Dallas-Based Startup Rakkasan Tea Company Raises $36,000 in Successful Crowdfunding Campaign
September 13, 2017
With tea shipments arriving from post-conflict countries, the company is moving to secure seed capital from investors
Dallas, TX – Rakkasan Tea Company concluded a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign today aimed at covering startup costs for the venture. The company raised $36,275 in three weeks, exceeding its initial fundraising goal of $30,000 by more than 20 percent.
With tea shipments arriving from Rwanda, Nepal and Sri Lanka, RTC is shifting rapidly to focus on distribution and outside investment capital.
“We’re really excited. The response from the community was more than we’d hoped for,” said RTC founder and CEO Brandon Friedman. “Now that tea is arriving, it’s all about getting it to our customers as fast as we can.”
More than 600 individuals backed the campaign, pledging an average of $59 per person. The median pledge was $28.
RTC will use its initial startup funding to buy and import loose-leaf tea, expand its space, buy equipment and begin distribution. The company hopes to raise another $250,000 from investors in the next year.
About Rakkasan Tea Company
A for-profit, Dallas-based startup with a mission for social good, RTC imports premium loose-leaf tea from farmers in post-conflict countries as a way to promote peace and economic development. RTC currently works with growers in Sri Lanka, Rwanda and Nepal, with plans to import from Uganda, Vietnam and Myanmar in the future. Together, these sources of tea represent less than 10 percent of the U.S. market. (Most tea consumed in the U.S. comes from China, India and Argentina.)
At home, RTC will put military veterans to work importing, processing and packaging the tea. RTC will also donate a portion of its profits to veteran organizations like The Pat Tillman Foundation, Fisher House and Student Veterans of America.
Since January 2017, RTC has worked with VetImpact, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that guides veteran-owned businesses through international commerce in a partnership with Deloitte Consulting and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
With the planned closure of Starbucks-owned Teavana stores by early 2018, RTC expects to see an uptick in demand for premium and specialty tea sold elsewhere—especially online.
About the founder
Brandon Friedman launched Rakkasan Tea Company in 2017 after more than a decade in PR, politics and public service (including as an Obama administration official). A tea drinker since he served as an Army officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, Brandon has completed the Specialty Tea Institute's Level I and Level II courses on his way to becoming a Certified Tea Specialist recognizedby The Tea Association of the USA.
Along with RTC, he is the co-founder and CEO of The McPherson Square Group, a PR and strategic communications firm. His memoir, The War I Always Wanted, was recognized in 2010 by The Military Times as one of “The Best Military Books of the Decade.” Brandon writes regularly on politics and the military for The New York Daily News. He recently returned to Dallas, Texas, with his family after spending the last eight years in Washington, D.C.
About the U.S. tea market
Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world after water and can be found in almost 80 percent of U.S. households. The U.S. tea market in 1990 was worth $1.84 billion. Today that market is worth $12 billion annually.
According to the Tea Association of the USA (www.teausa.com):
- The U.S. is the third largest importer of tea in the world, after Russia and Pakistan.
- The U.S. is the only Western country which is still growing in both tea imports and consumption.
- The overall market is healthy and continues to grow in the U.S., with a 1% increase in total imports.
- Premium loose-leaf is 1% of the market, but sector growth is 8-10% per year.
- Consumers are turning to premium specialty tea brands, which are growing at a faster rate than mass market brands.
- Approximately four in five consumers drink tea, with Millennials being the most likely (87% of millennials drink tea).
- Consumers are becoming more engaged with their teas and want to learn more and more about where their teas come from; how they are harvested and manufactured; how the product supports the livelihoods of those making it; and, how friendly the product is to the environment.
- Countries of origin are also protecting and advertising their teas through geographic designations and terroir trademarks.
Rakkasan Tea Company promotes peace and economic development by importing and selling premium loose-leaf tea grown solely in post-conflict countries. Proudly veteran-owned.
 World Tea News. Steady Tea Growth Through 2020. December 13, 2016. http://worldteanews.com/news/steady-tea-growth-2020