A London coffee pod company is planning to expand into new markets and develop an increasing range of products after securing £1.25 million in a funding round led by tech investor Seedcamp.
CRU Kafe — established in 2013 by cofounders John Quilter, Colin Pyles, and Bodil Blain — says it has seen its revenue rise from £100,000 to £2,000,000 since it launched and the company is currently experiencing 20% growth month on month.
The startup began by selling coffee pods that are compatible with Nespresso machines and other coffee makers but now it is starting to sell coffee beans and ground coffee, and it has plans for a more environmentally-friendly coffee pod that could be in shops within months.
“While pods are at the core of the business, we’re diversifying our product range and are now offering our customers bean and ground coffee,” said Pyles in a statement. “In addition, we’re close to launching a fully compostable pod.”
“Our foundation is in a great position and now it’s time to start adding weight in the form of new customers, products and territories. Globally, [coffee pod] sales are worth over $13 billion (£11 billion) and growing at 15% — double that for ground coffee beans. We’re now selling 500,000 capsules per month and exporting to Hong Kong, the Middle East, North America and the rest of Europe.”
The three founders behind CRU Kafe have interesting back stories. Quilter is a chef with his own YouTube channel on Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube Network and is also one of the presenters of the TV show “Food Junkies” on London LIVE. Meanwhile, after successfully exiting his Canadian foreign exchange startup in 2008, Pyles completed motorbike journeys across China (2010)
Carmen Busquets, the Venezuelan fashion entrepreneur that was an early investor in luxury fashion retailer Net-a-Porter, said in a statement that “it’s the team that stands out” for her.
“A unique team of founders disrupting the coffee market with a luxury, ethically motivated product that tastes better than any other coffee capsule I’ve tasted. The brand has a sense of optimism and adventure that is committed to producing products that wow.”
“I invested in CRU because as a company they embody all the things I care about. The best quality coffee from around the world that’s organic, Fair Trade and delivered to your door in an eco friendly Nespresso compatible pod. This has proven so successful for them that they have now started selling their coffee in beans and ground coffee.”
“With John’s links to world class products and media, Colin’s financial and adventure background and my close friend Bodil’s fashion and art background, they really are the most exciting and ethical coffee brand in the world.”
CRU Kafe is one of several coffee companies that have spawned in London in recent years. Others include coffee app Drip and fresh coffee distributor Pact Coffee, which recently struggled to raise a crowdfunding target and let several people go.