Former baristas Theo Garcia, 24, and Alex Foss Sims, 29, met while working in a coffee shop in Gloucestershire. They started producing bottled, chilled coffee after noticing a growing demand for cold brew amongst coffee lovers.
The duo decided to investigate, and the extensive market research showed that most coffee drinks in the UK were saturated with sugar. Shocked by the findings, Theo and Alex decided to launch a natural, low sugar alternative.
After six months of trading, the duo used a £25,000 Start Up Loan for product development and to increase their manufacturing pipeline. They decided to take this opportunity to rebrand the business as Solo Coffee and revisit their offering.
But a major hurdle came in August 2018, the pair were forced to recall their products because of a manufacturing problem, leaving them almost bankrupt!
In a bid to save their business, they pitched to almost 50 investors and, having rejected an initial offer due to the terms and conditions attached, they accepted a £200,000 investment in return for an 18% stake in the business.
With the money secured, Theo and Alex can now fulfil outstanding orders for their ‘bag-in-box’ cold brew coffee and nitro taps – which have capacity for 50 servings at the push of a button – and begin expanding the business to meet growing demand.
Alex and Theo have had positive experiences from speaking to competitors and advise other business owners to do the same, particularly if you need to find out more about manufacturing.