How VOOM entrepreneurs raised £58,000 to get the world #poweredbycoffee
Your family barbecue may never be the same again thanks to a Crowdfunder project by entrepreneurs at groundbreaking coffee company bio-bean.
Scientists at the London-based firm have been turning used coffee grounds into biomass pellets to heat buildings, ever since architecture student-turned entrepreneur Arthur Kay realised he could recycle the waste from your latte to make fuel.
But the firm turned to Crowdfunder to launch into the consumer market - and in just six weeks more than doubled its pledge target, as well as catapulting itself into the final of Virgin Media Business’ £1m VOOM competition.
In the end they were named the winners (below, left) of the Grow category at the live finale featuring Richard Branson at the ITV Studios on June 28.
Now bio-bean wants every barbecuer in the land to embrace its eco-friendly Coffee Logs - carbon-neutral biomass briquettes - in place of charcoal.
And from supermarkets to garden centres and petrol station forecourts, Crowdfunder has opened up a whole new market for them.
“Charcoal production is a pretty murky world,” says Arthur, CEO of bio-bean.
“Much of it is produced with illegally-logged timber.
“Now we understand we’re never going to lose charcoal, but these logs have so many different applications and there’s such a big movement for cooking with wood, in pizza ovens and the like."
Since May, when bio-bean turned to Crowdfunder, 91 backers have pledged £56,460 to the project, smashing the initial £20,000 target.
Rewards range from free coffee to packs of Coffee Logs, VIP tickets to the three-day Eco Marathon at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and a factory tour led by founder Arthur.
“The plan was for that £20k to upscale our briquette production, by buying another briquetter and creating one green energy job to help the existing team for six months,” says Arthur.
“Now we’ve achieved £56k, we’ll be able to buy two briquetters and create two new jobs and with the rest, we can go on packaging and marketing the product."
Arthur says the Coffee Logs’ success has been fuelled by Crowdfunder and its association with VOOM.
“Discussions are well under way with sales outlets and now we’re able to market in new channels,” says Arthur.
“Crowdunder has been brilliant. It’s helped us with our marketing strategy and got us press. We’ve been very noisy in the media, and now we’re on a new road."