Bellwether Coffee Raises $10M for its Socially Responsible Roaster

Bellwether Coffee has raised USD $10 million Series A funding for its zero-emissions commercial roaster and state-of-the-art software platform. Congruent Ventures led the round for the coffee hardware and software startup, with participation from FusionX Ventures, Tandem Capital, New Ground Ventures, Hardware Club, XN Ventures and SolarCity founders Pete and Lyndon Rive.

The funding round is announced as coffee consumption is on the rise and coffee-related startups are set to raise over $1 billion in 2018. According to CB Insights, roughly 64% of US adults drink coffee daily, the highest proportion since 2012.

Based in Berkeley, California, Bellwether Coffee is the industry’s only source-to-service partner that gives its business customers the ability to responsibly source, create, roast, and share delicious coffee in a socially responsible way. The product has been in development for three years and is now ready-to-order.

Bellwether’s zero-emissions commercial roaster and state-of-the-art software platform allows its partners to access a curated green bean marketplace where they can source incredible coffee from farms around the world and browse by responsible business practices such as women-owned or organically certified. The roaster is available to business owners through lease (a monthly fee) and purchase options. The product is ventless, electric and easy to install, as well as programmable via an iPad and does not require any previous roasting experience.

“We are evolving the coffee industry by making it more inviting and open to the ideas from farmers, roasters, baristas and consumers,” says Nathan Gilliland, CEO of Bellwether Coffee. “Our technology makes sourcing and roasting coffee more accessible, promoting transparency throughout the value chain. We enable our customers to roast with confidence and create with expertise.”

Bellwether Coffee has developed a system which helps solve for three problems facing the rapidly-growing coffee market – freshness, margins and sustainability. Per the company, 80% of coffee in the US – more than seven billion pounds per year– is roasted at large, highly-centralized roasting facilities. It’s then delivered to retail locations via long and expensive supply chains.

“Congruent is excited to work with Bellwether Coffee and its outstanding leadership team to help bring innovation and sustainable business practices to the coffee industry from farms to cafés,” says Josh Posamentier, managing partner, Congruent Ventures. “Bellwether offers the only emissions-free commercial coffee roaster, enabling customers to grow sales in a higher-margin, socially-responsible fashion.”

The company also announced that it is has more than $6 million in pre-orders, which include a leading US grocery chain.

“We help put the roaster profit margin back into our customers’ business and use proprietary data analytics tools to gain insights, saving an average of 25% on coffee bean costs,” says Gilliland.

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