Denmark-headquartered upcycled coffee startup Kaffe Bueno has been awarded a total of €2.5m grant from the European Commission, including a recent €1.8m cash injection as a blended investment.
Typically, these grants are not ‘free’ money, but the funding is provided in exchange for some equity or loans on favourable terms. The ‘soft finance’ options are a good compromise for the European Commission that encourages innovation, but hopefully provides some return on their investment.
This is not the first time coffee waste has been repurposed, such as UK’s Biobean waste management.
The company explains on their website that they don’t make products for the consumer, but ingredients for other brands to builds products from. Examples of industries they engage with include, cosmetic, functional foods and beverages, and Nutraceuticals.
Nutraceuticals are products that other than nutrition are also used as medicine, and although the term, along with functional food is more popular today, they have existed for years. ‘Fortified milk’, with added vitamins, is an example of a Nutraceutical.
So, Kaffe Bueno has positioned itself to provide core ingredients to a fast-growing market segment. Here’s what one of the founders said about the funding, and how they will use it to grow their business.
The funding means a huge step forward for Kaffe Bueno into fulfilling its vision – changing the world’s perception of coffee – as it enables us to scale up the unlocking of its potential, particularly within cosmetics and nutraceuticalsAlejandro Franco, co-founder and CCO of Kaffe Bueno, told CosmeticsDesign-Europe
The company also disclosed they would use the money to build a biorefinery in Denmark, and make commercially scalable products that they developed which use molecular biology techniques for use in cosmetic and suncare products.
Importantly, these actives were all upcycled, biobased and circular and could therefore help “decarbonise” end products, Franco said.
In 2019, Mondelez International named it the winner of the award for the ‘Future of Snacking, Seeds & Chips, Global Summit’. The year before, the company won the Startup of the Year award from the Danish Chamber of Commerce.
Previously, it had been hoped that used coffee grinds could be repurposed as fertilizer for agriculture, and while that does happen, it’s still at a small scale, and fully 60-70% of grinds end up in landfill.