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Brian Lee and Rehman Merali took advantage of Ontario incentives to build an innovative product that is bringing affordable, premium loose leaf tea to consumers across North America.
[Text on screen] Ontario Spotlight Series
[Text on screen] Rehman Merali, Co-founder, teaBOT
I was doing my PhD at the University of Toronto when my old high school buddy, Brian, told me about his family's loose leaf tea store and how his mom literally could not serve customers fast enough.
[Text on screen] Brian Lee, Co-founder, teaBOT
I noticed she had a long line up and she wasn't meeting her demand. And the reality is that it is something that became a hyper important product, what we're selling at her store, which is loose leaf tea.
So I used my background in robotics and his customer pain points, to come up with a concept of generating a standalone kiosk that makes a hot cup of tea in under 30 seconds.
The key thing about teaBOT versus other tea stores is that you can mix and match these 18 ingredients to create your own custom blend of tea.
teaBOT was actually founded right here in Toronto, and the Ontario environment has been really, really helpful for us as a start-up company.
Relative to the United States we have a lot more incentive programs helping youth employment, getting talent out of the school and into the real, workplace.
Having programs like CDL, Jolt, the Ontario Centres of Excellence... They all really believe in the singular vision that we are all trying to do. More importantly, they believe in us. They gave us the resources, the talent and even some small funding to get us going to the point we actually raised some significant seed capital from the United States.
We want to get 40 machines out there this year, and 400 machines out there next year.
My advice at the end of the day is always, build something people love. Just talk to your customers, build your product and keep iterating until you have built something people really love.
July 21, 2016
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All figures are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted. Information is accurate at the time of publication.