A Poulton entrepreneur is celebrating after an unconventional bid to raise investment for his business paid off.
Adam Soliman, 26, who founded herbal teas firm Charbrew from his Fylde home in 2009, has passed his £150,000 target in a crowd-funding initiative.
And in a double success, his company has also secured a new contract to supply entry level fruit teas with upmarket supermarket Waitrose.
Small and medium enterprises nationwide have had difficulty securing funding from the banks in recent years, so many have turned to alternative forms of money raising such as the online crowd-funding schemes where people donate money in return for shares, with a target to be hit within a limited timescale.
The former Hodgson High School pupil said: “Crowd-funding may not be right for everyone, but we thought it would fit for us and we have been delighted with the result.
“We are in a period of overfunding now with Seedrs so more people can get involved. Most have bought in for about the £50 mark, but we had one investor with just days to go put in £20,000. By investing in us, people will get a third back through savings in income tax. I want people to invest in our future and become brand ambassadors and to be part of our story.
“We are going to use the money to develop the products in the supermarkets.”
He said the Waitrose deal was a good example, with smaller packets of the speciality teas at a low price of less than £2 to allow people to try them and hopefully come back for the bigger versions. He added some of the funding would be used to penetrate further into the US market, its main overseas focus.
He said: “We are just about to launch in 530 Burlington Coat stores, an American retailer, and already sell to 2,500 stores in the US.”
Charbrew is now a £450,000 turnover operation with listings in over 3,000 stores and 20 retailers globally.
Adam started the firm after discovering tea plantations in the Far East and Asia and researching fruit and herbal infusions in the European market.
He realised tea companies were not pushing the boundaries in the same way coffee retailers offered a wide variety of styles and flavours.