We all enjoy the pleasure of indulging in a cheeky bubble tea (or two), and sometimes, we go to pretty extreme measures to taste those delicious tapioca balls – like braving the chaos of shopping center food courts, or forking out an extra $20 to have it delivered to your door.
With this in mind, Jenny Le and Pam Yip, the founders of Bubble Tea Club, have made it easier than ever to get your hands on a cup of bubble tea, and it saves you from having to leave your house, or cop the steep UberEats delivery fees! Pam and Jenny had always wanted to make bubble tea affordable, accessible, and just as delicious as when it comes from a store or cafe, and initially dreamed up this idea in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since it’s initial ideation, Bubble Tea Club has grown to become the largest Australian retailer of DIY bubble tea kits, and is quickly revolutionising the way we order, prepare and enjoy our bubble tea.
Bubble Tea Club’s bubble tea kits provide consumers with tea bags, mix-ins, syrups and straws sourced directly from Taiwan, the home of bubble tea. Each kit enables tea drinkers to brew and assemble 1,000+ bubble tea combinations, with the recipes and ingredients not only respecting the history of the drink, but also pushing the culinary boundaries to evolve the bubble tea culture.
Evolving This Aussie Brand Into a Global Business with the Boosting Female Founders Program
After achieving stellar success in Australia, Bubble Tea Club are setting their sites to the future, and are looking to turn this growing Aussie brand into a booming global business. With heightened demand for bubble tea in the United States and Canada, Bubble Tea Club are aiming to distribute their products across to these regions to champion them in the same way they did for Australia.
The challenge? Accessing the capital to onboard additional advisors and consultants, bring in extra stock, and bolster the team and systems. Without government funding to support the cost of launching and scaling their products, Bubble Tea Club would have found it pretty difficult to break through the glass ceiling and expand into new markets.
Now, with the assistance of the Boosting Female Founders Program, Bubble Tea Club will be able to scale operations, amplify their marketing efforts and remove the barriers to meet minimum order quantities (MOQ) for suppliers. This will work to:
- Further enable Bubble Tea Club to service the demand of new international markets
- Reduce the CPU and secure an exclusivity contract with their wholesaler (to not sell to emerging competitors)
Overcoming Market Challenges to Break the Bias
As a result of founding an exponentially growing start-up as two young, female entrepreneurs, Jenny and Pam have had to face many direct challenges and barriers. These include:
- Misconceptions and stereotypes placed upon female founders (both from the industry and from potential employees)
- Having to make a name for themselves in an industry that has traditionally been dominated by male businessmen
- Negotiating prices, exclusivity deals, partnerships and terms of agreement with suppliers and wholesalers who prefer to work with male staff members
With many investors displaying less confidence in female founders and their commitment and capacity to succeed (unwarranted, of course), the biggest challenge Pam and Jenny have faced comes in the way of accessing appropriate funding and finance. When seeking funding, Pam and Jenny have consistently fielded questions on their long-term commitment to the business, how they plan to balance future children, and how they see themselves juggling family and caregiving activities – all factors that have been cited as a risk by investors.
How Our BlueRock Grants & Incentives Team Helped Bubble Tea Club to Access Funding
With their extensive knowledge in the different types of government grants available, the BlueRock R&D and Government Incentives team were able to identify Bubble Tea Club as a good candidate for the Boosting Female Founders Program. The Boosting Female Founders Program is an Australian Government initiative that provides targeted support on a co-contribution basis to female founders of start-ups to scale their businesses into domestic and global markets.
Our team worked closely with Bubble Tea Club to prepare a strong application for the program. By outsourcing the heavy lifting required to apply for these programs, Jenny and Pam were able to do what they do best – growing and managing their start-up.
The application process began in March 2021, with an initial conversation around eligibility and defining the scope of the project. Bubble Tea Club submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI) with a pitch deck before being invited to apply for Stage 2 of the application process.
With the help of our Grants and Incentives team, Bubble Tea Club successfully secured $400k in funding to help with the international launch of their DIY Bubble Tea Kits. With the funding received through the Boosting Female Founders program, Bubble Tea Club will now have the means to employ qualified and passionate people to undertake the large task of setting up the business for international expansion.
Their employees and contractors will be responsible for the development and launch of exciting campaigns across new target markets, including:
- Storytelling content for the website and social media channels
- Paid digital advertising
- Analysis of customer insights reports (including spending insights and conversion data)
- Purchasing stock
- Setting up distribution partners in North America to ensure the successful launch of the product overseas.
Bubble Tea Club is one of only 38 successful grant recipients out of 2,500+ expressions of interest. Being such a highly contested program, this is a huge win for the team at Bubble Tea Club! BlueRock is looking forward to continuing to work alongside Pam and Jenny to help with their grant reporting and acquittal requirements as their business expands internationally. We’re so excited to see them grow!
If you’re a female founder and are interested in finding out more about the next round of the Boosting Female Founders Program, get in touch with our Grants & Incentives team for a free consultation today.