Fruiti King, a tropical fruit ice cream startup has just announced that it successfully raised RM 5 million in CrowdPlus.asia, an equity crowdfunding platform.
This is actually the second round of funding for the local company after it raised RM1.5 million earlier this year from Netrove Ventures Group, a regional venture capital firm.
What may come as a surprise to some is that Fruiti King’s products are actually the brainchild of another local company, Mr. Cool.
The founder of Mr. Cool, Gideon Leong, has a rather colourful background. According to a newspaper clipping on the Mr. Cool website, he was once an Ah Long (loan shark) who was even on death row.
Ironically, he considers that jail time some of the best years of his life, as that was where his whole world and direction was turned around. This was where he was introduced to Christianity and he said, “The entire experience in prison made me learn a lot about life.”
Charged with drug trafficking, after he was acquitted in 2008, he stepped onto a brand new path with just a simple ice cream recipe.
The story goes, he tried a natural homemade popsicle in Ipoh and was taken with the flavour. To him, no other product in the market was able to capture that true-to-the-original fruity taste.
The maker of that delicious popsicle refused to start a business with him, but after some dogged persuasion, agreed to come on board as his adviser instead.
After two years of research and development, Gideon came up with his own concoction of different tropical ice cream treats, namely durian, jackfruit, red bean, sweet corn, sour sop (his own flagship invention), macha, and mango.
Things continued getting better for him when he caught the attention of Netrove Ventures Group, particularly its chairman, Teh Kim Seng. Kim Seng now also serves as the co-founder of Fruiti King.
Early in 2016, he brainstormed with Gideon on how to move their business forward. They have big ambitions of tackling the gelato and ice cream market in the region and eventually expanding globally.
This RM5 million funding that Fruiti King has just received will help its overseas expansion in markets that have shown an interest in importing and distributing its products, including China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea.
Commenting on the funding, Gideon Leong said, “It was indeed a pleasant surprise as I didn’t expect to raise this amount through crowdfunding but I am glad that I did this. The team is thankful for the vote of confidence in our startup by the crowd.”
Kim Seng added, “We believe that a great product like Fruiti King deserves to be shared with people all around the world so that all will come to know the goodness and awesomeness of our Malaysian icy treats in years to come. All efforts will put into ensuring the best quality products are made and enjoyed by our customers. We simply want people to like it!”
Feature image compiled from The Star and Mr. Cool