Cup and Olympics in Brazil with new products too. So we are busier than ever and that’s how we like it.”
He added: “We have worked with Paul and Armstrongs for many years now and he has always been there at the end of a phone whenever we’ve needed him – whether it’s been weekends or out of hours.
“Bringing in Konrad helped too, just at a point when we were starting to get real interest from investors and needed guidance through this process.
“We have found over the years that building relationships with local professionals is extremely helpful because you can’t be an expert in everything and the help we have had from Paul and Konrad proves that.”