“Let’s change coffee. Together,” is Bonaverde’s goal. By building an all-in-one coffee machine and connecting farmers to customers, the team transforms the coffee market as we know it.
After two successful crowdfunding campaigns and a third one that started yesterday, the Berlin-based startup raised over $1.5 million – for a product that is not yet on the market.
In 2010, Hans Stier had the idea of an all-in-one coffee machine that roasts, grinds and brews. Although he found investors, after two and a half years, he was forced to close the business because of a missing follow-up investment.
Shortly after, however, Stier and his team sat down again because they couldn’t let go of the idea. Investing money Stier had raised from his friends and family, the team of six (now seven) people started over again, using Kickstarter to get the production going in November 2013.
Crowdfunding: Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Seedmatch
For each funding goal, a different avenue of investment was required, so Bonaverde decided to use multiple platforms.
“Crowdfunding is the perfect tool to get a proof of concept,” says CEO and founder Stier. “It’s also great because besides raising money, you automatically generate your first customers.” With a price of $399 per coffee machine, that surely is an advantage.
In less than 4 weeks, Bonaverde had raised $681,461 on Kickstarter. While this investment was to be used to actually build the coffee machines, the team began a campaign on Indiegogo to start building the direct trade infrastructure of the coffee beans. For that, it raised $124,529.
Since the machine roasts, grinds and brews by itself, customers need the original green coffee beans. “There are too many institutions between the farmer and the final customers,” Stier explains. “It takes way too much time, effort, and money.” With Bonaverde, customers pick their coffee bean online, connect with the farmer, and get the beans delivered right from the source.
In order to provide fresh coffee, Bonaverde cut many of the 17 steps that are usually taken between picking the beans, roasting them and packaging them for a coffee shop.
Finally, on Monday July 21st, Bonaverde started a Seedmatch campaign to raise capital to scale.
“Within four minutes, we raised €100,000. After ten hours, our actual goal of half a million euros was reached, but we decided to go on,” Nathalie Sonne, Communication Manager at Bonaverde, explains.
Some might argue that the cult around coffee that exists in Berlin’s streets is overhyped – those who understand the joy of a good cup of the “Brown Gold” know it’s not.
So far, over 3,000 machines from 56 countries have been ordered.
Coffee is the new wine
The reason for the success is clear to Stier.
“People take more time, experiment with different tastes, and value the source of the beans. The quality became more important as well as the thought on sustainability,” he explains.
Tasting the difference
As a daily consumer of many different types of coffee, trying a freshly roasted, ground and brewed coffee was different. The first thing I noticed was that it was less bitter and that I didn’t feel the need to add milk or sugar. It was strong though it tasted light.
With temperatures rising, the next challenge might be to make the coffee machine produce fresh iced coffee.