It is the start of a new year, and we are very excited and relieved to have met our goals with our Equity Crowdfunding campaign which finished just before Christmas. A huge thank-you to everyone who got involved. The outpouring of support we received was very humbling.
We are energised for the year ahead and the opportunities that this raise will mean for First Press Coffee and our cold drip coffee revolution!
In case you are wondering what Equity Crowdfunding is, essentially, it is a platform that allows a broad group of investors to own shares in startups and small businesses in return for equity. The platform we chose was Birchal – check them out here.
So what was it that made co-founders Hamish and Jimmy choose equity crowdfunding?
Hamish: For me it was a way to share the journey with our supporters. We could have gone down the conventional capital raising routes but we really wanted to engage our community and give a piece of actual First Press to our biggest advocates.
Jimmy: The strength of our business lies in the strength of our community and we loved the idea of a larger cohort of people having a vested interest in our success.
So how impactful has your community been along the way?
Jimmy: They have meant everything. Especially in the early days when we had a lot of people telling us our idea and product didn’t have legs. It was the people telling us they loved our product, supporting us, even giving generous amounts of time to help or mentor us, that kept us moving forward. They enabled us to forget all of the challenges which at times seemed insurmountable.
Hamish: From day one we have attracted fiercely loyal fans that, like Jimmy mentioned, have helped us in many ways. It’s more than buying our coffee. They also don’t shy away from giving feedback and helping us to continually improve and strive for the best.
Running a start-up can pull up lots of challenges. What’s been your toughest moment in your six years running First Press?
Jimmy: We learnt some powerful lessons in the early days. We made some manufacturing changes which created a less than desirable product. The issue was only identified once the product was on the shelves. In fact, it was the feedback from our regular customers that helped us quickly change before too much damage was done. It was thanks to them we could turn it around.
Hamish: For me, what has become really clear is that running a small business there is no backup. If you don’t do it, it won’t get done. If you have a great idea you have to carry the torch. As you grow the ideas keep coming but finding the time to work on them vs the day to day becomes much harder. Having said this, it teaches you to really prioritise and only tackle the things that are going to make a significant difference.
Along with challenges, start-ups can provide many wins both small and large. What’s been your highlight?
Jimmy: Releasing our Almond Milk Iced Coffee was a really special moment for us. There were many factors outside of our control that put the project on hold multiple times. When we had that first sip of the final product and started to receive positive feedback, it was quite an emotional experience. The persistence and efforts of the team to bring it all together was incredibly special.
Hamish: As our product range has grown, we have been lucky to also be able to grow a team to support it. In the last 18 months, we have been able to grow from just Jimmy and I to a permanent team of six as well as an extended casual production team. We are excited to be shaping a passionate and capable team with a very fun culture.
What will the equity crowdfunding campaign deliver for First Press? Where will it take you in the next 12 months? How about 5 years?
Hamish: In 5 years, we aim to be the leading cold brew coffee business in Australasia.
Jimmy: Over the next 12 months, we are amplifying our growth to help us to get to that 5 year target, and that is exactly what the working capital we have raised will do. We have seen huge success in the last three months investing in our sales team.We have just delivered our third month of records sales. Our strategy for these funds is to continue to grow our sales team and account base, invest more in our marketing, and work on continued product innovation. There is a huge amount of room to deliver growth in this market and we are just starting to scratch the surface.
Although sometimes impossible, it is important to have balance. When you finally shut the laptop at night, what’s your favourite thing to do to regenerate?
Jimmy: Any chance to travel to a different culture I will embrace. When at home, my priorities have rapidly changed from loving the dance floor to reading books and appreciating wine.
Hamish: For me, it is either building electronics (sometimes First Press related 😉 ) or running long distances. Both are my happy place.
Any last words?
Hamish: Just thank you, to our community and supporters.
Jimmy: We can’t wait to share this next chapter with you.