Commercial coffee roaster Blendly is aiming to become the one company everyone turns to for fresher coffee with the help of a loan from UMi Debt Finance Scotland.
Blendly owner Mark Wilson set up the company ten years ago, after spotting an opportunity in the marketplace:
“Roasting coffee hasn’t changed for hundreds of years, and the industry is very traditional in what it offers customers. I really wanted to inject much more choice into what people can buy and how they can distribute value to each other making the coffee drinker more central to the process.
“Coffee drinkers are passionate about coffee to an extraordinary degree, and they know just how they like their beans roasted and ground. By giving them what they want, we’ve built up a strong and loyal community across individual coffee lovers, baristas and businesses.”
The UMi Debt Finance Scotland loan scheme, supported under the Scottish Growth Scheme, is designed to help Scottish businesses innovate, grow and diversify.
Mark said the loan process offered by UMi Debt Finance Scotland was superb: “I saw a LinkedIn post and reached out to them. In no time at all, Dave Young met with me in an Edinburgh coffee shop - of course. It was clear from the outset that he and the rest of the team understood the culture of growing a business. We already had a well prepared business plan, so we were able to demonstrate the real strengths in our growth plans.
“The loan has helped us expand our offering through more digital tools and take on more staff. In the longer term, we’ll improve our structure for further growth, while contributing more to the local communities that are involved in the coffee industry and develop more ways of sharing value with them, as well as connecting to newer distribution channels and increasing access for all coffee lovers across the UK and Europe.”
Blendly’s online marketplace enables customers to select a purchase plan, pick the beans they want blended, and choose their preferred grind and roast, usually with a two to three day delivery. The site includes Cupping Notes, part of a Coffee Tasting and Profiling System, which is designed to allow the information in each roast to be captured and shared based on a set of tasting notes, the roast colour and the content of the blend. This allows coffee lovers to create, compare, improve and even taste match other brands and have them delivered directly, saving time and money.
Mark said the Blendly marketplace was unique: “Transparency is key to what we do. It’s essential to both us and our customers that we know exactly what we’re offering - where the beans come from and how we treat them - and ensure our sustainability credentials throughout the entire process, from grower to cup.
“Coffee is a very big, very lucrative business, and you don’t always know what you’re getting and if the growers and workers involved are treated fairly. With Blendly products, you do.”