Coffee Nation operates 330 branded self-service machines selling gourmet coffee. Customers include Tesco, Welcome Break and WH Smith, which retain a percentage of sales. Martyn Dawes started the company with £50,000 of his own money selling low-quality instant coffee. It wasn’t until he switched to gourmet coffee from upmarket machines, backed by £250,000 from business angels and almost £4m from Primary Capital in 2000, that sales took off, rising 132% a year from £651,000 in 2001 to £8.1m in 2004. The company expects to have 500 coffee bars by next spring.
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