Meet Robyn and Ed, the original recipients of a Smarta Start Up Loan. These inspiring entrepreneurs are the founders of Square Root London, a business manufacturing traditional soda. We asked where their business has come from and what doors their new financial backing and mentoring are opening.
Square Root London creates traditional sodas from fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. These sodas are served on draught or bottled at street food markets. The business started out as a hobby for Robyn and Ed at their local market in Harringay. They made a variety of products including cakes and crafts, but it was the drinks that really took off.
With a bit of luck, they stumbled across a vintage tricycle named Elsie. Elsie was converted into a mobile bar and she went out on the road to spread the Square Root London word. It gave Robyn and Ed a quirky selling point and customers loved it. Soon, requests to sell their drinks were coming in from cafes and pubs, so bottling was the next logical step.
To take Square Root London to the next level, Robyn and Ed needed funding and mentoring but shied away from crowdsourcing as they were reluctant to give away any equity. After attending a Smarta event, they realised Smarta Start Up Loans and a Smarta Mentor Network would provide the backing, advice and expertise they needed.
The money brought the pair a new bottling machine to produce their sodas. Robyn said, "It was a really crucial piece of kit which we wouldn't have been able to get without the loan. The rest of the loan is all going on upgrading our juicing equipment. As we make all the sodas using fresh fruit we spend a lot of time juicing it by hand which can be quite time-consuming so any machine that can take some of that off our hands is welcome to us, although we may still have to juice the odd lemon by hand!"
Square Root London is in a great position. It is among only a few companies making premium soft drinks, so the market isn't yet crowded and there’s a lot of room to grow. With the business’ focus on local ingredients and customers’ desire to boost their local economy, it’s a perfect match.
When asked what their biggest learning point has been throughout the past few months, Robyn said, "We've definitely learnt a bit of patience during this process. Setting up over Christmas meant that the lead time on loads of the stuff we ordered was even longer than usual, so our whole plan went out of the window once January rolled over."
We can't get enough of Square Root London's drinks, and we love their passion for local produce. The new bottling machine will speed up how Robyn and Ed can work, freeing them up to focus on growing their business and sharing the Square Root London story.
Have you got a desperate need for a new piece of machinery? Perhaps your business has outgrown your kitchen table and you’re after your first office. Whatever the need, a Smarta Start Up Loan is the answer to bring in financial backing and fantastic mentoring. To find out more, and to apply, click here.
You can keep up-to-date with their journey by following them on Twitter.