Kind Consumer Limited (‘Kind’) was founded in 2006 by Alex Hearn. At the time Alex was a recent classics graduate of New College Oxford where he had been instrumental in the founding of Oxford Entrepreneurs, the society for student entrepreneurs at Oxford University which he launched in 2003. Oxford Entrepreneurs has been featured by the UK Department of Trade and Industry as one of the top three organisations promoting entrepreneurship/innovation in the country and is now the largest student entrepreneurs society in Europe with over 7,000 members, 80% of whom are from the University of Oxford. The Society has subsequently grown, is now run by a full time sabbatical president and has rolled out the Oxford Entrepreneurs model to The London School of Economics, Imperial College London, Oxford Brookes, Kings College London, and Trinity College Dublin.
Alex spent several months immediately after graduation from college drafting the early patent filings around which the Company is built before starting work in investment banking. The innovative breath activated valve technology that Alex had set as the cornerstone of Kind’s ambitions has a number of potential applications.
The Company attracted enough support to close the first round of seed investment in February 2009. Three of the early investors also took on a role within the Company. Martin Beaumont, previously the Chief Executive of the Co-Operative Group, joined the Board as Chairman, Grant Berry, previously Managing Director of Lloyds Development Capital (“LDC”) and responsible for all their national new investments also joined the Board as a non-executive and Sir Peter Davis, previously Chief Executive of Prudential plc and Chairman of Sainsbury’s agreed to act as an advisor to the Company. Through his role as Chairman of the Marie Curie Cancer Trust and an ex-smoker himself, Peter immediately recognised the potential that an effective smoking substitute could have and quickly became an important and ardent supporter of the Company.
Following the initial injection of capital the Board was enhanced further through the recruitment of Zoe Morgan as a non-executive and Paul Triniman as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Executive Officer. Initial prototypes were commissioned and produced during the course of 2009 demonstrating sufficient promise to attract further investment from a growing band of private investors. In 2010 the Company began tentative discussions with a number of potential marketing and distribution organisations. By mid-2010 Kind had been brought to the attention of Sir Terry Leahy, then Chief Executive of Tesco plc, who agreed to both invest in the Company and become an advisor.
In late 2010 the Company agreed an exclusive development and distribution agreement with Nicoventures Limited (later renamed Nicovations Limited) a wholly owned subsidiary of British American Tobacco plc.
In 2011 the Company continued to grow with Dr Chris Moyses joining the Board as Chief Medical Officer to oversee all medical and regulatory matters.
Kind Consumer received a product licence for the Company’s proprietary nicotine inhaler (Voke Inhaler 0.45mg) for General Sale from the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in September 2014. In July 2015 Woodford Patient Capital Trust acquired a minority but significant stake in the Company.
In November 2015, John Clarke, ex-President of the Global Consumer Healthcare business and Management Board member at GlaxoSmithKline plc joined as a Director, becoming Chairman of the Board in February 2016.
In January 2017 following a number of postponed and aborted launch schedules due to manufacturing failures the development and distribution agreement with Nicovations Limited was terminated by mutual agreement with all intellectual property, manufacturing, marketing and branding rights awarded to Kind.