January 10, 2023

Trive Capital Partners with HTeaO

Fort Worth, Texas

Company to use funding to scale world-class support to its franchisees and fuel continued unit expansion across the U.S.


HTeaO (the “Company”), the country’s largest privately held iced tea franchisor, along with Trive Capital (“Trive”) and Crux Capital (“Crux”), two Dallas-based private equity firms, today announced that Trive and Crux have acquired a minority stake in HTeaO. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The partnership will enable HTeaO to expand its unique brand to new markets, leveraging Trive and Crux’s collective resources. HTeaO recently celebrated its 68th grand opening and awarded its 426th franchise license; additionally, there are 93 units currently under construction. With this investment, HTeaO is well positioned to accelerate geographic expansion, continue attracting key talent, and employ innovative technology to improve quality of service while enhancing the customer experience.

Justin Howe, CEO of HTeaO, said, “As we enter our next phase, we are thrilled to partner with Trive and Crux and leverage their significant financial resources and operational expertise. The support and resources of these two firms should enhance our focus on unit-level economics and developing a franchise system at scale. The power of our brand has never been stronger, and this strategic partnership will help expand on what we have built. My long-term commitment to the Company has never been stronger.”

Shravan Thadani, Partner at Trive Capital, said, “HTeaO has become the leader in the drive-thru tea category with its innovative, taste-driven offerings. We are excited to build on HTeaO’s significant momentum and strengthen its brand leadership across the U.S.”

Founded in 2009, HTeaO is committed to its goal of providing the highest quality, best tasting iced tea. The Company has become one of the fastest-growing retail brands in the country by providing exceptional support to its franchisees. HTeaO is currently operating in Texas, Florida, Kansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma and has significant expansion planned for 2023 and beyond.

Wayne Moore, Partner at Crux Capital, added, “Justin Howe has built a differentiated drive-thru beverage concept focusing on providing unparalleled iced tea offerings. Justin’s vision has resulted in an incredibly passionate consumer following, driving industry-leading growth and unit economics.”

As part of the transaction, Shravan Thadani and Wayne Moore will join the HTeaO Board of Directors.

About HTeaO

HTeaO is the leading iced tea franchise with 68 locations in five states, and more than 425 franchise licenses awarded. The Company is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas and was founded in Amarillo, Texas in 2009 by Justin Howe and Gary Hutchens. HTeaO serves ultra-premium tea, water, coffee, and related products to customers in-store and drive-thru. 24 handcrafted flavors of sweetened and unsweetened tea are sold at each location, created with a proprietary water filtration system and 100% natural ingredients. In addition, HTeaO believes in creating a welcoming atmosphere and makes a considerable effort to give back to the local community. For more information about franchise opportunities, visit https://hteao.com/franchise/.

About Crux Capital

Crux Capital’s core mission is to invest in and grow small, profitable companies. Crux Capital focuses on investing in a select number of high-quality businesses and partnering with management teams to build value over the long term. Crux Capital works closely with company management to implement strategies to build and unlock value over time. For more information visit the Crux Capital website: www.crux-cap.com.

About Trive

Trive Capital is a Dallas, Texas based private equity firm with more than $7 billion of regulatory assets under management. Trive focuses on investing equity and debt in what it sees as strategically viable middle-market companies with the potential for transformational upside through operational improvement. We seek to maximize returns through a hands-on partnership that calls for identifying and implementing value creation ideas.

The Trive team is comprised of seasoned investment professionals who have been involved in over 250 middle-market transactions representing in excess of $7 billion in revenue across Trive’s targeted industry sectors and situations.

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