Co-Founder of Bird & Blend Tea announced as keynote speaker at Business Student Convention, Disneyland® Paris Feb 2023

19 May 2022, 14:47 by Kate Moore

We’re thrilled to announce Krisi Smith, co-founder of Bird & Blend Tea Co. as a keynote speaker at our Business Studies Student Convention at Disneyland® Paris in February 2023.

Co-founder and Creative Director of Bird & Blend tea co, Krisi was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year at the Crowdfunding Awards and will speak on the topic of Sources of Business Finance and how her business successfully raised more than £1m through crowdfunding.

Bird & Blend Tea – Company Profile

Bird & Blend Tea Co. is an independent, award-winning eco-conscious tea company on a mission to spread happiness & reimagine tea!

Set up and run by Krisi and Mike, who met at university. Starting off packing tea in their bedroom and attending markets, building Bird & Blend from scratch while staying true to their ethos and values.

Now with more than 125 employees, 14 nationwide retail stores, a thriving international online store attracting 100k monthly visitors, and flourishing subscription tea club, Bird & Blend is leading the way in tea innovation in the UK.

Sustainability has been at the heart of the business, from leaf to cup, every part of their  tea’s journey is carefully designed to minimise the impact on our planet. The company’s ChariTEA Programme has supported over 30 worthwhile causes, each nominated by a team member and donated more than £50k to charity.

What students will learn from Krisi at the Business Student Conference 2023

In August 2021, Bird & Blend launched their second crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to support its high street expansion, development of a wider range of innovative flavours and the ongoing implementation of its digital innovation strategy. Within weeks, the company had smashed its target by £700k and raided £1m a million investment from their followers.

Krisi will explain the different sources of funding available to businesses and how crowdfunding enabled Bird & Blend to fly as well as her ethos and values.

“Whilst tea itself is at the core of our business, the planet and people on it are just as important as the financial profit.  A proportion of this raise is ring-fenced for sustainability projects, which is a huge priority for the whole Bird & Blend Tea Co. family.”

Related teacher resources – crowdfunding as a source of business finance

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a way of raising finance by asking a group of people (the crowd) to invest money.

There are two types of crowdfunding:

  • Investment or equity crowdfunding where the business sells ownership shares and stakes in return for a crowdfunding investment. Investors ultimately become shareholders of the company, with the possibility of owning some of the business equity.
  • Donation-based crowdfunding is where donors are asked to contribute to the project by way of a donation. Individuals donate funds with the aim of meeting the project finance goal, and do not expect anything in terms of shares or financial returns. People who donate rather than invest are not backers of the business, they just offer finance on a not-for-profit basis.

In the case of Bird & Blend, crowdfunding investors received shares in the company in return for the investment. There were other investor perks too, such as exclusive access to early product releases or receiving a free limited edition tea blend.

How does crowdfunding work?

Crowdfunding is usually done through a website which is regulated and authorised legally by the FCA. Some of the largest and leading crowdfunding sites are Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Crowdcube, Seeders and Funding Circle. 

Investors simply choose the business pitch that they want to invest in and can invest any amount whilst the pitch is live.

Why fund a business through crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding enables start-ups and small businesses to get financial backing and raise finance without having to access traditional forms of bank lending. There are often minimal upfront fees or costs compared to other sources of finance.

The unique thing about crowdfunding, is that gives businesses access to a wide audience of potential investors via online platforms. Funds can be raised quickly as online crowdfunding campaigns can go viral on social networks resulting in widespread exposure.

Investors/donors can become personally invested in the business helping build loyalty and interest in a product or idea. Investors tend to share excitement and passion in the opportunity and are interested in the story behind the business as well as its future growth potential and rewards. 

Curriculum links

Pearson BTEC level 3 National Extended Diploma in Business, Unit 3: Personal and Business Finance, D Select and evaluate different sources of business finance

AQA A level Business Studies, 3.5.3 Making financial decisions : sources of finance

Edexcel A Level Business, 2.1.2 Sources of Finance


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