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While many fledgling companies struggle to find a memorable name, for twin sisters Raissa and Joyce de Haas, who were raised in the Netherlands, the choice was obvious. And it’s logical, too, that an upbringing in the birthplace of gin should have given the pair a passion for premium spirits and the mixers that enhance them.
Raissa and Joyce’s business was born in 2014, when they were studying for a Masters in Technology Entrepreneurship at UCL. The company officially launched in 2015, raising funding from five angel investors after the sisters used LinkedIn to connect with qualified and experienced professionals who would be able to add value to their business in terms of know-how as well as cash.
Like all the hand-picked companies in the Dolfin Private Investment Club, Double Dutch has the potential to generate real returns for investors over the next five to 10 years.
“Dolfin are extremely well connected.” – Raissa de Haas, Double Dutch
“We are currently in our third investment round,” Raissa told Dolfin Diary. “The second took place in 2017, and we secured funding from the same five angel investors who took part in our pre-revenue round, as well as 10 new ones, mostly drawn from the hotel and restaurant industries. We’re now looking to further strengthen that base with investors who can add value through their FMCG industry experience. We were introduced to Dolfin by a current shareholder, and we quickly realised that they could be hugely valuable in terms of structuring our plans for the future and introducing us to investors. They’re extremely well connected.”
Fizzing with potential
While Double Dutch’s track record so far has been impressive – securing coveted shelf space in the premium UK retailer Waitrose as well as in Target stores in the US, selling into more than 4,500 bars and restaurants, expanding the range to nine products, and winning Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Foodpreneur Awards – Raissa and Joyce are confident that this is only the beginning.
“After the current investment round, we will be looking to double our revenue year-on-year, improve our distribution in retail outlets and the hospitality trade, and increase our presence in the US. We’re also aiming to build our team, strengthen our sales and finance capability and become carbon neutral,” explains Raissa.
“There’s high potential for growth, and that makes the sector extremely competitive.” – Raissa de Haas, Double Dutch
The premium mixer market in the UK is undeniably buoyant. Sales reached £323.1m in the 12 months to April 2019, a growth rate of 81 per cent on the previous year, according to the Fentiman’s Market Report. Operating in such a rapidly growing sector comes with both challenges and opportunities, says Raissa.
“It’s an exciting category. Premium mixers account for only 10 per cent of the mixer market, while premium spirits account for 25 per cent of that market. There’s high potential for growth, and that makes the sector extremely competitive.”
A perfect mix
Launched in November 2019, the Dolfin Private Investment Club allows qualifying clients to construct their own direct venture capital investment portfolio in companies around the world through a user-friendly investor portal with the support of – and access to – Dolfin’s expertise. Investment opportunities can be advised or non-advised and span equity, mezzanine and debt markets across a breadth of sectors. These pre-screened investment opportunities offer diversification and returns uncorrelated to public stock markets, and clients have the opportunity to meet directly with the management of potential investee companies.
“Raissa and Joyce have brought a fresh approach to the sector.” – Simon Black, Dolfin
‘We see Double Dutch as a fast and innovative company in the food and beverage sector. Raissa and Joyce have brought a fresh approach to the sector incorporating molecular flavour pairings, natural flavours and less sugar than their nearest competitors,” says Simon Black, Head of Investment Management, Dolfin. “We are excited to join them on their journey as they continue to grow and reach new highs.’
Looking beyond the five- to 10-year investment horizon, what’s in store for Double Dutch?
“We want to become a household name,” Raissa says. “We want to be widely available, and known for innovation and excitement.”
Double Dutch is one of the companies featured in Dolfin’s Private Investment Club, a service available to existing clients, providing exclusive, pre-screened investment opportunities across a variety of sectors and regions.