First West Capital, the mezzanine and subordinated debt lending arm of Canadian credit union First West Credit Union, has provided $1 million in expansion funding to ESPRO Inc. Based in Vancouver, ESPRO is a coffee and tea equipment specialist. The partnership with First West will focus on accelerating the availability of the company’s products, improving the range of brewing methods, developing markets and introducing new products. ESPRO was founded in 2004 by engineers Bruce Constantine and Chris McLean.
First West Capital Funds $1 Million Expansion Deal for ESPRO Inc.
Vancouver-based coffee and tea equipment innovators passionately improving brewing techniques
LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – Sept. 10, 2014) – The pursuit of making a better cup of coffee led Vancouver-based ESPRO Inc. to develop the first innovation in French press brewing in over fifty years. With increasing demand for their coffee-enhancing products, ESPRO has partnered with Langley-based First West Capital to secure $1 million to accelerate the availability of their products and scope of their business.
The duo behind ESPRO, engineers Bruce Constantine and Chris McLean, were inspired to create a brewing technique that solved three major complaints with the traditional French press; removing grit, stopping extraction once pressed and maintaining heat, which has created quite a buzz with coffee enthusiasts. “The result is superior coffee and tea that tastes as the roaster and tea-blender intends, from the first cup to the last,” says co-founder and president, Constantine.
After initial success in 2012 with distribution and accolades for their innovative, patented presses from Popular Science and the New York Times, ESPRO knew they had an opportunity to grow their business on a larger scale. “The goal is for more people in more places to be able to brew better coffee and tea,” explains Constantine. “The funding from First West Capital will help us continue to serve the specialty coffee and tea market by enabling us to make substantial improvements to a range of brewing methods, developing markets and introducing new products.”
ESPRO was introduced to First West Capital by a trusted investor. “We were impressed with First West Capital’s willingness to listen, learn, and invest the time needed to better understand our business, which resulted in a stronger partnership. With their support and financial backing, we are able to focus on rapidly executing our business plan,” says Constantine.
First West Capital’s vice-president, Robert Napoli, shares, “We are pleased to help ESPRO continue to share their passion for innovation and great coffee and tea. Bruce and Chris have been able to utilize their engineering and business expertise to successfully fill a gap in the marketplace, and we are excited to be a part of their growth.”
Not unlike the recent explosion of the craft-beer market, the specialty coffee and tea industries are experiencing a bigger demand for high-quality beverages, known as the Third Wave. ESPRO is capitalizing on this trend by offering products that enable consumers to enjoy premium, craft coffees and teas in a convenient way at the tabletop. “The leadership team at ESPRO has spent ten years developing the gear for coffee-lovers to experience a greater variety of options at home,” Napoli says. “It’s rewarding partnering with local businesses like ESPRO who have a competitive advantage in a global and growing market, and are constantly looking for ways to improve their business.”
Napoli continues, “We look forward to supporting ESPRO’s expansion plans which include the release of new products this fall, ramping up sales and marketing activities, as well as expanding their distribution globally.”
“Our philosophy to do things better drives everything we do, including deciding what partners we choose. First West Capital proved to be important advisors who could also unlock growth,” shares Constantine. “First West Capital is helping a mouse compete with elephants – in other words, providing valuable resources to create a competitive landscape for the small to medium-sized businesses with the partner-approach and expertise to back it up.”
ESPRO exists to bring the best cup of coffee and tea to every table. In 2002 Bruce Constantine and Chris McLean met for coffee, and sketched their first product concept on the back of a napkin- a calibrated tamper to make more consistent espresso. By April 2004, ESPRO had emerged. The first years were characterized by a string of products aimed at improving the consistency of espresso and milk foam. In 2012, ESPRO introduced the groundbreaking ESPRO Press, the first grit free French Press coffee and tea maker. It has garnered global accolades. Today ESPRO is the epicenter of a grassroots movement that is shaking and reshaping the coffee and tea equipment industry and re-defining the way we perceive the perfect cup. With its range of innovative products designed to achieve consistently great results, ESPRO is carving an important niche among coffee and tea aficionados. Visit www.espro.ca for more information.
About First West Capital
First West Capital, a division of First West Credit Union, specializes in financing small and medium-sized businesses, in amounts of up to $10 million, across all industries in Western Canada through customized subordinated loans and mezzanine financing. Led by Kristi Miller and Robert Napoli, the First West Capital team has more than 50 years of commercial lending expertise. Visit firstwestcapital.ca to learn more.
First West Capital
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