SPRINGFIELD, ORE. — Tea company Young Mountain Tea has raised $1.1 million to support its efforts to help Himalayan farmers and launch zero-waste tea bags.
Founded in 2013, Young Mountain Tea offers organic teas sourced from emerging and existing tea markets across the Indian subcontinent. The company has partnered with Himalayan tea farmers in the village of Champawat in Northern India to launch the region’s first farmer-owned tea factory. Young Mountain Tea secured a grant from USAID and Frontier Co-op and has a pending equity investment from institutional impact investor Acumen to finance the project.
Additionally, the company completed a convertible note round led by SWAN, a Texas-based angel investor network, and secured debt and lines of credit from Oregon Community Development Financial Institutions Funds and Vermont private foundations to launch its first line of organic, pyramid tea bags made of compostable materials. Each part of the tea bag may be disposed sustainably, including the bag, envelope and carton.“We knew we’d have to be creative to attract capital appropriate for each arm of our work, both mission and market,” said Raj Vable, founder of Young Mountain Tea. “VC funding wouldn’t work for an impact-focused India tea factory owned by farmers, and grants wouldn’t work for growing our business. The financing strategy we developed was intended to work for all stakeholders in our work, across tea’s entire value chain. We’re glad to say it worked.”