Start-up dessert brand praised for great taste while reducing sugar content

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

GATO vegan range. Photo: GATO.
GATO vegan range. Photo: GATO.

Related tags GATO start-up Sugar Chocolate

Start-up brand GATO & Co, which makes indulgent desserts, has been praised for its great taste while keeping the sugar content down. (They rely on the natural sweetness of high-quality ingredients, which means their puddings are 40%-50% lower in sugar than similar desserts).

Entrepreneurs Charlotte Dauzat and Kim Lamza launched the handmade desserts made with whole, simple ingredients in 2017 and they are vegan, free from gluten and dairy and GATO is now working on a range of indulgent snacks.

Salted Caramel & Chocolate Ganache

gato

The duo recently rejected financial support from UK TV show The Dragon’s Den and have since gone on to launch in Harrods and Fortnum & Mason; started selling their products online via their website and is launching its latest flavor Salted Caramel & Chocolate Ganache in Sainsbury’s this month.

Airing on TV on January 6, 2019, Dauzat and Lamza pitched their concept to a team of experts to win funding before receiving two offers of finance from Touker Suleyman (Turkish Cypriot British business fashion and retail magnate) and Tej Lalvani (CEO, Vitabiotics).

Unfortunately the pair declined the offer as the valuation was too low. GATO’s valuation of £3m, overlooking the proven valuation of £50,000 for 1.7% (the sum GATO requested from the Dragons).

“It was a difficult decision to make as we respect Touker’s food industry experience and Tej’s marketing prowess, but we took so many learnings from the experience of being grilled by five millionaires for an hour. On the train home to London from Manchester we wrote down every piece of advice we could act on to make our business stronger,” ​said Lamza. 

Lalvani said his favorite dessert was the sticky toffee pudding and he was surprised at how they reduced the sugar content.

Overseas expansion

“It’s not easy to do and maintain the taste, so that’s really commendable​ going on to offer the £50,000, in return for 25% of the business.

We were elated to have had such positive feedback on our puddings and our business acumen, however we think the Dragons underestimated our business; they challenged us on our valuation and our targets and it was a bit of a battle,” said ​Lamza.

“We know we’re worth our £3million valuation, as do our investors from both food and finance backgrounds; we have gone on to invest further since Dragon’s Den, the proof’s in the pudding and we’re on our way to that £30million dream valuation.​”

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GATO is an early stage business that has demonstrated high growth in a short period of time, they pitched to the Dragons in May 2018, and compared with revenues in May 2017, there was a 3200%+ (32X) increase in revenue, and they are projecting to grow by 6.5X (revenues of £780,000) in the year to follow.  

The additional budget was positioned to further sales and distribution in the UK and set up for overseas expansion. 

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