Back in 2018, the episode of BBC’s Dragon Den featuring TEA+ founder James’ pitch for a range of vitamin-infused teas aired in the UK for the first time. After a fantastic pitch and a grilling from all five dragons, James secured a deal with Tej Lalvani, CEO of Vitabiotics. Read on to hear more about his experience in the den and how it changed TEA+ into the company we are today.
Q&A with TEA+ Founder James
What made TEA+ go on Dragon’s Den?
The idea for TEA+ arose while Jade and I were living in Dubai, with a hefty commute to and from our high-pressure jobs. Our hectic lifestyles meant that we often found it difficult to prioritise our health and would frequently forget to take our vitamin supplements. The demands of daily life revealed a space in the market for a healthy hot-drink that would make reaching our vitamin requirements easy and enjoyable. So, we set out on a mission to create a range of functional vitamin-infused teas that would be backed by science to support the immune system, skin-health and muscle function, among other specific health needs. But we knew that we would need investment and specialised knowledge if we were to see our company reach its true potential, so we bit the bullet and applied for the show.
Did you have a Dragon you were aiming for?
Each dragon has extraordinary strengths that would have proven invaluable to us, but we were particularly excited about what Tej Lalvani could contribute to our company. Knowing Tej’s work with Vitabiotics, we felt that he would bring even more of the scientific credibility that is so integral to our brand and propel us to new heights, so we were over the moon when he made us an offer.
What changes were made to TEA+ afterwards?
The brand’s name for one. We initially started out as T Plus, though it was felt that the name TEA+ would better define the image and objective of our company. Our branding also underwent a change to one that more effectively reflects the credibility of the range of products. But perhaps most importantly, under Tej’s influence we spent many hours of hard work honing and improving our blends, introducing new ingredients that would maximise the functions of each tea. Using the benefit of Vitabiotics experience, we worked to ensure all of our new products would have science based benefits and verifiable claims to ensure that we made a range of products unlike anything else in the hot drink market.
What did you find most beneficial about your experience?
As a result of Tej’s investment, we now have some incredible science-based and proven claims behind our blends. For example, we are the first ever tea to be blended with 10μg of vitamin D, equating to 200% RDA, which the UK Department of Health recommends all UK adults supplement into their diet each day. No other drink has such a nutritional punch and it's an achievement that we are so proud of. Moreover, we are also a UK first for a full-spectrum 100% bioavailable CBD tea. The groundbreaking amount of health we infuse into our blends has led to us receiving a number of amazing awards, including Gold in the Boots 2020 Wellness Awards. Our experience in the den and the resulting partnership has, therefore, given us opportunities that we never before would have thought possible.
Are you still working with Vitabiotics?
Absolutely. The support of Vitabiotics is still an intrinsic part of TEA+. Utilising their connections to leading doctors, scientists and nutrition experts, our partnership with Vitabiotics allows us to continue being trailblazers in the healthy hot drinks industry.